5 Ways To Help Your Old Windows Be More Efficient

Winter is right around the corner, and if you live in a northern climate, you know how the howling winds can create cold drafts in your house. If you have old and rickety windows, it can be even worse.

According to the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) believes over $35 billion of energy is lost through windows. Here's five ways you can batten down the hatches without buying new windows and still keep Old Man Winter out of your home.

Perform A Little Maintenance On Your Windows

Autumn is the perfect time to wash your windows. As you are washing them, inspect each window for any gaps that may need to be caulked and filled. Once you have washed and caulked the windows, make sure each window is locked. Not only does this make your home more secure, it will ensure the sash stays in place in the frame, reducing cracks for air to come in.

Apply A Window Insulation Kit

These kits contain sheets of shrink wrap plastic. Double-sided tape is used to secure the plastic film to each window, and then a hair dryer is used to shrink the plastic, removing wrinkles and pulling it taut. The plastic also helps to eliminate frost buildup on the windows, which can make a room colder.

Install Interior Hardwood Window Shutters

Now that you have clean and sealed windows, you can add shutters to your windows. Interior shutters add aesthetic appeal and architectural detail to your home décor, but they also help to block drafts and the cold that can transfer through the glass into the room. The shutters can be left open on south facing windows during the day to allow any winter sun in and then closed at night to keep the cold out.

Hang Heavy Draperies

Insulated draperies hung over your shutters will further block any additional drafts from getting through. Most insulated draperies are filled with a high-density foam that prevents heat transfer as well as sound and light. Some versions are backed with a material that reflects heat back into your room. Insulated draperies are also useful in the summer as they will prevent the house from becoming too warm from the solar energy of the sun.

Use Portieres

A portiere is similar to insulated draperies, but rather than being used on your windows, they are used to block interior entryways in your house. For example, if you spend most of your time in the kitchen and family room, you can use these heavy, floor-length drapes to block off a cold hallway or keep heat from going to unused rooms. 

While these tips will certainly help cut down on your heat loss and fuel costs, if your windows are past their prime, you may want to consult with a window dealer to explore new energy efficient window options for your home.