Five Tips to Insulate Windows in Winters and Save Money

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Windows play the most important role in the insulation of your home. They account for at least 35% of the heat loss during the winter. With ever-increasing heating costs that mean thousands of dollars of loss a year, insulating your windows is an important decision. There are a number of indoor DIY methods to insulate your windows. I have compiled a list of highly practical and effective ways here, and have used a few of them myself. You can also take advantage of these suggestions.
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Locate the Leaks

You can insulate all the windows in your home without checking where the air leaks are. If you don't want to part away with a decent amount of money, look for leaks before embarking on a DIY insulating job. I would make the check on a relatively windy day. Leave the furnace, the exhaust fans and even the clothes dryer on to create a pressure difference so that air is drawn out of the house and external air moves in through the leaks to replace it.

The most effective way to locate the air leaks is to hold a smoking incense stick close to the windows. Any movement in the smoke is a clear indication of the air currents moving in. Mark all these spots with a chalk and then you can start insulating your windows where they need it the most, saving you both time and money.

Window Insulation Kits

Buying insulation kits is a smart move. I have found it to be an economical option with a more "pro" approach. On an average, you can end up spending up to $10 per window to purchase these supplies. The cost can vary depending on the size of your windows. These kits have almost everything that you could need for proper installation. You can use your hair dryer to dry and strengthen the insulation. You can find all the instructions in the kit, making things quite easier.

Vinyl Sheeting

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If you are a more experienced DIYer, you can save a little by working with vinyl sheeting. Buy a roll of either cloudy vinyl sheeting or clear vinyl sheeting. This option seems better to me because vinyl sheeting is reusable, especially the clear vinyl sheeting. Make sure to get some extras like a heavy-duty staple gun, staples and rolls of duct tape.

Quilted Bedspreads

This is one of my favorite methods to insulate windows for the winters. It doesn't fall in the category of "pro" approach, but it is effective. This is how I used to do it when I lived in the northeast. I would measure all the windows and jot it down. The objective is to create shades that measure the same as the windows in terms of height and width.

Then, I would cut out the bedspread to the perfect size. Then I would add an inch of it on both the vertical sides for hems. 4 to 5 is added to the length to cover the bottom hem and the tension rod casing. Fold it under the edge and it will not loosen because it is quite bulky. I would do this on all the 4 sides while keeping the top casing open. If you want to let more light in, use a cord for tying up each side of the shades.

Bubble Wrapping
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Window insulation kits can be expensive and the bedspreads can be a little difficult to work with. Bubble wraps are cheap and fun to work with. Cut the wrap to fit the size of each window. Cover the entire window by applying the bubble wrap across it, ensuring that the flat side faces the window. Just spray water to apply it to the window surface. However, a more reliable method is to glue the wraps at the edges. If you can keep it neat and stretched, it will look like a glass block window, and trust me it can keep your room warmer. You can easily remove and reapply the wrap every year, saving a decent amount of money on both insulation and the utility bills.

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April 3, 2014  •  09:40 AM
Eliminating air infiltration is a BAD THING to do. Mike Holmes on his fix-it shows says that homes today are TOO TIGHT ...and he is RIGHT.

If air cannot get IN then air cannot get OUT...and that means the kitchen, bathroom and dryer exhaust fans cannot work efficiently.

I have had three customers tell me that their clothes dryers did not work as well in their new homes as it did in the previous home. Now clothes dryer do not get less efficient by being moved but if the new house is tighter, then the dryer cannot push out more air than comes in. I suggested opening the window closest to the dryer when the dryer was in use and got the complaint that the clothes were now coming out too dry.....sigh.

Even with expensive Heat Recovery Ventilators too many exhaust fans in use at the same time can exceed the HRV's capacity and none of the exhaust fans will work efficiently.

If your air-tight home has condensation on the windows then the problem of too much humidity is going to cause more health and expense problems than some fresh air coming into the home.

I firmly believe that caulking guns should be licensed ....not hand guns.

Research in cold, wintery Canada shows that between 15 and 25% of heat loss is thru the windows...and we have bigger heating bills here.

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