Drafty Windows? Solutions for Every Budget
8 Easy DIY Projects to Help Dispel Those Drafts
As outside temperatures plummet, leaky windows can make the inside of your home feel downright chilly. Obviously, the permanent solution to drafts is to replace old and leaky windows with new, energy-efficient versions. Not everyone, however, can afford the substantial cost of replacement windows, and for those who are renting a home, expensive projects simply don't make sense. But there are some quick and easy fixes for drafty windows that can make a big difference in both your comfort level and your heating bills. Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing drafts in a home can result in energy savings that range between 5 and 30 percent per year, while keeping your family snug and cozy. Here are a few easy projects to help dispel those drafts.
- Locate the Source
Find the source of drafts in your home using a matchstick or candle. Slowly move the flame around the window frame. If the flame bends or flickers at any point, use a small sticky note to mark the spot so you can come back and seal it.
- Draft Snake
Make or purchase a draft snake to prevent warm air from escaping—or cold air from entering—around the sills of drafty windows and under doors. Draft snakes can be made of virtually any fabric, including old towels or socks.
- Storm Stoppers
Install interior storm windows, which fit into the inside of an existing window frame. As an alternative to storm windows, plexiglass or clear acrylic panels can be secured with screws in the corners of the window frame.
- Plastic Shrink Wrap
Apply plastic shrink film to the indoor window frame with double-sided tape, then heat the plastic with a blow dryer to shrink the film and remove wrinkles. Most home improvement stores sell plastic shrink insulation kits that can be easily installed in minutes.
Window caulking is one of the first lines of defense against cold air —but it can develop cracks or gaps over the years. Seal small cracks by adding a new layer of caulk or by adding rope caulk, which can be molded into the cracks. If there are large gaps or cracks, remove the old caulk and replace it.
- Bubble Wrap
If you don’t need to open a window all winter, use bubble wrap to seal it. You can buy bubble wrap by the roll and cut it to fit your drafty windows. Use double-sided tape to keep the plastic in place.
- Window Treatment
Seasonally swap out your lightweight curtains for insulating window treatments. Opt for heavy draperies or layered curtains; honeycomb shades, which trap air between layers of fabric to provide insulation; or roman shades.
- Weather Stripping
Repair, replace, or add weather stripping around drafty windows and doors. Choose from self-stick rubber weather stripping, sold in rolls; felt weather stripping, sold in sheets; V-seal weather stripping, sold in both plastic and spring-metal versions; or expandable spray foam weather stripping, sold in aerosol cans.
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