Over the last few weeks, residents of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have been confronted with the reality that not only has summer come to an end; all along the Eastern Seaboard, it’s clear that our autumn will be cooler than usual, as winter temperatures have already started to arrive. Whether you own your home or rent a house or apartment, the time is right to give your windows some cold-weather TLC and ensure your living space stays toasty as outside temperatures continue to drop.
Cold-Weather Window Prep Tips for Homeowners
There are so many steps homeowners can take to eliminate drafts and insulate windows before winter arrives, and many are a cinch. We recommend starting with weatherstripping. The type of weatherstripping you choose will depend on your windows and your budget, but in general, this is one of the easier ways to guard your home from drafts without breaking the bank.
Better Homes and Gardens offers a helpful overview of the weatherstripping process, in addition to this information on which type of weatherstripping is best to use: “Nail-on weather-stripping is the most durable choice if you have a wood window. Spring bronze works well for gaps that are consistent in width. It is also the best-looking product. Where the gap is large and uneven and looks are not as important, a tubular vinyl gasket is a good choice. Strips of felt are a poor choice because they don’t seal well and are not durable.” They go on to recommend self-stick weather-stripping for its convenience and durability, and foam stripping for large and uneven gaps.
The US Department of Energy notes that weatherstripping can significantly reduce heating bills, offers a handy chart if you’re interested in reading more about which type of weatherstripping is best for your home.
Another one of the simplest and most effective measures to guard against the cold is insulation film. Weatherproofing insulation kits are widely available to consumers and easy to use. They generally consist of plastic sheathing and double-sided tape; the plastic is shrunk with a hair dryer after being hung. This solution is very effective, but unlike weatherstripping, is considered by many homeowners to be rather unsightly. If aesthetics is a priority not worth sacrificing for your home, then this option may be less desirable.
If your windows are a little worse for the wear, silicone sealant might be the right choice to address drafts. In fact, as the folks over at MLS note, “Old wooden windows and doors can shrink over time, leading to gaps, drafts, and eventually rot. This happens to a more severe extent when windows and doors are moored to brick or stone. Clear silicone sealant is virtually indestructible, lasts longer than caulk, and unlike white or colored latex sealant it won’t deface your exterior paint.”
While silicone sealant application is definitely DIYable, there is a point at which considering new windows is your best option. If you’re noticing ever-widening gaps each year or seeing rot, the time has arrived to think about addressing the issue with new windows instead of fixes that can only provide so much relief from outdoor conditions.
If you’re considering window replacement but aren’t sure whether the time is right, contact us to discuss your options.
Join us next time as we tackle the tricky task of addressing drafty windows in a rented space!