How To Make Windows More Energy Efficient

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This article comes from The Spruce.

How To Make Windows More Energy Efficient

Some energy-efficient tips are inexpensive to complete. Other ideas provide a temporary solution in extreme weather. If your goal is to become more energy-efficient without having to install replacement windows, here are a few ways to improve energy efficiency in your home.

Apply window caulk to prevent air seepage

Heat and cold can enter your home through gaps between the glass, window sash, and window frame. Applying caulk or weatherstripping is an inexpensive and easy solution.

If you feel drafts around your window frames, you’ll want to seal the area. Many types of caulk and weatherstripping materials will last a long time, but you should check them on a yearly basis to provide the best weather protection.

Install awnings to block the sun

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, awnings can reduce the amount of solar heat gained in your home by up to 65 percent during the summer when used on southern-facing windows. Awnings used on western-facing windows can reduce the heat gained by up to 77 percent.

You can install individual awnings over single windows, or you can choose an awning that covers a larger portion of your home. Awnings that also cover exterior walls can reduce the solar heat gained by the wall.

Be sure to choose long-lasting awning materials: Newer synthetic fabrics resist fading and mildew. If you live in an area with colder winter temperatures, consider roll-up awnings that allow sunlight into warm rooms in the winter.

Add window treatments to block drafts and sunlight

Insulated draperies can improve your window’s energy efficiency in both the summer and winter. The thermal insulation can reduce cold drafts and prevent heat from entering or leaving your home. Using draperies is beneficial because you can open the drapes to let sunlight in to warm your home when you want.

Window blinds are a good choice for reducing heat gained from the sun. Quality blinds can reduce heat by up to 45 percent. Blinds are not as effective for reducing heat lost in the winter, though.

Using both blinds and draperies maximizes sun protection and the prevention of heat loss in the winter. Pull-down shades provide another option, and they can be custom-fitted to your windows.

Consider adding window film to the glass

Tinted window film will reduce the amount of heat that builds inside your home from the sun. Window films can be permanent or temporary. You can also choose to install the film yourself or have it done professionally.

Temporary film treatments are the better choice if you live in an area with cold winters because you can benefit from the sun warming your home during the cold season. A permanent film is an excellent option for areas that are warmer all year, but keep in mind that most window films will reduce visibility.

Put up storm panels to help stabilize the temperature

Insulating panels offer a temporary solution to heat loss in winter or heat gain in summer. Storm panels are manufactured from many materials, including plastic or polyethylene. Not all panels provide the best visibility, so consider your needs before you make a purchase.

A similar temporary solution is using a plastic heat-shrink film kit, which is available in many sizes and can be purchased at most hardware and large merchandise stores. In an emergency, you can cut a piece of Styrofoam to fit your window.

“A lot of times, we see people put plastic over their windows,” says Rhonda Steffes, co-owner of New Windows for America in New Brighton, Minnesota. “It’s a temporary fix if people don’t mind not being able to use their windows.”

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