Tom Shafer

4 DIY tips to winterize windows

December 05, 2012

Winter is coming and the cold and wind can amplify any weakness or air leakage around your windows. Weatherstripping may be worn, caulking cracked or insulation tired. Here are four ways to tighten up your home's windows.

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1. Film wrap

If the leakage is very apparent and you are afraid to tackle a complete window repair job or replacement windows, 3M has a film that can be applied to the interior of your existing glass panes to act as a storm window.

  • Apply tape to the window trim, or around the perimeter of the window.
  • Stretch the film tight to eliminate wrinkles.
  • Use a heat source such as a hair dryer to warm the film until it tightens.

The result is a clear, plastic, interior storm window that seals off drafts.

2. Weatherstripping

Air leakage is often caused by missing or worn out weatherstripping. Wool pile, bulb or flap-type weatherstripping is available at most hardware stores. You can remedy the weatherstripping problem either of these two ways:

  • Remove the existing weatherstripping and replace it with a similar type.
  • Add to the current weatherproofing material with self-adhesive foam.

3. Caulking and insulation

Cold air can be coming from around your windows -- between the wall and the window frame. Here are two possible causes and cures:

  • The exterior caulking that seals the window and the siding could be cracked or deteriorated. Replace it, either by cutting the old caulking out, if possible, or re-coating the existing caulk with an over-coating of new, paintable, silicone latex caulk.
  • The insulation between the window frame and the studs may be collapsed or not there. The cure, in this case, involves removing the indoor window trim, insulating and then replacing the trim. You can insert either fiberglass insulation -- making sure not to pack it tightly -- or non-expanding foam made especially for windows and doors.

4. Condensation cure

Condensation on the glass is another annoying window issue you might notice in winter. It's formed by warm, humid air contacting a cold surface, which causes the water in the air to condense on the cooler glass. The best solution for this is to dehumidify your home to reduce moisture levels.

These repairs are easy. Parts are available from many sources including websites such as www.swisco.com, and, of course, from hardware stores. Instructions are available on the parts packaging, but you can easily find instructional videos by doing a quick search on the Internet.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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