Tips For Preventing Heat Loss Through Your Windows This Winter

Posted on: 13 December 2016

If your windows rattle and shake during winter storms, they are probably letting warm air escape and cold drafts inside. This combination can make for chilly evenings where you never seem to warm up no matter how high you crank the thermostat. The problem isn't your furnace; its heat loss through your windows. Replacing the windows with new energy-efficient windows is the best solution, but if you must make do with the windows you have for anther winter, there are some things you can to do to prevent heat loss and keep your family comfortable.

On the Outside

Check the window frames and replace nails or screws as needed to secure them tightly. If necessary, now is the time to replace old or broken frames. You should also replace any cracked or chipped panes as well as the putty around them if necessary.

Apply weather stripping to all movable parts of the window. You can purchase self-adhesive weather stripping for doors and windows at your local hardware store. It is generally sold on a roll that is easily cut with scissors or a utility knife. Your window should fit snugly into the frame and open and close freely. Seal all cracks around the window frame with caulking.

Cover the outside of your windows with 5ml plastic. You can either staple the plastic in place and then nail or staple lightweight lathes to over the edges of the plastic so that it is attached securely to the house, or you can build a wooden frame that covers the outside of the window and attach the plastic to the frame. Attach eye hooks or swivel hooks to the house to make attaching and removing the frames easier. If you have room for storing the frames in the summer, this will save you work next year, but beware. Plastic does not typically last more than one year and the plastic on the frame will need to be replaced the following year.

On the Inside

If you do not want to nail or staple plastic to the outside of the home, you can use heat shrink plastic on the inside of your windows. These kits come with self-adhesive strips for mounting the plastic and are sealed with a hair dryer.

  1. Purchase a kit in the appropriate size for your window, or cut the plastic and adhesive strips to the desired size.
  2. Attach the adhesive strips to the inside of the window frame.
  3. Beginning at one corner, press the plastic onto the adhesive strips to secure it over the window, using care to keep the plastic straight and taut.
  4. Set your hair dryer to the medium setting, and follow the directions with the kit for applying the heat and shrinking the plastic in place; use a back and forth motion with the hair dryer, using care not to get too close to the plastic.

Window Coverings

Covering your windows with plastic will go a long way to preventing heat loss and keeping out cold drafts, but you aren't done yet. For the best results, you need to pay attention to your inside window coverings too.

  1. Hang heavy, insulated drapes over the windows. This will form a barrier to the cold and will help reflect the heat from your furnace back inside the room. Alternately you can make window quilts or use rigid insulated foam board, too.
  2. Open the curtains on south-facing windows during the day. This will let in both light and heat when the sun is out, but don't forget to close them as soon as the sun goes down.
  3. Use solar curtains. Hang reflective solar curtains (they look like space-age aluminum foil) between your drapes and the window with the reflective side facing into the room. This will prevent the heat from your furnace from escaping and reflect it back into your living area.

If your windows are in poor condition and you are looking for a permanent solution, call your local window replacement company like Miller Roofing & Guttering Inc. and make arrangements for replacing your old windows with energy efficient windows during the summer so you will be ready when winter arrives next year.