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Weatherproofing Windows

We just bought a house and the windows are all needing to be replaced. Does anyone know of a way to help save energy on these low grade windows until we can afford to replace them?

Thank you.

By Christine

Recent Answers

By kim (Guest Post)12/12/2008

My Aunt has a very old house which we have been to more than once to replace the plastic on windows. We discovered that the thinner, 2 mil. sheeting works way better than the thicker sheeting, as the thicker seems to become brittle in cold weather. We also used ferring strips or thin pieces of wood nailed around the edges on the outside to help secure it.

By kim (Guest Post)12/12/2008

My Aunt has a very old house which we have been to more than once to replace the plastic on windows. We discovered that the thinner, 2 mil. sheeting works way better than the thicker sheeting, as the thicker seems to become brittle in cold weather. We also used ferring strips or thin pieces of wood nailed around the edges on the outside to help secure it.

By john h (Guest Post)10/05/2008

Can you do both the inside and outside of the windows or is that a bad idea?

By susan (Guest Post)11/26/2006

i just use clear or light beige packaging tape around all the edges of my windows. works great and it cheap. it will be easy to remove in the summer and put it back on in the winter.

By Niki (Guest Post)09/23/2006

If you buy the kits be prepared to go find other double sided tape. It never sticks well on our windows and always blows out gaps by the end of winter. I'm going to try carpet tape this time.

By Shirley. (Guest Post)04/25/2006

We have cedar windows and I see some dampness in the corners. Everything seems solid, no rot, but how do I know if window can be fixed or has to be replaced. Windows are 28 years old.

By Roberta (Guest Post)10/30/2005

I have a gazebo that I would like to close up in the winter. There are no existing windows. I am thinking of installing some kind of removable window that is attached on the interior top and latches in place. My mother's house had old storm windows like this except they were put on the outside. Do you know if this type storm window is still available? Any other suggestions?

By Monica (Guest Post)10/13/2005

Can I use the plastic window kits on the outside of my windows? I live in a 1932 Sears house and I really need to weatherproof these old windows. I don't want to use the plastic inside because then I won't be able to raise and lower my blinds. If these kits can be used on the outside of my windows.....consider me SOLD. Thanks for any help.

By Jo Ann (Guest Post)10/04/2005

Question, If I use the double sided tape what happens in the spring when I take the plastic down. Will it remove the paint on the window frame?

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]03/19/2005

Put plastic over your windows in the cold months. You would be surprised how much cold air gets through your seals in an older home. - Mandy

Mandy sent in this tip a few years ago, it is especially true this year with energy costs likely to go through the roof. If you have single pane windows and can't afford to replace them before winter, plastic is an inexpensive but effective solution.

By Michael Ruger [19]01/03/2005

I grew up in the 1950's ,before any of those fancy Dan things to cover your windows
I remember my Grandma stuffing newspaper in the cracks where the window was warped and then tape them tack cardboard to the sill.
We always had heavy drapes which she closed at night and open on sunny winter days.
we were heated by an old cast iron Cook Stove that burnt wood and sometime Coal when we could afford it.
That old house stood some 70 years and no one I can remember died of the cold.
I think those drafts might even have kept us healthy lol
Today's homes are just chucked full of all kinds of chemicals and poisons which the building materials are made .
My home today?
Oh we have a few windows with plastic ,and others just paper board from cereal boxes to slow up the drafts. Still don't get many colds .

Yep heavy drapes closed at night open to catch the winter's sun.
Sorry to say an Oil furnace ,but we run it for around 68degrees, so we get by using about 200 gallons a winter, Not bad .
Right now In Central Pa. we are having temperatures to the 50's Unusual for us for January.
I look out My non plastic covered windows and feel the winter sun coming through.
I guesS I didn't help much ,but those that may be too poor to even buy plastic and duct tape .I gave you something you could do.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]12/27/2004

My husband and I put up that plastic sheeting on our windows this year to help keep in the heat. There were 2 sizes of plastic, small and large. The small was too small for our windows but the large was way more expensive. For each window, we used two sheets of the small, and just heat shrank them together. The package says this doesn't work, but it has worked just great for us!

