IF YOUR HOME IS OLDER and still has its original windows, they likely are not as energy efficient as they could be. Windows can let in unwanted cold drafts during the winter and heat in the summer. Replacing windows can be costly, and it can take 20 years of energy savings to recoup the investment.
If replacement isn’t an option for you can make significant improvements to your existing windows without investing a large amount of money or time.
Weatherstripping can be used for areas where a window’s movable parts meet the window frame. There are a variety of low-cost, easy-to-apply options that can pay for themselves in energy savings in as little as one year.
The seam between the window frame and the wall is a common source of air leakage. For gaps less than ¼-inch wide, fill it with caulk; for gaps larger, use expanding foam and paint over it.
If the windowpane is loose or the glass is cracked or missing, fix it. If you’re handy, you can re-glaze the window yourself or hire a local repairman to do the job.
Installing exterior or interior storm windows can sometimes provide as much savings as a full replacement, but they need to be the exact size of your window opening. Studies show that storm windows can cut heating costs by 7–12 percent. Window coverings also can help. There are many types, including interior roller shades, cellular shades, and draperies. Recent laboratory tests showed that cellular shades can cut heating or
cooling expenses by 10–16 percent. Cellular shades can be purchased with a lighter, reflective side and a darker, heat-absorbing side. Some even can be reversed with the change of seasons.
Draperies are usually less efficient but can provide a level of comfort during winter and summer months. For maximum effect, make sure draperies overlap in the middle, are as tight to the window and wall as possible and run all the way to the floor.
Consider installing awnings or overhangs above windows that receive a lot of direct sunlight. Window films that adhere to the window’s surface can reflect unwanted summer sunlight. Solar screens designed to block the sun’s rays also can be effective.
Another low-cost measure, that can produce much savings, is using a plastic weather barrier that adheres to the frame. Hardware stores sell a clear plastic and framing material that can be shrunk into place with a hair dryer.
If your home is older and you have drafty, inefficient windows consider:
- Check all seams between the window frame and the wall.
- Fix loose windowpane or glass cracks.
- Consider exterior or interior storm windows.
- Use window coverings, such as roller or cellular shades.
- Install an awning or overhangs above windows with
- excessive direct sunlight.
- Use a plastic weather barrier that adheres to the frame.
Save on your Electric bill and Request our Farmers EC Home Energy Efficiency Guide in the Efficiency hub.