By Tina Jepson
Did your windows fog up the last time you cooked in your kitchen? Do you feel a cold chill when you walk past the window in your bedroom? Are your windows chilly to the touch, even when it’s warm and toasty inside? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you probably have drafty windows.
I wish I could say I’ve figured out the surefire way to insulate drafty windows, but every year it seems like my windows need different techniques. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of adding a new layer of silicone caulk. Other years, I’m forced to use film, snakes, and more.
No matter how much effort it takes (it’s not that much effort) and upfront cost (it’s not expensive) it’s almost always worth it to insulate your windows. If you’re interested in learning how to insulate windows for winter, you’ve come to the right place. Try one or more of these window insulating techniques.
Caulk is a tried and true way to prevent air from escaping through any cracks surrounding your windows. It acts as a waterproof barrier, filling the gaps and stopping cold air in its track.
To properly caulk your windows, you’ll want to tackle both the inside and outside of the window.
- Remove all old caulk, dirt, dust, and other debris with a knife or sharp edge
- Cut the caulk bottle at a 45-degree angle and place in a caulk gun
- Keeping the gun at a 45-degree angle, slowly apply the caulk around the window joints, paying close attention to any wide gaps.
- Run your finger over the caulk to smooth and secure it to the window.
Window film is another super-affordable way to seal a window from the inside. Insulating window film kits usually contain 2-6 sheets and adhesive tape. In most cases, you’ll need a source of heat such as a heat gun or hair blow dryer to tighten the film and create a snug fit.
- Begin the window film installation process by cleaning the windowsill and molding.
- Place the double-sided adhesive tape along the window molding and sill. Then, remove the top layer of tape paper.
- Measure out the size plastic you need, leaving an inch or two of extra film on all sides.
- Start at the top of the window and place the sheet against the tape, pressing ever so slightly to ensure it’s properly secure.
- Work your way around the window, pressing the film to the tape.
- Remove the wrinkles on the film using a heat source.
Window guards and draft snakes are an easy fix for windows that are only drafty at the bottom. These temporary, versatile tools effectively block cold air from seeping through the bottom of the window by creating a physical barrier.
If you don’t feel like investing the $10 or so that window guards/snakes cost in a store, then you can just make one using old socks filled with anything from bubble wrap to popcorn kernels and batting.
Screens (or Lack Thereof)
Removing window screens is a normal practice for many households around the country, but especially in colder regions like the north and northeast. But why do this?
The answer is quite simple and twofold. First, the screen prevents the sun’s rays from coming through the window, which blocks some of the heat-building properties many homes need to maintain a proper temperature. Second, screens create a trap for cold air. The air gets pushed through the screen but sometimes can’t escape, meaning during colder months, you have cold air literally trapped next to your window. That’s not good at all!
The simple solution is to remove your window screens to insulate your windows better.
If you’re wondering how to keep cold air from coming through windows, but you don’t care for any of the methods listed above, your best bet is to invest in thick curtains. Some heavily insulated curtains have thermal or even foam backing, creating a beautiful yet effective barrier against the coldest of winter winds.
Don’t let your leaky windows increase your energy bill another cent! Take one or more of these proactive steps to insulate your windows today, and your wallet will thank you come mid-January.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson