How to Insulate Your Drafty, Old Windows in the Winter

Living in an older home can have many benefits for the owner: The elaborate architectural details, the beautiful bay windows, original hardwood floors that aren’t made anymore like that. Certainly, you don’t find these in modern contemporary houses. While these older homes do have finer craftsmanship, unfortunately they were not built to be energy-efficient like modern-day homes are now. Also, these older homes were not subjected to the same strict building standards that new and replacement construction must comply with in today’s society. So, while older architecture is definitely easy on the eyes, it comes up short in a lot of other areas: mainly your windows.

Old Windows in the Winter

Are Your Windows Older Than You?

Whether you live in a 100+ year old Colonial home in Westmoreland County or a Victorian home in the foothills near Pittsburgh, you’ve likely experienced one of the major potential problems you can have with historical homes: they don’t keep the winter cold air out as effectively as newer homes can. More likely than not, the main cause is the older home’s windows. If these windows are original to the home or if they’re not original but were built prior to the 1950s, there’s a good chance these windows are single-pane type windows. What this means is these windows only have one piece of glass in the sash—as opposed to replacement windows today which can feature 2, 3 or even 4 panes of glass and have pockets of inert gas in between each pane, which provides extra insulation. That being said, if your home has these old, one-ply windows, some that are old enough to be your great grandparents, they are without a doubt NOT providing the same level of comfort that homeowners with more modern homes and windows have.

Tips for Keeping Out the Cold

So the question is: What can someone do to prepare their home for the winter season when they are dealing with windows that are worn out, drafty or just too old? To start, they can upgrade their home with brand new, energy-efficient windows. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unwilling to make such a big change. They want to hold onto the fact that their home still has its original windows and they don’t want to mess with the home’s history. That’s why the window specialists at Mt. Pleasant Window & Remodeling Co. have put together some tips for how to insulate your underperforming windows against the harsh chill of winter so you and your family can enjoy more comfort this year.

Add Weather-stripping

Older windows often lack sufficient weather-stripping, which allows bitter, cold air to seep in through the cracks between the sashes and the frames. With some cheaper V-seal weather-stripping that you can find at your local home improvement store, you can easily seal-off these drafty seams while still being able to open and close your windows.

Apply Shrink Film

Shrink film is considered a popular choice for fast, inexpensive window winterizing. Using double-sided tape and plastic sheeting, you can shrink the film over the window using a heat gun that provides a firm seal across the interior of your windows. A drawback with shrink film is that you will not be able to use your windows while the film is on them. Also, when removing the shrink film, it’s important to be extra careful to avoid pulling any paint off the walls around your windows.

Use Insulators

There are a few other products that allow you to quickly and easily insulate your windows for winter. This would include rope caulking and draft snakes. Rope caulking is a putty-like substance that can be easily applied and removed. The mold around the window fills in the gaps and reduces drafts. Draft snakes are made of fabric and weighted foam. They are placed on the windowsill to create a seal along the bottom of the sash. Draft snakes are effective, however they only provide protection in really only one area. You may need to use them alongside rope caulk to insulate your whole window.

And if These Window Winterizing Tips Just Don’t Cut It?

If these quick-fix window winterizing tips fail to provide you with the comfort you need, or if you would want a more long term solution to your window woes, turn to the professionals at Mt. Pleasant Window & Remodeling Co. to have energy-efficient replacement windows installed. We offer a wide selection of beautiful window styles that you can customize to perfectly suit your home’s aesthetic. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate for your project!

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