Drafty windows make it hard to keep utility costs down. On top of letting out the heated and cooled air, you’ll also find that drafts affect your comfort. Windows can lose their seal due to age or other forms of damage. Fixing the underlying cause restores your home’s energy efficiency and keeps your living environment at the perfect temperature.
Easy Fixes for Drafty Windows
#1 Find the Drafty Spot
If you can figure out where the air is getting in, you’ll have a better chance at fixing the issue. You can use your hand to feel around the perimeter of the window. Holding a candle as you move your hand is another option. If you see the flame flicker, then you’ll know that air is hitting it there. Once you find a spot, use a sticky note or tape to mark it. Keep in mind that you may have several areas around the window that need repair.
#2 Put a Draft Stopper on the Window Sill
Drafts that are at the base of the window can be blocked right away with a snake-style stopper or pillow. This method is just a temporary fix since keeping a stopper in place forever isn’t feasible. The stopper can also still allow some air to leak in and out, but it is better than nothing while you wait to get the window fixed.
#3 Replace or Add Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping is made from rubber materials that block drafts well. These materials can break down over time, and it is common to have to replace weatherstripping after several years. If the weatherstripping around one window is in need of replacement, then it is worth doing all of the windows at once to stop drafts in other places before they start.
#4 Repair or Replace the Caulking
Window caulking is also used as a seal, and it breaks down over time just like weatherstripping. You might be able to see areas of the caulking that are cracked or completely missing during a visual inspection. Small areas of damage can be repaired as patches, but you’ll need to have the windows completely re-caulked if there are large or multiple damaged areas.
#5 Have the Windows Reglazed
Special putty is used between window panes to hold everything together. This putty can also break down over time, and this is especially common to find on older windows. Window reglazing removes the old putty and replaces it with new materials to stop drafts that occur around the panes.
#6 Replace the Window
Serious drafts may require a more permanent solution which is window replacement. Drafts can also happen if the window frames become damaged or develop cracks around them. It is also possible that your dual pane windows have somehow lost their seal. Homes with single-pane windows might need to be upgraded to a more energy-efficient type to fully block out the air.
#7 Add New Window Treatments
Properly sealed windows shouldn’t generate drafts. Adding layers of window treatments serves as extra protection in case a new problem occurs. Try combining blinds with heavier curtains. Thick fabrics work well as insulation, and you can change out the curtains to lightweight ones in the summer.
Window drafts are a frustrating problem, and it can sometimes be hard to figure out where the air is coming from. If you’re not sure why the window is drafty, then an inspection is the best way to identify the right solution for this common home maintenance problem.