How to Winterize a Window: Essential Tips Inside

How to Winterize a Window?

To winterize a window, there are several steps you can take.

First, you can use draft snakes to block any drafts that may be coming through.

Weather strips can also be applied to seal gaps and cracks in the window.

Caulking is another effective method to seal any leaks.

Window insulation film and tape can be used to create a barrier against cold air.

It is also important to caulk and seal the windows properly to prevent any openings.

Regular inspection and maintenance, such as replacing weatherstripping with Spring V-seals and checking window locks and latches, is crucial.

Hanging thermal curtains and using energy-efficient windows are additional measures you can take.

Lastly, remember that energy loss through windows can account for a significant portion of heating and cooling energy use, so consulting a window professional for guidance on energy-efficient window options is recommended.

Key Points:

  • Use draft snakes to block drafts coming through the window
  • Apply weather strips to seal gaps and cracks in the window
  • Seal any leaks with caulking
  • Create a barrier against cold air using window insulation film and tape
  • Properly caulk and seal the windows to prevent openings
  • Regularly inspect and maintain the windows, replace weatherstripping, check locks and latches

Did You Know?

1. The concept of winterizing windows originated in ancient Rome, where they used a mixture of animal fat and straw to insulate their windows during cold months.

2. In ancient China, some windows were winterized by applying a thin layer of paper soaked in oil to the glass. This helped to protect against drafts and retain heat.

3. During the Middle Ages, European castles would winterize their windows by hanging thick curtains made of horsehair. This kept the cold air out and provided an additional layer of insulation.

4. In the early 20th century, some homeowners would winterize their windows by using a combination of newspaper and potato paste. This paste, made from potatoes and water, was applied on the windowpanes to create a temporary insulating layer.

5. Today, modern methods of winterizing windows often involve the use of window film. This film, made from a thin plastic material, can be applied directly to the glass and provides a transparent barrier against cold air infiltration.

Draft Snakes

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to winterize a window is by using draft snakes. These long, tube-like fabric pillows can be placed along the bottom of windowsills to block cold air from seeping in and warm air from seeping out. Draft snakes are available in various designs and materials, including plush fabric and foam, which offer excellent insulation. They are especially useful for older windows that may have small gaps or cracks.

To make your own draft snake, simply measure the length of your window sill and sew a fabric tube filled with insulating material, such as rice or dried beans. Place the draft snake against the window sill, ensuring it is snug and covers the entire length. Remember to remove and store the draft snakes during the warmer months to extend their lifespan.

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Weather Strips

Weather strips are an effective way to seal gaps and cracks around the edges of windows. They come in various materials, including adhesive foam, rubber, or vinyl. Installing weather strips can prevent drafts and improve energy efficiency by creating a tight seal between the window and its frame.

To apply weather strips, follow these steps:

  • Clean the window frame and remove any old or damaged weather stripping.
  • Measure the length needed for each side of the window and cut the weather strip accordingly.
  • Peel off the backing and firmly press the adhesive side onto the window frame, ensuring it covers the gap completely.
  • Repeat the process for all sides of the window.
  • Check that the weather strips create a tight seal when the window is closed.

It is important to properly install weather strips in order to maximize their effectiveness in sealing gaps and improving energy efficiency.


Caulking is an essential step in winterizing windows, as it helps seal any gaps or cracks that may allow cold air to enter or warm air to escape. Before applying caulk, thoroughly clean the window frames and remove any existing caulk or debris.

Choose a high-quality, waterproof caulk suitable for your window material, whether it’s wood, vinyl, or metal. Using a caulking gun, carefully apply a thin, even bead of caulk along the edges of the window frame, ensuring it fills any gaps or cracks. Smooth the caulk with a putty knife or your finger to create a neat, even seal. Allow the caulk to dry completely before painting or exposing it to moisture.

Window Insulation Film

Window insulation film is a cost-effective option for improving the energy efficiency of your windows. It creates a transparent barrier that helps to reduce drafts and heat loss.

To install the window insulation film, follow these steps:

  • Clean the window thoroughly
  • Cut the film to fit the size of the window, leaving a few centimeters of overlap on all sides.
  • Apply the double-sided tape around the window frame, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Carefully attach the film to the tape, smoothing it out to remove any wrinkles or air bubbles.
  • Shrink the film using a hairdryer on low heat to create a tight, transparent seal.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

“Window insulation film is a cost-effective option for improving the energy efficiency of your windows.”

  • Using window insulation film helps to reduce drafts and heat loss.
  • Kits typically include a roll of insulating film and double-sided tape.

