How to Effectively Insulate Drafty Windows


The biggest sources of heat loss in the home are often badly insulated windows. These windows also allow chilly drafts into the home, so that residents may not be warm and comfortable, even when the heat is turned on. There are several methods of insulating drafty windows that quickly and simply reduce heat loss and drafts.

Installing spray foam insulation between the window frame and the wall is one option. In order to accomplish this, the window frame must first be removed. Then, foam insulation is sprayed in order to seal any cracks, crevices, or holes between the frame and the wall. These are the avenues through which cold air enters the home. Allow the foam insulation to expand according to the manufacturer’s directions before trimming any excess using a utility knife. After the insulation has dried, the window frames may be reinstalled.

In order to further insulate these windows, a shrink-type plastic insulation kit may be easily applied. Windows should be washed first, as they cannot be cleaned without removing the plastic after this kit has been installed. The application of plastic window insulation is quite simple. Double sided tape is provided in the kit, and must be applied to the perimeter of the window frame without removing the paper backing on the side of the tape not adhered to the window. Then, plastic insulation is pressed onto the adhesive as the paper backing is removed.

This should be continued all the way around the perimeter of the window frame until the whole window is covered with new, plastic insulation. A hair dryer is then used in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions in order to provide heat and cause the plastic to shrink and pull tight. The result is an effectively insulated window.

Weather stripping is also an option when it comes to insulating drafty windows. When installed properly, weather stripping can tightly seal loose fitting windows and prevent cold air from flowing through the cracks. Various types of weather stripping are commercially available. Self-adhesive weather stripping comes with a glue-like substance on the back and must simply be pressed into place during installation. Metal stripping can be installed using very small nails. Other types of rubber and plastic weather stripping must be installed using caulk or other adhesives. Each type of stripping has its own advantages and disadvantages, so options should be considered before insulation is attempted.

When dealing with sash weight windows, often the sash weights themselves are the culprits when it comes to draftiness. Replacing sash weights and ropes with spring balances allow one to install insulation where the sash weights were and tighten the window’s openings.

Sometimes the problem lies quite simply in the construction of the windows. Windows that are quite old are often made of single-pane glass and are not sufficient in keeping out the cold. Storm windows are necessary in addition to these windows. Otherwise, replacing old windows with newer, thermopane windows may be the best course of action.

Drafty windows can turn a cozy house into an unpleasant environment. Fortunately, there are various methods available for insulating windows quite quickly and at fairly low cost. Sometimes, though, it is best to invest in new windows that will keep out drafts and cold, saving money and preventing discomfort for years to come.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

Email  • Google + • Twitter

Comments are closed.