Winterizing Windows and Doors

They say, "windows are the eyes to your house" and play a major role in the overall look, feel, and curb appeal of your home. Although the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder, autumn is the perfect time to inspect and prepare your windows and doors for winter or determine if it’s time for them to be replaced.

Use these tips to ensure your windows and doors are ready for the season, and improve your home's energy efficiency:

Check window and door caulking. If your windows and doors aren’t properly aligned, warm air will escape and cold air will come in which may dramatically increase your heating bills. Prepare your windows and doors by re-caulking old spots that may be broken or cracked to help seal out drafts (typically done on the exterior). Don’t forget to include your basement windows!

  • Inspect windows and remove old caulk.
  • Prep the windows. Make sure the surfaces are clear from dust and debris, clean and dry.
  • Cut your caulking tube at a 45-degree angle and load it into the gun. Apply a bead to the seam of the window in a steady line without stopping. Use the same approach for any cracks. Note: Use a high quality silicone caulk and gun.
  • Smooth the caulk using a wet finger and wipe off with a cloth or paper towel. Flatten the bead and push it into the seam or crack after you apply each line to help seal those areas.
  • Allow to dry according to product recommendations.

Check weather stripping. If your windows and doors have worn or loose weather stripping, it needs to be reapplied. Weather strips are an inexpensive method to ensure your windows and doors are sealed tight and eliminate drafts. There are three main types of weather strips:

  • Foam weather stripping is available in various sizes with adhesive backing on one side. While easy to install, it may only last 1-3 years.
  • V-type weather strips will fit against the side of a window or door jam and form a seal to prevent cold air from entering.
  • Compression weather strips are the most durable seal for swinging doors and window sashes.

Install a storm door. A storm door not only protects your front door, it serves as a buffer from wind, and stops drafts.

Use a draft guard. Installing a quality draft guard/sweep along the bottom of an exterior door is a simple solution that keeps your home warm and can block cold air. These come in a range of decorative colors and premium finishes. It’s important to measure the length of the door when it’s closed and cut the guard/sweep to the size you need to ensure a good fit. There are a variety of door guards to choose from:

  • Heavy duty - this is the preferred guard. It's surface applied on the exterior bottom of outswing doors.
  • Drip cap door sweep - this is applied on the exterior bottom of outswing doors. It prevents infiltration of air, dust, insects, etc. by sealing the opening, often in conjunction with the threshold.
  • Brush sweep - this is applied on the exterior bottom of outswing doors to keep warm air in, and cold air out.
  • Door snakes - these are weighted fabric tubes placed at the bottom of your door, and prevents cold air from coming through.

Window insulation film. Window film looks like saran wrap, and while it may not look that attractive, it can keep up to 70% of heat from leaking out. After applying the film on your windows, heat it with a blow-dryer to shrink the film for a tight seal.

Basement windows. Protect them with window well covers.

To learn more about window or door replacements, schedule your professional inspection with National Contractors. For nearly 30 years, our family owned business has been providing our customers with unparalleled quality and craftmanship, exceptional customer service, and guaranteed satisfaction. National Contractors has been a member of Community Associations Institute for 19 years, with staff that has earned CAI’s Educated Business Partner distinction.

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