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Host Kevin O’Connor, contractor Nathan Gilbert and tech expert Ross Trethewey share some cost-effective ways to seal and insulate existing windows without replacing them. The team discusses efficiency ratings for older single-pane windows compared to today’s options and offers tips to seal your drafty windows from the inside. They explain different insulating techniques, including shrink wrap, weather stripping, and caulk. Anything you can do to decrease airflow and leakage will drastically increase comfort and energy savings.
Skill level: 1/5
Cost: Varies depending on the method of sealing air leaks
Time: 1-2 hours
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Try Sealing Air Leaks Before Upgrading Windows
Windows usually have an R-value of 1 to 2—walls generally have an R-value between 13 and 20. Before incurring the expense of buying a new window, homeowners should try to seal any air leakage around the existing window’s frame. Traditional New England homes usually have storm windows to create a bigger barrier during winter. Nathan also explains a newer style: screw-in aluminum with removable glass for spring and summer.
Where to find it?
When talking about shrink wrapping windows, Nathan refers to the Frost King [https://www.frostking.com/products] Premium Cylinder, Heavy Duty, EZ Roll Shrink Window Kit [https://thd.co/3uX6buP]
When talking about feeling a draft in your window and removing window casing, Nathan suggests using a low expanding foam like GREAT STUFF™ [https://www.greatstuff.dupont.com/product-gallery.html] Window & Door Insulating Foam Sealant [https://amzn.to/3oQGTL7].
All other tools used including caulking gun [https://amzn.to/36aKihf], fiberglass insulation [https://amzn.to/3gM1lbx], weatherstripping [https://amzn.to/351ECWs], and caulking cord [https://amzn.to/3sCn9vC] can be found at local home centers.
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From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. Ask This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.
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Window Air Sealing Techniques | Ask This Old House