How to winterize drafty windows

By Jamie Shelley
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Experts agree that the biggest source of lost energy during the winter season is through windows that have not been efficiently winterized. A window that is leaky, damaged and drafty can cause energy bills to be up to 30 percent higher than those in houses that are equipped with properly winterized and well-designed windows. If people need to cut back energy costs this upcoming winter, tackling those drafty windows is a good way to start.

Know Your Window
To begin winterizing drafty windows, people should figure out what type of window they have. They should determine if they are short, wide, narrow or long and if they open from the bottom and the top or just the bottom. If it opens in a couple of places, they have a double-hung window.

These windows have the most significant problems with leaks and drafts as they provide the most ventilation. Single hung windows are those that open solely from the bottom. Other types of windows include horizontal sliding windows, swing out windows, pane and slat-piece windows.

Although all of them are prone to drafts and leaks, the problems may not be severe depending on their condition and age. If people have to turn a crank to open their window, they have a casement window. These are the most energy efficient windows around.

Experts agree that the biggest source of lost energy during the winter season is through windows that have not been efficiently winterized.
Experts agree that the biggest source of lost energy during the winter season is through windows that have not been efficiently winterized.

The Frame Game
Due to advances in technology in the last 20 years, window efficiency has increased. Because of this, it is important for people to have newer windows. The frame is usually the biggest reason for wasting heated air. People should not install aluminum frames if they live in a cold environment.

As a matter of fact, they should consider replacing their old ones. A lot of builders choose aluminum frames because they are cheap. However, they should be reserved for warmer climates only. Vinyl, wood and fiberglass are better options for people living in colder climates.

A Bit of Glass
The majority of modern window glass is treated with different coatings to repel or admit heat. The three coatings that people should remember are low-E moderate solar gain, low-E low solar gain and high solar low-E. The best for admitting and retaining heat during the winter season is high solar low-E.

Moderate low-E solar gain works in areas with hot summers and cold winters. Low-e low solar gain works perfect in warm climates. It lowers a home’s summertime energy bills by repelling heat. When looking around for energy-efficient windows, people should ask if they have gas fillers. This is a great tool for retaining heat. It is a non-toxic gas that sits between the panes and helps create an extra layer of insulation.

Caulking it up
Protecting a person’s home from the harsh cold season starts with mending any cracks around their window frames on both the outside and inside. People should check carefully to see if some cracks are already repaired with caulk. This is because it may need to be replaced. This requires people to remove it using a scraping tool.

Once it has been removed, people should apply removable caulk surrounding their window frames while wiping away any excess. Homeowners should do this on a dry day with the temperature at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. It will not work properly if any moisture gets into the caulk.

To fill any large gaps between the window frames and the wood siding, people should use wood filer. They should also consider painting over the wood filler using an exterior paint and a weather proof primer for extra protection.

Weather Stripping
Weather stripping the window is vital for keeping homes insulated in the winter. People can either get weather stripping by purchasing materials individually or buying it as a kit from their local home improvement store. Felt, aluminum, bronze and vinyl are among some of the materials used in weather stripping.

Stay Warm
Preparing windows for the upcoming winter season should not take more than a few hours. The time that people spend doing so will pay for itself many times over in both savings on their energy bills and their comfort level. With this in mind, people should start sealing those drafty windows.

References:
http://www.bejane.com/articles/how-to-winterize-your-windows

Jamie Shelley

Managing Partner at SERVPRO of South Nashville, Madison/Goodlettsville, Wilson County, and Sumner County Introduction Managing Partner Servpro of Sumner County May 2002 – Present (12 years 6 months) SERVPRO of Sumner County was my third location opening in 2010. SERVPRO of Sumner County is a full service restoration company offering complete fire and water damage cleaning and restoration services including:

 RESTORATION: 

* Fire Damage Remediation - Smoke, & Soot 
* Water Removal & Dehumidification 
* Mold Mitigation & Remediation 
* Catastrophic Storm Response 
* Move Outs & Contents Restoration 
* Electronic Equipment 
* Contents Claim Inventory Service 

 CLEANING: 

* Air Ducts & HVAC 
* Biohazard, Crime Scene, & Vandalism 
* Carpet & Upholstery 
* Drapes & Blinds 
* Ceilings & Walls 
* Artwork & Books 
* Deodorization 

Additionally, SERVPRO of Sumner County is a licensed General Contractor in the State of Tennessee.
 http://www.servprosouthnashville.com/