About half of every energy dollar you spend goes towards heating your home. Your windows and doors are often a major factor in energy loss in your home and you certainly don’t want that money leaving through cracks and windows.
Insulation and draft proofing can make your home more comfortable and quiet, while saving energy and reducing heating costs by 5-10 percent.
Single-paned windows that have metal frames are not well insulated and do not keep the heat in or out very well. These types of windows only take up between 5-10% of a home’s total surface area that is exposed to outside temperatures but account for as much as 30% of the heat lost in a home. Older homes are more susceptible to heat loss because of the structure of the windows. The edges of doors and windows account for a large amount of air leakage.
You have options to fix these heat losses and improve your energy efficiency of existing windows by adding storm windows, caulking, weather-stripping and using window treatments or coverings.
Caulking and Weather-Stripping
If you are unable to replace your current windows, there are other ways to improve efficiency and reduce energy loss. Caulking and weather-stripping can reduce air leakage around windows. Use caulk for stationary cracks, gaps, or joints less than one-quarter-inch wide, and weather-stripping for building components that move, such as doors and operable windows.
You can also:
- Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames to reduce drafts
- Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
- Close your curtains and shades at night to protect against cold drafts; open them during the day to let in warming sunlight.
- Install exterior or interior storm windows, which can reduce heat loss through the windows by approximately 10%-20%, depending on the type of window already installed in the home. They should have weather-stripping at all movable joints; be made of strong, durable materials; and have interlocking or overlapping joints.
Window treatments or coverings can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Most window treatments, however, aren’t effective at reducing air leakage or infiltration. Window coverings, such as blinds and curtains can help lower the possibility of heat loss, especially at night, but make sure that the coverings don’t restrict the movement of air because it can cause the window to sweat.
Another option to help you improve efficiency and save you money is to install storm windows.
You can install these windows on the inside or the outside. Your insulation will improve by the dead air that is trapped between the windows. There are a few different types of storm windows such as rigid plastic storm windows, which are attached to the window with a mounting strip.
There are the single pane storm windows that you install each fall and remove each spring. There are also the permanent type storm windows, which are more convenient than the removable type with both screening and glass in the same unit. Temporary storm windows are plastic and are attached to the frame with tightly shrunken two-sided tape.
The End Result
Whichever method you decide to employ for sealing your windows and doors to prevent heat from escaping your home, each offers a good solution to help your home become more efficient and save you money in the long run.