For those who live in the Mid-Atlantic, winter can be a difficult time of year. Low temperatures, ice and heavy snow can make a homeowner’s heating bills soar. Learning how to properly winterize windows is useful for keeping your home comfortable and keeping those heating bills under control.
Taking proactive steps to ready your home for the colder weather makes those long evenings much more pleasant. Here are several things you can do to prepare for the winter.
Simple Ways to Winterize Windows
The most common way that heat leaves homes is through gaps in the door or window frames or through areas where windows aren’t properly closed. Air moves through openings freely at all times of the year, but the impact of that movement, known as convection, is most noticeable during the colder months.
Convection is the phenomenon whereby hot air rises and cool air moves to take its place. The other two ways heat is transferred are through conduction, when heat moves through solid matter, and radiation, which is how the sun heats things up during the day. When you’re considering how to winterize windows, it’s important to block those means of heat transfer.
Re-Apply Sealants and Caulking
Sealants and caulking fill in gaps around the frame of the window and the exterior siding. If the seal isn’t good, then air can move freely, creating unpleasant drafts. Seals must be airtight and watertight. If water is able to penetrate the gap between the window and the siding, it could do a lot of damage to the property.
It’s a good idea to inspect your windows annually and re-apply caulking and sealant to any areas where the seal is cracked, dried out, or broken. Regular maintenance helps keep the thermal performance of your windows as high as possible.
Make Sure the Windows Latch Fully
Older wooden frames may sometimes warp or twist due to exposure to the elements. In some cases, latches or locks slip out of place as the frame repeatedly expands and contracts. Check each window to ensure that it locks fully, with no gaps where the frames meet each other. If necessary, replace damaged latches.
If the frame is rotten, you might need to have it replaced. At Thompson Creek, we have many years of expertise in the world of windows and doors. If you’re looking for windows with good insulating properties and durable frames that can withstand harsh winters, we can help.
Replace Damaged Weather Stripping
Weather stripping covers the gap between the window sash and the frame, again preventing water ingress and reducing airflow in and out of the property. It’s a good idea to replace weather stripping periodically. Exactly how often that job needs to be done depends on the type of stripping you have. Felt stripping will need replacing far more regularly than more durable rubber or foam, for example.
Prepare Your Interior
If you’re wondering how to winterize windows on a budget, the simplest and most cost-effective thing you can do is swap out those light and airy summer curtains for thicker and heavier ones that fully cover the window and a portion of the surrounding wall. This will help provide better thermal insulation, trapping cold air and reducing conduction.
Double- or triple-glazed energy-efficient windows will always be better than older single-pane windows. In the long term, updating your windows could be a good decision, especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of storms or very cold winters. The steps mentioned above, however, can have a big impact on how your home feels during the winter months and greatly reduce the amount of energy that’s wasted heating or cooling your home.
If you’d like to know more about our energy-efficient windows and doors, contact us today for a free consultation.