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Cut window drafts to reduce energy use

September 28, 2009

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Weather-proofing your windows is an easy and inexpensive way to reduce winter drafts and save on energy costs. Step 1: Caulk around the interior and exterior of the window frame. If gaps around the frame are larger than one-half of an inch, use flexible caulk backer rod to fill the gap before caulking. Use a good-quality paintable latex caulk specifically labeled for windows and doors.

Step 2: Apply foam, felt or bronze weather stripping to the interior portions of the window frame. Weather strip comes in a wide variety of widths and thicknesses. It is a good idea to examine and measure the surface areas where weather strip will be applied before purchasing the product. It is very important that the weather strip does not obstruct the operation of the window. Make sure the window can be closed completely before proceeding.

Step 3: If you have a window that does not need to be opened during the winter, applying plastic sheeting to the interior or exterior of the window is the best way to stop drafts and reduce heat loss. Kits are available in a variety of styles and sizes. Measure each of your windows before making a purchase to be certain that the kit you choose will fit your needs.

Step 4: Using removable double-face tape is the easiest and most energy-efficient method of securing plastic sheeting to the window frame. Clean the surfaces around the frame and wipe with rubbing alcohol before applying the tape. If possible, apply the tape to the edges of the frame rather than the face of the frame.

Step 5: Cut the plastic sheeting to fit the size of your window. Leave an extra inch on all sides to insure a proper fit.

Step 6: Fold or roll the sheeting so the top edge is fully exposed. Holding the top corners of the sheet, pull the plastic taut and adhere it to the tape along the top of the frame. If the window is wider than your arms, start in one corner and apply the sheeting an arm length at a time. Unroll or unfold the sheeting and use the same method for applying the plastic to the window sides. Keep the sheeting as tight as possible during the process.

Step 7: Pull the sheeting taut and secure it along the bottom of the window frame.

Step 8: If the material you are using is heat-shrinkable, use a blow dryer to slowly heat the surface area of the sheeting until it is tight across the window.

If done properly, weather-proofing each of the windows in your home will save you on heating and cooling bills for years to come.

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