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winterize windows

Nothing’s worse on a frigid winter day than watching a movie on your comfy sofa when it feels like it’s 55 degrees in your house. Likewise, who wants to drive through traffic on the icy, snowy roads to come home to a house that may as well be an igloo? 

If you don’t make sure your windows are properly sealed, the chilling air of winter will find every nook and cranny it can to infiltrate your home. This means your favorite spot in your living room where you like to read could be cold and drafty all season long. But, if you winterize windows you can stay warm even when there’s a blizzard happening outside.

Why you must winterize windows

Creating comfort in your home during the frigid months of winter means staying warm without having to layer four blankets over you while you watch Netflix. Since windows are a HUGE source of heat loss, it’s to your benefit to properly insulate them. Not only will insulating cold windows keep you cozy inside, but it may also keep money in your pocket by lowering your utility bill.

When hot air escapes through the worn-out seals or cracks in your windows, your furnace has to work twice as hard to compensate for the heat loss. This means a higher heating bill at the end of the month, and it’s why insulating your windows gives you the biggest return on investment.

Winterizing windows: The most effective methods

There are many ways to winter-proof windows that you can find by doing a quick search online. But, it can be exhausting to filter through every method you come across and conduct trial and error experiments until you find one that works. That’s why we’ve narrowed down the multiple options to a few of the best ones.

We’ll tell you all about weatherstripping, plastic film, storm window inserts, and plexiglass windows. These methods are excellent at keeping the cold air outside so you can stay warm and toasty inside.

Weatherstripping

Whether you need to insulate a single-pane window or every window in your home, weatherstripping is a fantastic option. This method seals your windows by using a variety of materials such as fabric, foam, vinyl, felt, metal, or rubber. These materials allow you to winterize windows by creating a barrier against the freezing air outside. The weatherstrips you use (regardless of the type of material) bridge the gaps between windows and frames.

Weatherstripping is also a great method for keeping your home warm because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s a very inexpensive way to seal drafty windows. Many types of weatherstrips are available online for less than ten bucks!

Before you apply weatherstripping to your windows, you need to identify the leaky spots on the window where the cold air can enter your home.

Check for drafty spots first

For weatherstripping to give you the best window insulation, it needs to be placed in the exact spot where the drafts are coming from. So, you need to locate the drafty areas around your windows. This is easy to do on a windy day. Simply light a candle and slowly move it around the border of your window to notice which spots cause it to flicker more. Once you’ve identified the drafty spots, you can apply your weatherstripping material.

Let’s go over one of the most popular types of weatherstripping. 

Get creative with draft snakes

Draft snakes are a kind of weatherstripping that’s made with tubes of rolled-up fabric. Also nicknamed “window warmers,” these fabric tubes are applied around windows to prevent warm air inside the home from escaping and cool air outside from getting in. As an unintended bonus, using draft snakes to winterize windows is also an awesome soundproofing solution! So, you won’t have to hear the loud snowblower run up and down your driveway while you binge watch your new favorite show. 

Plastic film

Using plastic film as window covers for winter is a great DIY project that many homeowners swear by as a super effective method for keeping the cold out. To winterize windows with plastic, you’ll need to get a shrink-wrap kit– which is also often called a window insulation kit.

You can find these kits at pretty much any home improvement store. All you need to do is take the plastic window insulation film that comes with the kit and stick it to your window panes using double-sided tape. Then, use a hair dryer to seal the film, i.e., “shrink-wrap” it. The film acts as window insulation panels as it enables your home to retain over half of the heat that’s internally generated. This makes putting plastic film over your window practically equivalent to adding a new pane of glass.

Before you jump the gun

Before you winterize windows with plastic film, you must check the caulk seal that borders your window on the outside and inside. This is because a shrink-wrap kit won’t do any good at keeping you warm if there’s a drafty spot around the window frame. So, you can use the lit candle trick we mentioned earlier to help you identify leaky spots.

Storm window inserts

Plastic storm window inserts, magnetic storm window inserts, and acrylic storm window inserts are viable options for keeping the cold air outside of your home. These window inserts are also called interior storm windows, and they’re custom-made to fit snugly to your window frames. 

Interior storm windows are designed to cut down the amount of air that’s passed through the glass by tacking on an extra window pane. Moreover, since they cover every inch of a window from the interior side, they provide the same benefits as the plastic film option. But, they can outlast heat-shrink plastic by several years. So, if you’re in your forever home, you may want to consider this method to winterize windows

Storm window inserts are also less expensive than getting a brand-new window installed. This is why if you’re thinking about getting window inserts vs a full replacement, inserts are a great option if you’re trying to save money.

A pro tip

Whether you’re using acrylic interior storm windows or magnetic interior storm windows, the inserts must be installed tightly around the frame. The snugger the fit you can get, the better the inserts will work to prevent excessive airflow. When installed properly, storm window inserts make a great reusable window insulation method that can last decades.

The plexiglass advantage

Many homeowners wonder, “Does plexiglass insulate?” and “Is plexiglass a good insulator?” Plexiglass windows and plexiglass window frames are made from acrylic, which is more insulating than glass. As a result, these windows can have up to eight times more thermal insulation than your run-of-the-mill glass windows. 

Plexiglass also allows a whopping ninety percent of the sun’s UV light to penetrate your home. So, the next time you give your house an upgrade, plexiglass is a wonderful way to winterize windows that may also boost your home’s value. A win-win!

Your warm and cozy winter

A significant portion of the heat in your home can escape through your windows when they’re not properly sealed. When you winterize windows, you not only save money by receiving lower heating bills, but you also give yourself the comfort of staying toasty during the coldest months of the year. 

All of the methods we mentioned are terrific for keeping you cozy and warm on a frigid winter night. Take a whack at one of them or use them in combination so you can see the results for yourself!

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