5 ways to winterize windows and keep your home warm
Here in Phoenix, we welcome the cooler weather after our summer temps, warm sweaters, and firepits with friends. Between coming up with ways to reduce energy loss in cooling our homes during the extreme heat pervading all too much of the year and the panic ensuing when an AC unit breaks down, relatively less attention may be given to the efficiency and effectiveness with which we keep our homes heated during the brief, colder temperatures.
Regardless of how you feel about the colder weather, you probably shiver when you receive your winter heating bills. Keeping the cold outdoors can be costly, especially if you have a lot of windows. The better the view, the more heat you can lose. According to the Department of Energy’s website, Energy.gov, whether you have old windows or newer, replacement windows, they can account for as much as 30 percent of your home’s heating loss.
Preventing Heat Loss Through Windows is Your Home
If you want to prevent heat loss from your windows, there are basically two ways:
- Prevent drafts of cold air from cracks in or around the windows
- Insulate the glass for winter with temporary or permanent coverings
Blocking Drafts of Air
The following methods can winterize your windows one of those two ways to keep your home warm and your heating bills reasonable when the weather turns chilly.
Sealing and caulking windows
Air moving in and out of a building through cracks and holes around the windows is commonly referred to as air leaks or drafts. Energy codes for new buildings establish modest air leakage rates for windows at wind speeds of 25 mph. Window manufacturers typically exceed these minimal requirements. Codes, however, also require installers to seal around the exterior joints of window frames and joints between windows and wall cavities.
Proper window installation requires caulking windows around exterior trim and sometimes behind window fins to reduce air leakage through the rough openings. On the interior side, installers may stuff scraps of insulation into the rough openings and seal it with caulking or insert expandable foam caulk, rope caulk or polyethylene backer rod to prevent additional air leakage.
If you feel cold drafts around your windows, you are losing heat there in winter. Even if you don’t feel a draft, you may have air leakage around your windows. An energy audit can uncover less obvious air leaks with a blower-door test or infrared thermometer.
Weather stripping comes in felt, open-cell foam, different types of metal and vinyl. The application and your level of skill may determine which type you choose. Some may be visible when the windows are closed, so consider its appearance.
Felt is inexpensive and applies easily but less durable than the others and doesn’t withstand moisture. It’s also less efficient at blocking drafts. Vinyl may not be as easy to install as felt, but it’s reasonably priced. Metals look less out of place than the others in older or historic homes. Magnetic strips are expensive but highly effective for sealing air leaks.
Reduce Heat Transmission
Storm windows used to be the go-to method to winterize windows when all windows were single-pane. They don’t provide insulation, but they prevent air movement through single pane windows that are in good condition.
Storm windows range from plastic sheets designed for one season’s use to plastic panels to high-quality, low-emissivity glass that reduce heat transmission. They may be designed either for exterior or interior installation, but interior storm windows are easier to install and keep clean.
Some storm windows are meant to be permanently installed; however, if you can afford low-e, glass storm windows, you may want to skip the storms and consider replacement windows.
Thermal window fashions
One of the easiest ways to keep the heat inside, heavy thermally lined drapes whether floor length or sill length do work, and they look a lot better than putting plastic over the windows. They can be changed out for a lighter window treatment in spring and summer, and you can always open them when you want to enjoy your view. Hang them as close to the windows as you can and let them stop at the sill or the floor. For even better energy-efficiency, Velcro them to the walls and overlap the panels where they meet. You can also double hang regular drapes for the same thermal benefits.
If you are wondering how window film can keep your house warm when you thought it was meant to keep the sun out and your house nice and cold in the summer, you might be missing out on one of the latest advances in year-round indoor temperature control.
Window Film is a very effective tool for homes. Its insulating properties keep indoor temperatures regulated in cold weather just as well as in warm weather, and are a versatile alternative to drapes for homes in any climate.
Crystal Clear View Glass can help you with any of these winterizing projects. Just give us a call at 602-224-7900. We can start with a free in-home consultation, and help you with all your glass projects.
Whether working with businesses or individuals, everyone at Crystal Clear View Glass puts people first. It starts with Brandon, who hires self-directed professionals and empowers them to make a difference in every interaction. That culture is pervasive, from the team member who answers your call to the installer who expertly completes your glass project.