Stop Window Drafts in an Apartment
LESLIE: Calling from New York, New York we’ve got Robert. How can we help?
ROBERT: Yeah, hi. I was wondering if you could give me some hints of what to do for a problem I’m having in my building here; an apartment that I have in a building in New York City. It’s an old – 80-year-old – multiple dwelling building. I face the Hudson River way up in the northern tip of Manhattan.
LESLIE: Ooh, freezing.
LESLIE: Freezing winds.
ROBERT: And I got tremendous westerly winds for the last 30 years or so. And basically, about six to eight years ago they replaced the windows with these metal type, New York City-type replacement windows …
ROBERT: … that I haven’t ever seen anywhere else other than New York. (Tom laughs) I’m sure you’re familiar with. Double-pane supposedly.
ROBERT: Basically, the air still comes through. So what I have done up to this point after so many years, I have built a polyethylene frame enclosure that I’ve put against inside. I have Venetian blinds. I have curtains. I have shades.
LESLIE: Robert, do you feel the draft sort of around where the sash meets the track? Or is it coming through the glass?
ROBERT: It looks like it’s coming from the side where the sash meets the side of the actual – you know, where the …
LESLIE: In the tracking system.
ROBERT: I believe it’s probably the weight wells that are on the side weren’t filled (ph) in, you know, properly. Or they should have been (inaudible).
TOM: OK, Robert. There’s another thing that you can do here. All of the things that you mention, of course, are helping. But since this seems to be in the areas where the window slides up and down, you can actually caulk your windows shut.
LESLIE: Not with your average caulk.
TOM: Right. But not with regular caulk. There are a number of manufacturers that make a temporary caulk. One of them is called Seal ‘N Peel and the way it works is …
LESLIE: And that’s from DAP.
TOM: That’s from DAP. You basically caulk the window shut. So you caulk those gaps around those tracks. And then after the caulk dries, in the spring it can be simply peeled right off. It’s kind of like that gooey stuff when you get a brand new credit card. It’s like stuck to the paper. It has that sort of texture to it. And you grab it and it peels the whole thing right off. It’s pretty cool stuff. It doesn’t damage the windows.
The only thing I have to caution – are you on an upper floor?
ROBERT: Yeah, top floor.
TOM: Well, if you do this on a house that has to have emergency egress you’re basically caulking your window shut. But you’re not going to need that on the upper floor so go ahead and caulk them shut with the Seal ‘N Peel or a product like that. You can seal them up in the fall then you can peel it off and operate the windows like nothing ever happened in the spring.
LESLIE: And you know, Robert, my mom’s on the east side of Manhattan, right on the East River. And I turned her on to it and now everybody in her building has sealed their windows shut. And it works.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.