With winter in full swing, you might be wondering how to save money on the monthly heating bill. While energy efficiency should always be a priority, extreme temperatures often motivate homeowners to re-evaluate drafty spaces, especially windows. Fortunately, there are a couple of simple ways to prime chilly windows for winter.
It seems obvious, but applying fresh caulk to window perimeters can greatly reduce the amount of cold air getting inside. Simply use a putty knife to remove old caulk, clean the area with warm, soapy water, and squeeze fresh caulk around the outside of each window.
Moving on to the inside of each window, weather stripping around the seal of each sash (the window part that opens and closes) works wonders for winter chills. First, decide which type of stripping you want; here are the most common selections:
- Tubular Rubber-Gasket – When pushed upon by the sash, this type conforms to the seal and prevents cold air from penetrating. Some tubular products use peel-and-stick backing while others work by attaching a metal or wood flange to the space. For the best results, choose one with foam-filed gaskets; they hold up better than hollow types.
- Adhesive Foam – Similar to tubular rubber-gaskets, foam weather stripping uses the force of a closed window to create a tight seal and is easy to use. After cutting a piece to fit, use the peel-and-stick backing to apply foam to a clean, dust-free surface (the adhesive won’t stick if debris has built up). NOTE: Foam should be applied to the bottom edge of the lower sash and the top edge of the upper sash for double-hung windows.
- Felt – An oldie but a goodie, felt weather stripping comes with adhesive backing or metal mount and works best with casement, double-hung, and sliding windows. Though affordable and straightforward to install, it wears out faster than other kinds and should be replaced every few years.
- Spring V-Seal – This type has a V-shape that opens to generate tension between the window frame and sash, keeping outside air where it belongs. The plastic ones can be cut with scissors and generally use the peel-and-stick method, but metal V-seals require aviation snips and must be affixed with nails.
Taking the time to ensure window seals remain impenetrable will go a long way to lowering your energy costs. As the thinnest barrier between you and freezing temperatures, windows need special care to stay efficient, especially as they age.
For all your heating and air conditioning needs, call Vredevoogd at 616-828-5411 in Grand Rapids, 269-290-7844 in Kalamazoo, and 517-507-4174 in Lansing.