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How to Winterize Your Windows in 4 Steps

posted on December 18, 2020 in Boston

snowy home

Here in New England, it is evident that winter will soon be upon us. As the temperatures continue to drop and rain turns into snow, it is safe to say we will all be spending more time inside.

In order not to let the winter air invade your home, you need to make sure your house is protected against the weather. One of the measures you can take to keep your house chill-free and frost-free is to winterize your windows. These four simple steps will ensure that your house stays warm all winter long, no matter how frightful the weather outside is.

1. Caulk and seal windows for winter.

The sealant and caulking around your windows are extra important during the winter. Sealant and caulking create a barrier between the window frame and the exterior siding. Making sure your sealant and caulking are in good condition are key precautions to take before winter. For each window in your house, you should determine whether or not the sealant and caulking need to be replaced. You’ll need to check to make sure the seals are airtight and watertight, to prevent cold airflow and water from seeping in. Start by looking around the entirety of each window, while paying close attention to lower corners and joints. During this process, if you see any cracked, broken, or dry sealant, it is an indicator that new caulking is needed. Then, go ahead and apply new caulking right away, so that you’ll be protected against the frigid air.

2. Apply new window weather stripping

Now that you’ve checked your window sealant and replaced the caulking if needed, you want to weatherstrip your windows. Good weather stripping should be tight enough that it covers any gaps between the window sash and frame. This also helps prevent air and water from coming in through the windows. 

It is important to note that there are a variety of weatherstripping products that you can use. These depend on the types of window you have:

  • Adhesive-backed foam compresses between the window and the sash to seal gaps and leaks.
  • Tubular rubber gaskets are hollow rubber tubes that help seal gaps.
  • Felt weather stripping is one of the oldest kinds, and still can do the job in a pinch, but it may not last as long.
  • Spring V-seals are metal or plastic strips that create tension seals to help prevent drafts.

When you are applying weather stripping, it is good to note that you can usually unsnap the current weather stripping and simply replace it with your new one. 

3. Inspect window locks and latches

If you have windows that don’t open and close properly, they are going to let air and moisture seep in.  When conducting your yearly window check, you’ll need to open, close, lock, and unlock each window in your house to make sure it functions.  If something isn’t working properly, you can try cleaning and lubricating it. However, it is important to note that that may not be enough. Because windows wear and tear over time, you may need to replace or repair the part of the window that doesn’t work properly. If you can repair the part or replace it easily on your own, then great. If not, call your local window professional to ensure success. Once you complete this process, don’t forget to close and lock every window so that they are sealed shut before the start of winter. 

4. Hang thermal curtains

Now that you’ve completed the first three steps in your winter window check, this last one is a bonus. Hanging thermal curtains will cover your windows to keep the cold out. Thermal curtains have a foam lining and are very heavy, as they act as an additional layer of insulation.  Thermal curtains also act as noise and light reducers.  These curtains can be hung to the window sill or can be extended down to the floor, it is the homeowner’s preference. But, make sure to hang them as close to the wall as possible so they can trap all the cold air before it permeates into the rest of the house. And, once springtime finally comes, you can change out your thermal curtains for lighter, seasonal curtains.  Thermal curtains are definitely worth it, as they are an extra layer of protection against the cold air.

5. Have Pella check your windows

If you want to have a professional check out your windows before winter is in full swing, feel free to call your local Pella Windows & Doors to see if they can come out and double-check your winterized windows.  Pella will make sure there are no cracks, leaks, or other issues surrounding the windows. 

However, if you’ve taken steps to winterize your windows and they just aren’t keeping the cold air out, it may be time to consider a window replacement. Winter is definitely harsher in New England than it is in other parts of the country. There are energy-efficient windows specifically manufactured to withstand the colder temperatures. These do a better job of insulating against winter temps while allowing in more sunlight to warm your home naturally. Upgrading to new energy-efficient windows can make a big difference in how your home responds to winter. Talk to a window professional to get a better idea of what your home needs before you face another long and cold New England winter.

And, if you know you don’t need new windows and have completed these four steps to winterize your windows, you’ll be protected against all of the cold air that is sure to descend upon New England soon.

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*Based on a 2020 survey of leading window brands among homeowners.