As the chilly weather creeps in, winterizing your home is essential. An often overlooked part of the process is prepping your windows — which is a crucial step in keeping the cold at bay and your energy bills in check. From DIY insulation to purchasing thermal curtains, there are plenty of ways to combat cold weather. This post will explore how to winterize a window (or twenty!) to ensure a cozy environment for you and your loved ones.
How to winterize windows from the inside
Leverage thermal curtains
Thermal window curtains are heavier than traditional curtains and feature a foam lining that offers additional insulation. They keep the inside of your home warm by trapping cold air drafts and preventing them from moving around the room.
As an added bonus, thermal curtains can also reduce noise and keep your house cool in the summer — making them a worthwhile investment. Curtains are cost-effective and come in a variety of styles, making it easy to match your decor.
Use a draft stopper
Also known as a draft blocker, a draft stopper is a physical barrier between the inside and outside of your home. You can find one at a home improvement store or make your own with an old sweater or shirt. When closing your windows, tuck the stopper into the interior sills to block the chilly air from coming inside.
Install window film
Window insulation film is designed to reflect heat inside and disperse it into the rooms of your home. It’s a thin, plastic material that goes on the inside of your window. When installing, you’ll need to cut it to be about an inch longer and wider than your actual window size. Once cut, you can apply the film evenly to your window, smooth out any bubbles, and use a hairdryer to add heat to the film for about a minute.
How to winterize windows externally
Seal and caulk the windows
Through caulking, you can seal any small gaps surrounding the outside of your window. Before getting started, strip off any existing caulking and clean any residue where your window frames and siding meet. When purchasing, make sure the caulk is specifically made for exterior surfaces. Expect to pay between $30 and $100 per seal.
Once you complete the caulking process, it's time to install weatherstripping. It's an effective way to weatherproof your home, preventing elements like rain or snow from entering your window openings. Weatherstripping comes in long strips with tape you can easily apply to the bottom of your windows. You can purchase caulk and weatherstrip from any home improvement store.
Insulate your windows
Insulating your windows properly prevents air leaks that lead to cold indoor temperatures and expensive energy bills. After you remove the jambs near your window frame, you can add insulation in any gaps you see. There are several insulation materials on the market, including:
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass insulation contains plastic and small glass fibers that provide extra protection against harsh weather conditions. While you can cut it to fit the gaps, you don’t want to ball it up, or it won’t be as effective.
- Spray foam: Spray foam insulation, which expands to fit gaps, usually comes in a can. If you go this route, add the foam slowly, as excessive amounts of it can lead to misaligned windows.
Consider an upgrade
Window upgrades are a larger home renovation project — both in time and money — but upgrading your windows can help you achieve protection from the cold and other severe weather conditions, especially if you live in an older home.
Double-glazed windows, also known as double-pane windows, feature two glass panels separated by an air gap. Compared to traditional windows, they offer better insulation because they can reduce heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home. They’re often a worthy investment, as they can provide year-round comfort and lower your heating and air conditioning costs. Double-glazed windows, including installation, will run you between $150 and $6,900.
You can also upgrade to storm windows — which can prevent drafts from coming into your home. Once summer arrives, you can always store them in your garage or attic and replace them with screens that will fill your space with warm air. Storm windows cost anywhere from $3,262 to $17,267 to install.
Window maintenance: preserving their integrity
By including windows in your yearly home maintenance checklist, the winterization process will be faster, easier, and more affordable when it comes time. You can also prevent severe wear and tear, which will help keep your home’s temperatures stable.
Here are several ways to ensure your windows are in tip-top shape, regardless of the season.
- Perform routine inspections: Take the time to inspect your windows every few months to look for signs of wear and tear. Peeling, cracking, and chipping should all be resolved, as they can interfere with the performance of your windows.
- Check for damaged seals: Your window seals keep your home warm by keeping the cold air out. Eventually, they may deteriorate and create gaps, allowing unwanted outdoor air in. For this reason, it’s critical to look for signs of damaged seals, like foggy windows, deformed framing material, drafts around your windows, and windows that are difficult to open and close.
- Clean your windows: Dirty windows with debris buildup can result in damage or poor air quality in a home. When cleaning your windows, make sure it’s cloudy outside, as direct sunlight can make it difficult to find streaks.
- Be aware of severe weather events: If you’re in an area with extreme weather conditions, your windows are likely at risk of damage or breaking — which can put the ones you love in harm's way. Consider exploring window upgrades to hurricane-proof, storm-proof, or earthquake-proof your windows.
By winterizing your windows, you can make your home a haven of warmth and comfort during the frosty months ahead. The ideal solutions will depend on your unique budget, needs, and preferences.
If you’d like to finance the cost of winterizing your windows, consider a Home Equity Investment with Point. Tap into your home’s wealth to achieve what you need to. There’s no need for perfect credit to qualify and no monthly payments.