If you are looking for areas of your home where you can improve energy efficiency, look no further than the windows. Some 10 to 25 percent of heat loss in the winter occurs through windows, and in the summer heat gain also occurs through windows, either via solar heat or air intrusion. In older homes, window frames and sashes can shrink and crack and the glazing putty on the panes can deteriorate and fall away, leaving the panes loose in their frames. But it’s not just old windows — modern windows too, whether through fall installation or defective products, may develop leaks around their frames.
If you are feeling cold drafts through and around windows in the winter, weatherizing your windows using long-term fixes such as reglazing or even window replacement can save a lot of energy. However, short-term fixes also are available.
Quick and Easy Solutions
The following are some ways that you can quickly weatherize your home’s windows and improve energy efficiency in all seasons.
Use effective shades or curtains. Even if your windows are letting heat escape from your home in the winter, thick drapes or curtains will add a layer of insulation, reducing the chilling effect of heat loss. Then, during sunny afternoons, open the curtains to allow solar heat to warm up sun-facing rooms. In the summer, opaque window shades or curtains can block solar heat gain on hot afternoons.
Apply V-seal weatherstripping. This inexpensive plastic weatherstripping is pressed along the sides of window sashes and provides an easy interior fix to improve energy efficiency.
Fill gaps with rope caulk. Rope caulk can be applied to address what happens when old window sashes shrink over time and allow space for air to escape or enter the home. The caulk can be pressed into gaps and then easily removed after winter is over.
Apply shrink film. Shrink film should be fixed into place with double-sided tape and then shrunk to a tight fit with a blow dryer. This will seal your window against drafts while providing a buffer of air as insulation.
Apply clear nail polish to cracked window panes. This is a short-term fix. After the polish dries and hardens, it will stabilize the crack until you have a chance to replace the window pane.
Use a draft snake. This is basically a long, narrow fabric bag filled with foam that can be pressed into place to prevent air from passing under the bottom of a window. You can buy them at a home improvement store or make your own with an old knee-sock filled with uncooked rice.
Cover window panes with foam board glued to drywall.This solution is best for windows in locations such as basements or attics. Cut the pieces to custom-fit the window frame, pressing the foam side against the glass. When it’s time to let in the sunlight, just pop out your temporary storm window.
Longer Term Solutions
Replace deteriorated or loose glazing putty. This material, over time, will crack and fall away from the window pane and reduce energy efficiency. Removing and replacing old glazing putty takes time and meticulous effort, so you may want to seek out a trusted local contractor to complete the job for you.
Fix up old storm windows. Many homeowners store their storm windows in the garage or attic until it’s time to reinstall them. Over time, they will get dirty, lose their glazing and otherwise deteriorate. To improve energy efficiency, take the time to repaint and reglaze storm windows so that they will be good as new when winter rolls around.
Replace old and deteriorating windows. Windows aren’t meant to last forever, and yours will reach a point where there’s nothing further you can do to weatherize the windows and improve energy efficiency. Look at this as an opportunity to install energy-efficient low-emissivity (low-E) and insulated window options.
To further discuss the condition of the windows in your home, and how to improve energy efficiency simply, and affordably, contact J & J Mechanical, Inc. at (855) 800-1341. We can offer solutions for weatherizing your entire home. Call us today for more information about how our systems and services can help you to increase comfort and energy savings in your Greenville-area home.
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