The first day of winter is right around the corner. But by this time in November, it’s already getting colder by the day. That’s why it’s important to take steps now to make sure your windows are sealed well enough to keep the bitter cold outside so your house stays toasty and warm.
And one of the best things you can do to winterize your home is to seal the windows!
At Window World Twin Cities, we specialize in high-performance new and replacement windows for Minnesota homes. In this post, we’re sharing our best tips for sealing your window ahead of the coldest winter days this year.
To schedule your replacement window installation services, contact our window installation team and get your free quote.
1. Locate Every Window Leak in Your Home
Before you get started on your window sealing project, you’ll need to determine which windows have leaks by looking for drafts. If your windows are especially drafty, it won’t be hard to find the major leaks. However, not all drafts are easy to locate. Thankfully, a DIY window inspection is fairly easy to do.
Before getting started, talk to your family about drafts they’ve noticed around your windows and check those more thoroughly. You’ll want to seal these windows first.
Use the candle method to look for hidden leaks. Wait until there’s a decent breeze outside, and light a taper candle. Move it around your window slowly to look for drafts. Watch for movement in the flame. When the flame bends inward from the window, it means there’s a draft blowing in from outside.
Another method is to use an incense stick. As you gently move the stick around the window perimeter, make note of the smoke movement pattern. If you have access to a temperature sensor, this can also be an effective tool for identifying drafts. Once you’ve identified trouble spots, you can mark them with tape or Post-it notes so they’re easy to find when you’re sealing the window.
2. Consider a Professional Energy Audit
Although testing your own windows can be revealing, there is no substitute for the insight of professionals. An experienced home improvement contractor has the right equipment and knowledge to identify any points of air infiltration or heat transfer around your home.
They’ll be able to make recommendations on insulation choices, window sealing, and home materials that preserve your home’s thermal envelope, keeping your energy costs down and creating a more comfortable space for your family to live in.
3. Scrape the Old Caulk Away
A good caulk can last for years, but eventually, it will begin to deteriorate, leading to an incomplete window seal. It’s necessary to remove all of the old caulk before replacing it.
Caulk removal is a fairly easy task, but it can also be somewhat time-consuming. Take it slow so you get everything and have a clean canvas to work with when installing a new caulk.
Take a look at your windows, especially around the areas you’ve identified as problem zones. Look for any cracks in the caulk or areas where the caulk has pulled up and separated from the window. You’ll also need to remove any caulk that has changed color.
Next, take a trip to your hardware store and ask for a caulk remover based on the type of caulk you’ll be removing. If the caulk is hard and flaky, it’s likely water-based. If it feels stretchy or rubbery, it’s probably silicone-based.
Once you’re home, apply the caulk softener to the old caulk and leave it to soak in for a couple of hours. Using a putty knife, remove every bit of caulk you can to ensure the new caulk sticks.
4. Caulk Your Windows
Once you’ve removed every bit of old caulk, use the new caulk to seal around your windows everywhere there’s an air leak or anyplace you’ve removed the old caulk.
You should also caulk around a window’s exterior perimeter. If you don’t plan to open your windows this winter and you want an extra level of sealing, consider caulking the entire exterior and interior perimeter to create a complete seal that can be removed in the spring.
You should periodically check the caulked areas for any signs of wear, damage, or deterioration. The material can degrade over time, potentially causing drafts in your home. Promptly re-seal any areas that show signs of wear to maintain an effective barrier against the cold.
5. Consider Shrink-to-Fit Window Film
According to the U.S. Department of Energy and EPA ENERGY STAR program, shrink-to-fit wrap installation can be an effective way to seal your windows for winter. This transparent film, often available as kits at hardware stores, acts as an additional layer of insulation for your windows.
While you should always refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions, here’s a general breakdown of how to install shrink-to-fit window film:
● Clean the window: Start by thoroughly cleaning the window's surface to ensure the film adheres correctly. Remove any dust, dirt, or debris that may affect the film's adhesion.
● Measure and cut the film: Carefully measure your window's dimensions and cut the film to fit. Leave a slight overlap around the edges for better coverage.
● Apply double-sided tape: Use double-sided tape to affix the film to the window frame, creating a secure seal.
● Heat and shrink the film: Using a hairdryer or heat gun on a low setting, gently heat the film. As it warms, it will tighten and become almost invisible, effectively creating an insulating barrier.
Shrink-to-fit window film provides an additional layer of insulation, helping to minimize heat loss and reduce drafts. This cost-effective solution can significantly improve your home's energy efficiency during the winter months.
6. Use Draft Stoppers
Draft stoppers, also known as draft snakes, can be placed at the bottom of windows to prevent cold air from seeping in. These can be purchased or easily made at home using insulating materials like foam or fabric. They act as a barrier against drafts, keeping your home warmer and cozier.
7. Consider Insulated Curtains or Blinds
Insulated curtains or blinds can provide an extra layer of protection against heat loss through windows. These specially designed window coverings have thermal properties that help to trap heat inside. Close them during the night or when the room is not in use to enhance insulation.
If you can’t invest in insulated curtains or blinds, you have some other energy-efficient options to choose from. Cellular or honeycomb shades are designed with a unique cellular structure that traps air, providing an extra layer of insulation. These shades can be especially effective in preventing heat loss during the winter months. They come in various styles and can complement your interior decor.
8. Invest in Window Replacement Services
Skip the hassle of window sealing by investing in window replacement services from Window World Twin Cities!
Our low-E windows have welded corners, insulating argon gas, 22 layers of weatherstripping, a warm-edge spacer system, and double-strength glass, making them some of the most energy-efficient windows available for homes.
Not only will your home be more comfortable during the winter months, but you’ll also experience lower energy costs throughout the year!
Schedule Your Low-E Window Replacement Services
Are you tired of freezing all winter long or paying too much for your heating bill? Call Window World’s window replacement specialists at 651-770-5570 or contact us online to get your free quote today.
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