While it’s no surprise that your old windows are to blame for the draft in your home, you might be surprised by how much heat they’re losing. The average home loses between 10-35% of its heat through gaps in and around windows. Not only does this cause your home to feel cooler, it also increases the cost of heating your home. If your home has older windows that are letting the cold in and the heat out, try these cold weather window solutions to help you stay warm this winter.
Problem: Finding the source of the leak
Before you can properly fix the problem, you have to locate it. You know your old windows are drafty but you might not know exactly where the cold air is coming from. Is it the sides or the glass itself? Finding the source where cold air is coming in will help you decide which cold weather window solution is right for your home.
Solution: Light a candle
We’re not suggesting you light a candle for warmth. Rather, lighting a candle or a match is an easy way to locate the source of the draft coming through your windows. Take a match or candle and hold it up to your window. Slowly move the candle or match around and look out for any flickering of the flame. This will help you identify exactly where the problem is. Use a sticky note or piece of tape to mark where the leaks are. You can also use clear nail polish to cover these holes for a quick fix.
Problem: Can’t install new windows right now
Whether it’s due to budget or environmental restrictions, there may come a time where you need new windows but cannot get them right now. Luckily, there are many easy alternatives you can do right at home to keep the cold out this winter.
Solution: Cheap alternatives
Storm Windows – These plates of glass (or sometimes PVC) can be installed either on the inside or outside of your home, depending on your aesthetic preference. They work by adding an additional layer of protection between your home and the elements and can reduce heat loss by up to 50%. There are lots of options when it comes to storm windows, so finding the right kind for your home and budget should be easy.
Shrink Wrap – This cellophane-looking material is applied to window panes using double-sided tape and a hairdryer. Much like storm windows, shrink wrap can help reduce heat loss by approximately 50%. If you’re looking for a quick fix, bubble wrap can be used in its place. Place the sheet so that the bubbles face the window and use double-sided tape.
Problem: Cracks in Caulking
Caulking is the most popular choice when it comes to sealing up cracks. While it’s beloved for the price point and easy use, caulking can crack over time. Left unattended, these cracks will continue to let cold air into your home.
Solution: More caulking
While this might seem like a temporary fix, adding more caulking to seal small cracks will fix it. If you have a larger or oddly shaped crack, you can use rope caulk, which can be molded to fit any shape. If you find that you are constantly fixing and filling in the holes, remove the old caulk and replace it.
Problem: Lightweight window coverings
Blinds and linen curtains are fine for the summer, but they provide little to no protection from harsh winter winds. While you may love your current window coverings, upgrading them to winter-ready fabrics will make a big difference in your home and in your heating bills.
Solution: Thicker, heavier curtains
As the seasons change, so should your home decor and curtains are no exception. Swap out your summer fabrics for thicker and heavier curtains in fabrics like wool or flannel. You could also try purchasing thermal or insulated curtains. These specially designed curtains are meant to help keep warm air inside where it should be. As an added bonus, these curtains can also help cool your home in the summer.
If curtains aren’t for you, try honeycomb shades. The unique pattern in these shades traps air between the layers to help provide further insulation.
Try these cold weather window solutions to help get you through winter. If you find these fixes significantly improve the temperature in your home, then you can wait to replace your windows. If you still feel the cold after trying these fixes, find a window replacement professional on HomeStars and treat your home to warmer winters.
Cover image courtesy of Bob Vila.