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Weatherizing Your Windows & Prevent Icy Drafts with My Easy Three-step Guide.

07 January 2018
Kevin Hartley

Like a good Canadian, you're enjoying the colder, snowier weather whenever you can – perhaps a game of hockey on real outdoor ice, or making a snowman with the kids. 

Eventually, you'll want to get inside to enjoy the cozy comforts your well insulated and heated home. Insulating walls and attics result in quick and obvious benefits. But if there's still a drafty chill in your home, you may find the problem is that you've neglected your windows. 

With energy costs climbing, I've written a three-step guide to help you weatherproof windows, preventing wasted heat and energy while keeping you cozy and warm.

Step One: Get in Between Walls & Window Frames

Star by checking for gaps in between the window frames and the window itself. Often, you can clearly see them as you can frequently see right outside! Use your finger to feel for air flow through smaller or less obvious gaps. A small, lightweight strip of tissue can help identify leaks too - holding a tissue strip an inch or so away, drag it slowly along seams or caulking and if it flickers (as if blowing in the wind) you may have a leak to fill with some caulking. Caulking may be a temporary solution for larger gaps; you'll likely want to have a pro rebuild or repair the wall.

Step One:  Between The Windows and The Frames

On windows that open and close, between the windows and the frames, you're looking for a tight seal. Look for weather-stripping that is intact not worn or missing. Most weather-stripping products have a peel-and-stick adhesive backing and are typically sold in rolls (or strips). Application to windows and frames is quick and easy. There are many different brands and features, colors and prices; talk to your local retailer to determine what's best for your home.

Step Three:  Window Panes

The window panes, the actual glass, can have a big impact on home heating. Older windows, with only a single pane of glass between inside and out result in the greatest heat loss. Double pan is better and triple pane is best. It's the air pocket between the glass layers on double and triple pane windows that reduces radiant heat loss.

You can improve any window with using a seasonal indoor or outdoor insulator kit; effectively a heat shrink window film attached to frames with double sided tape.  This helps keep cold drafts out and warm air in by creating a layer of temporary, albeit non glass, protection. A kit costs about $20. I've heard a similar result can be achieved successfully with bubble-wrap and packing tape. The look of either solution will be a consideration; one might be better for a garage, basement or attic than your dining room.

Closing curtains and blinds can also help to create a sort of insulation barrier. The heavier the material, the more effective it will be at keeping our drafts and preventing heat loss. 

Done right, weatherizing your windows can save you some money, keep you comfortable and serve you well beyond winter.

Thanks for reading. Questions or ideas for a future blog? Feel free to contact me here.

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Kevin Hartley, Broker is a Toronto based real estate Broker with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate | Signature Service, Brokerage. @Home is his lifestyle blog, an expression of his passion for home keeping though MAKING (Recipes), DOING (DIY), BEING (Health/Wellness) and DWELLING (Home Ownership, Sales & Maintenance).  Content not intended to solicit clients under contract.

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