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For some, winter is a delightfully joyous time of year, where the weather is perfect for activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and curling up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. For others… maybe not so much. Some of us are far more sensitive to the cold, damp, and dismal aspects of winter survival. No matter which group you fall into, we likely all have one thing in common – that we still view our home as a warm place to retreat and recover at the end of the day.

When the temperature drops outside, our instincts lead us to automatically turn up the heat – but a well insulated home should, barring the most extreme circumstances, be maintaining a comfortable temperature without the need to adjust the thermostat. One very common cause for a drafty home is poorly insulated windows. While the ideal solution is an upgrade to new, energy efficient windows, there are some things you can do in the mean time. Here are a few suggestions:

Weather Stripping:

A common and inexpensive option is to install rubberized weather stripping. This is easy to find at just about any hardware store, major retailer, or online. Simply cut the strips to the appropriate size, peel away the self adhesive backing, and apply to the frame. Be cautious during removal, though – sometimes the adhesive can peel away paint and leave a residue behind.

Window Insulation Film:

The most common type of window insulation is a kit that contains a shrink-wrap type plastic sheet, which you’ll cut to fit the windows, and apply with a double sided tape, before finally applying heat with a hair dryer to tighten the film and remove wrinkles. Like the weather stripping above, the tape should be removed carefully to avoid causing damage.

Dress For The Weather:

A slightly more expensive, but far more attractive option, is to simply “dress up” your windows for winter. Thicker curtains, or those with a thermal lining, can be used or even combined with heavy or insulated blinds to provide a deterrant to a cold draft, and trap warm air inside where it belongs. If you have larger gaps with more serious drafts, pick up (or DIY) a cheap draft stopper to rest inside the windowsill. For a warmer option that won’t block out the natural light, invest in cellular shades, instead of traditional blinds.

Seal The Gaps:

A more intensive solution for drafty windows could include sealing and caulking the windows, especially if you have an older home where there may be larger cracks, gaps, deteriorating caulking, rotting wood or cracked or missing glass. You’ll need to remove the old caulking, thoroughly clean the area, and replace the caulking, but bear in mind, this will need to be done when the temperature is above 45° F and the humidity is low. If the weather conditions aren’t ideal in your area then put this option off until spring and choose another instead.

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