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American Exteriors – Winterizing Your Windows

Improperly sealed window frames are generally the most commonly noticed aspect of a faulty air barrier as the affects are more noticeable. Such aspects may be manifested in drapes or curtains moving due to the breeze coming through gaps in your home envelope. Sealing these leaks not only contributes to utility savings but also increased comfort.

How do you know if you have leaky windows? Here are a few simple ways to determine if you have a faulty air barrier out for in your inspections:

  • window frame for cracks in the caulking, on the top of the window sill, or commonly overlooked, under the window sill.
  • On a windy day, using an incense stick, move the device around the frame to observe if there is movement indicating air leakage, this could occur from wind blowing into the home or out of the home as well.

Here are a few DIY solutions you can take in order to seal the windows in your home. For best results, prepare the area to be caulked or weather-stripped as follows:

Caulk to plug any areas of leaky air.

First, prepare the area:
• The temperature outside should be above 20°F (-7°C).
• Before application, remove dirt, grease or oil which will interfere with adhesion using a mild dishwashing detergent and water.
• If pressure-sensitive weather stripping was previously applied, it can be removed with an adhesive remover, found in local home improvement stores
• Remove any old caulk and paint using a putty knife or large screwdriver.
• Make sure to wipe all surfaces down for best result.
• Make sure all areas are dry so moisture isn’t trapped inside.

Caulking:
• Hold the caulking gun at a consistent angle, usually 30°-45°, to force caulk into the crevasses.
• Caulk in one continuous line. Avoid stops and starts as this can cause unseemly irregularities and gaps in the caulking bead.
• Make certain that the caulk sticks to both surfaces.
• Release the trigger before pulling away to avoid applying too much caulk.
• To clean up any excessive waste use mineral spirits or water (depending on type of caulking)

Weather stripping:

Weather stripping is another easy DIY method to ensure that your home is sealed against the elements:
• Calculate how much weather stripping you will need.
• Measure the perimeter of all of the windows and doors which will need application and then add 5%-10% to account for waste. Use the old adage, measure twice – cut once.
• Using the weather stripping obtained from a local home improvement store, apply the weather stripping between the sash and the frame of the window.
• Do not remove all of the backing at once; slowly peel off the backing as you adhere it to the surface. The material should compress when the window is closed.

These are two very easy DIY simple solutions to effectively stop your energy dollars from flying out the window. By utilizing these and other techniques, you will make your home more comfortable as you seal the leaks in your home.