Reduce Your Electric Bill: Prevent Energy Loss Through Windows

If you’ve ever decorated a cake with icing or sealed an envelope with tape, you have the skills to improve your home’s energy efficiency by caulking and weather-stripping your windows. These simple tasks can significantly impact your electric bill during the winter months.

Ensuring your windows are airtight is crucial for energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 25 percent of your heating costs may be escaping through cracks, gaps, and holes in your windows.

Identifying Problem Areas To start, carefully inspect each window for signs of air leaks. Utilize a feather, lighter, or smoke pen on a breezy day to detect movement, or use a damp hand to feel for drafts. You can also conduct a nighttime inspection with a flashlight to pinpoint issues.

Once you identify problem spots, mark them with sticky notes for future attention.

Choosing Between Caulk and Weather-Stripping Decide whether caulk or weather-stripping is best for sealing your windows. Generally, use weather-stripping for movable components and caulk for stationary ones. Read the product instructions carefully before starting.

Caulking Tips Apply caulk on days with low humidity and temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain a consistent angle while caulking, and apply it continuously along cracks. Aim for a thicker layer of caulk rather than a thinner one.

Weather-Stripping Tips Install weather-stripping when temperatures are above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Place it between the sash and frame without obstructing window operation. Measure and cut weather-stripping accurately to minimize waste.

Creating a Temporary Double-Pane Window If your windows are deteriorating but you’re not ready for replacements, fashion a temporary double-pane window using clear plastic or vinyl sheeting. Secure it with weatherproof or duct tape, or opt for shrink film that requires a hair dryer for installation.

Consider Window Treatments Maximize energy efficiency by adjusting your window treatments. Keep them open on sunny days to let in warmth and close them on cloudy days or at night to retain heat. Consider using quilted drapes or insulated vinyl shades to further reduce heat loss.

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