Are Your Windows Drafty?

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What if we told you, up to 25% of your heating and air conditioning escapes through your home’s windows? It would probably make you pretty “hot.” Joking aside, drafty windows will your energy usage to skyrocket, which will cost you money.

Drafty windows are commonly caused by:

  • Worn out weather stripping
  • Caulking becoming old and cracked
  • Leaks in the window glazing
  • Cracks in window panes
  • Problems related to outer storm windows

What can be done about drafty windows? Before you buy all new windows (or a new house), here are four inexpensive DIY solutions to consider.

1) Caulking Around the Window Frame

If there are cracks, gaps, or holes between the exterior window frame and your home, applying new caulking can significantly reduce draftiness. Before applying new caulking, clean off any old caulk, peeled paint, dust, and dirt from around the window frame.

Remember, if you intend to retain the ability to open and shut your windows, be careful not to caulk to the window opening itself. However, there are clear, removable weather stripping products packaged similarly to caulk. Assuming you will not open your windows during the summer, this can be applied and removed again in the fall.

2) Replace Old Weather Stripping

Where the window meets the frame, weather stripping is installed to block air from entering and exiting your home. Over time weather stripping takes a beating, eventually deteriorating to the point of draftiness. Replacing old weather stripping will go a long way toward readying your windows for winter.

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V-Seal or V-Strip weather stripping is an extra durable plastic strip meant to provide an additional layer of protection from invasive outdoor air. Consider replacing your old weather stripping with durable, V-Seal weather stripping.

3) Replace Loose Glazing or Cracked Window Panes

Over time glazing around your windows panes will loosen or detach from the window. To replace the glazing, remove the old puddy, detach the pane, and add a new coating before reattaching the pane.

Additionally, tiny cracks will develop in window panes. Temporarily, you can fill the cracks with clear nail polish. Remember to apply the nail polish carefully and evenly. If done well, this can help improve your energy efficiency until you replace your windows or window panes.

4) Replace or Fix Storm Windows

Storm windows reduce draftiness and insulate warm or cool air in your home; therefore, a lot of energy can be lost by worn and damaged storm windows. A relatively inexpensive solution to replacing storm windows is to reseal and re-glaze them. You can also purchase and apply storm-window-film for an extra layer of protection from the elements.


5) Other Helpful Tips

  • Replace drapes with heavy duty window treatments for the winter.
  • Purchase and apply a window insulation kit. Kits can be found at most hardware stores
  • Purchase rigid Dow Board insulation, cut it out and place it in front of windows out of which you do not need to see
  • Purchase plastic window covering for windows that do not need to be opened.

Replace Your Windows If…

If your windows have major cracks or damage to the glass, wood rot around the frame inside or outside, or there is moisture inside the window panes, it is time to replace them altogether. Since your windows can release so much warm and cold air, it is worth considering upgrading to high energy efficient windows. Energy efficient windows will help you save money over time and increase the resale value of your home.