Seal Windows Against Drafts
LESLIE: Sheryl in Colorado’s got some leaky windows. Tell us what’s going on?
SHERYL: I have some windows in a house that I have cold air coming through.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
SHERYL: And we want – I want to know how to get insulation or whatever I can do to stop it from coming through the windows. They’re sliding windows (inaudible at 0:22:09.3).
TOM: Oh, those are really drafty. Yeah.
SHERYL: Yeah, and we can feel it – we’d be downstairs; we can feel the cold air coming from downstairs.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Are these windows where; in your bedroom?
SHERYL: In the bedroom and in the front room.
TOM: Hmm. Well, a couple of things. First of all, if you didn’t need to open the windows – which in the bedroom you might have to because they’re an escape route – we would recommend that you use a temporary caulk product. You can actually caulk the windows shut – several manufacturers make these – but essentially, it’s a temporary caulk where you can caulk the window and then peel the caulk off; it peels off in a string.
LESLIE: But it seals up that draft all around the operable parts of the window.
TOM: And sometimes you have a really old window that’s got big gaps; it’s a good solution. Another thing you could do is to look at weatherstripping to see if you could find some ways to seal that a little bit better. You could use some heavier curtains. You could use a honeycomb shade.
LESLIE: Yeah, Levolor makes that honeycomb shade that really has good insulating power.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, they do. Yeah, and it’s a good one. That, coupled with a heavier curtain, will stop – you want to stop the cold air not only from coming in but the warm air in the house that strikes it …
LESLIE: From going out.
TOM: … will chill and then fall because of convection and that causes a draft.
SHERYL: And what kind of weatherstripping would I get; just foam or …?
TOM: It depends on the design of the window but if you look at how the window was designed to seal originally, then you could choose probably one of the self-stick products and you could improve it. And they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and so on and they’re at the home center; they’re inexpensive and I would do a little bit of experimenting and try to see if you can get one that works well.
And finally, the last thing that you could do is, if you really don’t want to deal with it, is you could use shrink film over it. You know, there are these shrink window – these window film kits …
LESLIE: It’s like a wrap.
TOM: … where you basically put like a clear plastic across the entire opening and then, with a hair dryer, you heat it and it pulls really nice and tight and clear and that totally stops the draft. And if you ever had to get out in the event of an emergency you just punch right through it.
TOM: So there are a few ways to deal with those leaky sliding windows and I think if you’re thinking about a good improvement, moving forward in the future when you get the time and you’re ready for that investment, I think you’d get a lot of enjoyment out of some new windows. Because there’s nothing worse than the leaky sliding ones.
SHERYL: Mm-hmm, they’re bad. (chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, they sure are.
SHERYL: (chuckling) Yes.
SHERYL: Alright then. I sure appreciate it. That’s what I wanted to find out.
TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.