Window Insulation Tape

Window insulation tape is a convenient option for insulating windows. It functions similarly to weather stripping and is particularly suitable for filling smaller gaps. Applying it along the edges of windows creates a tight seal, minimizing drafts and increasing energy efficiency.

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To effectively use window insulation tape, follow these steps:

  • Clean the window frame and ensure it is thoroughly dry.
  • Measure the length required for each side of the window and cut the tape accordingly.
  • Peel off the backing to expose the adhesive side of the tape.
  • Press the tape firmly onto the window frame, covering any gaps or cracks.
  • Ensure a secure seal by smoothing the tape with your fingers.

These straightforward instructions will help you achieve optimal insulation and maintain a comfortable home environment.

Annual Inspection and Maintenance

To maintain the long-term efficiency of your winterized windows, it’s important to conduct an annual inspection and perform any necessary maintenance tasks. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Check for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracked caulk, loose weather stripping, or damaged insulation film.
  • If you notice any issues, replace the weather stripping with new Spring V-seals, reapply caulk where necessary, and replace or repair any damaged insulation film.
  • Additionally, inspect the window locks and latches to ensure they are functioning properly, as they play an important role in preventing drafts.
  • Consider hanging thermal curtains to further improve insulation during the winter months.

Remember that energy loss through windows can account for 25% to 30% of heating and cooling energy use. If you are unsure about the best options for energy-efficient windows, consult a window professional. They can provide guidance on selecting windows that offer optimal insulation and energy efficiency for your specific needs.

Incorporating these winterizing tips into your window maintenance routine will not only keep your home more comfortable during the colder months but also help reduce energy consumption and save on heating costs.

Take the time to assess and improve the insulation of your windows, and enjoy a cozy and energy-efficient winter season.

Winter Window Maintenance Tips:

  • Conduct an annual inspection and look for signs of wear or damage.
  • Replace weather stripping and caulk if necessary.
  • Repair or replace damaged insulation film.
  • Inspect window locks and latches for proper functionality.
  • Consider hanging thermal curtains for additional insulation.

“Energy loss through windows can account for 25% to 30% of heating and cooling energy use.”

Consult a window professional for guidance on selecting energy-efficient windows.

Improve insulation to reduce energy consumption and save on heating costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I put on windows to keep cold out?

One effective solution for keeping the cold out is using window insulation film. This affordable and easy-to-install option involves sticking a sheet of film onto the window’s inner frame and then using a hairdryer to heat it up. As the film shrinks and clings to the surface, it creates a tight seal, preventing cold air from entering your home and helping to keep it warm and cozy.

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Another option to consider is using thermal curtains or blinds. These window coverings are specifically designed to provide insulation and can help to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. In addition to blocking drafts, thermal curtains or blinds can also reduce outdoor noise and provide privacy. With their thermal lining, they act as an additional barrier against the cold, providing an extra layer of insulation for your windows.

What does it mean to winterize windows?

Winterizing windows refers to the process of preparing and optimizing them to maintain maximum energy efficiency during the cold winter months. This involves sealing any gaps, applying caulking, weatherstripping, and ensuring proper locking mechanisms to prevent drafts and heat loss. Although annual winterization efforts may yield diminishing returns over time, it remains crucial to address any potential areas of energy loss in order to keep your home warm and reduce energy consumption during winter.

How do I seal a window for winter?

To effectively seal a window for winter, there are a few options you can explore. One option is weatherstripping, which involves measuring the perimeters of each window and adding 10% for materials. This extra step helps ensure you have enough weatherstripping to effectively seal any gaps and prevent drafts. Additionally, you can consider using extra caulking to seal any visible gaps or cracks around the window frame. Another option is to use draft stoppers, which are designed to slide under the window or door to prevent cold air from entering.

If you prefer a more DIY approach, you can also consider using shrink-wrap kits specifically designed for windows. These kits typically include plastic film and double-sided tape that you can apply to the window frame. Once heated with a hairdryer, the film shrinks to create a tight seal, effectively reducing drafts. Whichever method you choose, the goal is to create a barrier that minimizes air leakage and helps keep your home warmer during the winter months.

Does putting plastic over windows really help?

Covering windows with plastic film can indeed be a helpful and cost-effective solution. The film acts as an additional barrier against drafts, helping to keep the house warmer during winter months. This not only makes the home more comfortable, but also reduces the need for constant heating, resulting in energy savings and lower utility bills. Furthermore, the film helps to prevent moisture buildup and condensation on the windows, which can contribute to issues such as mold and window damage. Overall, using plastic film to cover windows can be a simple yet effective way to improve energy efficiency and savings.

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