Home Improvement

Windows Insulation [3 Simple Tips]: Keep the Cold From Creeping Into Your Home

In this post, I'll show you how to insulate windows and enhance your home's temperature levels and comfort without spending hundreds of dollars on home repairs.

Keep reading to learn about several affordable cold-weather window treatment options that will prevent cold air infiltration.

The best part?

It is not only inexpensive and easy, yet insulating windows and doors with weatherseal tape will also reflect on your utility bills.

In fact, there are 3 simple steps you'll need to follow to insulate your windows.

I'll reveal all 3 in a minute.

Depending on the region and the year your home was built, the chances are high that your home's insulation rating is low.

Building codes did not require the inclusion of insulation until recent decades. Hence, the buildings frequently omitted the installation of insulating materials during construction.

With temperatures dropping into the single digits, your home is left shivering in a threadbare jacket instead of luxuriating in a cozy comforter.

Unfortunately, adding insulation after initial construction is not always feasible and can be expensive, even if possible.

This especially is true if you rent your home since you are unlikely to be willing or able to invest in adding insulation or upgrading to doublepane windows.

The key to creating a comfortable interior is reinforcing the walls. Ideally, these walls would be insulated to provide weather sealing barrier between the outside cold and the inside living space.

In reality, these walls too often offer flimsy protection from the elements. Over time, as buildings settle and weather exposure takes its toll, joints and other connections begin to separate a little, allowing air to leak through.

That is why air sealing your apartment or house windows is so important.

Now, you must be asking how to keep cold air from coming through windows?

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help defend your home against the invasion of cold air coming through the windows.

In this guide, you'll learn:

Identify Air Leaks and Drafts

First, identify all air leaks and drafts using a stick of incense or a candle.

It is necessary to do this before you start insulating windows for winter.

Slowly travel along all walls, noting where the smoke or flame bends or shifts direction, indicating a leak.

Likely locations of air leaks include wall outlets, window sash, window frames, and ceiling light fixtures. Once you find all leaks, use the appropriate method for sealing:

  • Large holes and gaps around 1/4" or larger can be filled with expanding foam spray and a putty knife;
  • Weatherstripping belongs around doors and movable window parts;
  • Improve your window using rubber weather sealing draft snakes;
  • Recaulk your windows. Silicone caulking gun or clay rope strips should be used to fill any remaining gaps;
  • Make draft snakes or draft stoppers, place them at the bottom of doors to keep the cold from seeping in. Fill a pants leg, shirt sleeve, or pantyhose leg with fabric scraps, pebbles, sand, or rice.

How to Insulate Windows DIY Way

After sealing all holes, gaps, and cracks, it is time to insulate your windows. Around half of all homes in the United States have only single-pane windows.

Windows made using a single pane of glass allow significant heat loss and account for up to 25% of your heating utility costs.

You would replace all windows with modern glazed, double-paned windows featuring energy-efficient treatments in an ideal world.

But often, window replacement isn't feasible.

In that case, instead of window repairs, try one of these affordable yet effective options for DIY window insulation:

  • Create an insulating air pocket barrier with bubble wrap insulation. Use whatever size of bubble wrap you have handy, though opt for the larger, quarter-sized bubbles if you have the choice. Cut pieces of the wrap to fit your window panes. Spray a mist of water on the indoor window glass and then press the wrap in place. This method obscures visibility and isn't recommended for use on a window you wish to see clearly through.
  • Film insulation: Use thin plastic sheets to form a protective barrier between the cold glass and your interior space. Secure the sheets of insulating window films with strong tape to the outside of the window's frame. Keep in mind that removal will require extra care to avoid the paint from peeling off with the tape.
  • Thermal curtains: Make cardboard shutters that can be easily removed during the day to allow in light and heat from the sun. Cut several pieces of corrugated cardboard to fit snugly in your window frame. Secure with duct tape. Attach foam weatherstripping around the entire edge and then put your window coverings in place at least an inch away from the glass. For added insulation, take an emergency space blanket (or aluminum foil) and glue it to the inwards facing side. The material will reflect some infrared heat into the room.

All this is applicable to glass doors also. And don't forget to check the bathroom windows as well!

How to Isolate Windows when Landlord says No

DIY window insulation projects and other home projects are ideal for homeowners with a tight budget.

But what if you live in a rented apartment and your landlord says NO to window treatments and home remodeling?

In that case, there is not much you can do. Except this:

You can further insulate your home with the strategic use of blankets and heavy curtains.

Air sealing the door with sealing strips or doublesided tape might also help.

You can even try to use some of the window insulation film products that do not leave marks after removal.

Snuggling up in a thick comforter keeps you warm and, similarly, wrapping your walls, windows, doors, and even ceilings with blankets will help keep your space warm.

Hang a quilt over doorways to minimize drafts, and drape heavy curtains over the entire length and beyond. Keep fabric away from heat sources or flames.

Also, periodically check behind any hangings (thermal curtains) to monitor for condensation on windows or moisture, which leads to mildew and mold.

A combination of the weatherization techniques listed above can significantly reduce energy bill and the shivers in your home this winter.