By Jennifer

By pam-a-lam-a-lam-a-la (Guest Post)11/11/2004

I love the idea of making removable storm windows using wood frames and will have to try that, but also thought I might expand on the previous e-mail.......

I grew up in Chicago, and while the character of the old brownstone buildings was fun, the gaps between the old window frames and the single pane glass was not.

Many people do this in Chi town where it gets mighty chilly when those cold winter winds start blowing. Not to mention the high cost of heating/cooling your home or apartment, 'cause Chicago was also a wee bit humid around July & August.

Anyway, here is my input on the matter at hand......

Any plastic material will work, although using a clear thinner plastic is virtually invisible after it is put up if installed as follows. Remember, plastic does not "breathe" and so even thin sheeting will keep the outside air from getting in. Therefore it really doesn't have to be very thick/heavy to do the job. Think of the flimsy plastic bags placed over dry cleaned clothes, and the suffocation warnings printed on them.

Anyway, you can purchase clear plastic sheeting in varying sizes at the store mentioned in previous ad, most home repair and hardware stores, as well as some fabric stores. If cost is not a factor, most of these stores also sell window kits that come with everything needed to accomplish this, although you are then limited to their supply, sizes and shapes.

(If minimal funds are available, you can cut open and mount a plastic garbage bag. And remember, that they come in different sizes and colors too! The appearance may not be as becoming, but it will definitely save on those energy bills. The black ones seem to cut down on uv rays as well, and may be used in some places where the view is not a factor (garage etc.) but the summer heat is.)

The key to putting it up so that it is not noticable is in using a double sided tape to mount it, although staples, nails, or anything else that will hold it in place should keep the air out, and is preferable if mounting plastic on the outside of window. I like the double sided tape method because it is hardly noticeable, ensures a tight seal and is just easy to work with. Make sure the tape will stick to the area around the window, as dirt or dust will prevent good adhesion. Rubbing alcohol may also aid in adhesion.
I have shopped around to find the least expensive dbl sided tape and have found a double sided carpet tape at WM that is fairly economical, and because it's wider than needed, can be cut in multiple (1/4-1/2") strips. However, you can also buy it in a regular tape dispenser wherever they sell gift wrap, but the cost can be steep.

To mount the plastic, first place tape across the width of the window, either above or at top of jamb, but do not remove the tape backing. Repeat this step around sides and bottom of window. Once completed, remove about 2 inches of the backing from each of the four corners.
Using a piece of plastic as big as the window + size of tape, center the plastic on the exposed tape in the four corners. Once sufficiantly centered, remove backing on each side to create an airtight seal.

The last step, which will make the plastic look like glass and get rid of any sagging/centering issues, is optional, but kinda fun.

Using a blow dryer on low setting, go over the plastic, starting from the top across and moving down towards bottom. The results are instant and you can play with it to get out imperfections. Use caution here because the heat produced can degrade/melt plastic if you let dryer get to close or hot. The risk of this will also depend upon the thickness of the plastic that was used.

Well that was a long answer, but I hope it will help someone stay cool, warm or save some cash, all of which are near and dear to my heart!

By Scott J. (Guest Post)11/11/2004

Buy plastic sheeting and double sided carpet tape. Line the tape around the interior trim of the window, place the plastic sheet over the tape, and use a sharp razor knife to trim the excess off.

By Harlean from Arkansas [125]11/11/2004

You can buy clear plastic by the yard in the Walmart Fabric department.It is as clear as a glass window. They have several different thicknesses at different prices. I believe the cheapest is less than a dollar a yard and the heaviest and most expensive around $2 a yard. I think it is 36 inches wide. We have made storm windows for the inside of our windows, by making wooden frames that fit snugly into the window opening and rest on the inside of the sill creating an airspace between it and the window. If you don't have the means to make the frames, just staple or tape the plastic over the windows. You can do this either on the inside of the house or on the outside. It really does a good job of insulating.
Harlean from Arkansas

By mt (Guest Post)11/11/2004

Use the plastic window kits that they sell in Walmart, K-Mart etc. You cut to fit andthey give you double sided tape to apply. Afterwards, you use a hairdryer to "shrink" the plastic to make an air tight seal. I've used them for a couple of years now on one of my windows that is good but leaks air and it works beautifully.

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