Affordable Solutions for a Drafty Window

Wed Jun 12 2019

If you’re flipping an older house that doesn’t have the latest energy efficient technologies in it, anywhere from 10% to 30% of the heat in any given room could be going out through old windows. Unfortunately, that can really add up and cost your homebuyer on their energy bill.

Savvy buyers are typically looking for energy-efficient upgrades and features. Even if they’re not, pointing out any upgrades you’ve made, such as the methods used to fix drafty windows, justify a higher price point for the property or may help to sell it faster.

Wondering how to fix a drafty window? If your budget doesn’t allow for window replacements, there are affordable ways to fix or improve windows. Check out these five inexpensive ways to fix drafty windows in an older home.

1. Insulating Shrink Film

You can buy an inexpensive plastic shrink film to insulate windows. You should be able to find it at most hardware stores for less than $20, along with tape to hold it in place during installation.

Once you tape it to each window, blast it with a hair dryer to shrink it until it sticks to the glass permanently. There are several major brands of plastic window film available, so you might want to test a few types to find out what works best for you.

2. Draft Stoppers

When home flippers are wondering how to fix drafty windows, they often overlook a low-budget, low-labor way: making or buying draft stoppers. This is a fabric tube filled with a material such as rice. You can press one against the bottom of a window where it meets the windowsill to greatly reduce a draft.

You can make your own draft stoppers or find manufactured ones for around $10. They may not seem like a permanent fix, but some homeowners like the flexibility of moving them as needed in different weather conditions or seasons.

3. Foam Insulation Board

You can insulate windows with pieces of foam insulation board, especially if you have some drafty windows in areas you don’t need to see out of, such as attics or basements. Panels of insulation board are available for $10 to $20 at most hardware stores.

Cut a piece of insulation board so it’ll fit just inside of the frame of the window. If you prefer, you can also glue it to a piece of drywall first. Slide the board into the window to greatly lower the exchange of heat. The new homeowners can slide each piece of insulation back out if they ever want to do something different with that window.

4. Glass Replacements

If you’re wondering how to fix drafty vinyl windows, the problem might be that the seal around the insulated window has broken in some way, which can cause condensation to form between the panes of glass. That means that the insulating gas between the panes has escaped, and regular air and moisture have gotten in, which can reduce the insulating ability of that window by about 50%.

How do you seal a window? If the window has a warranty and is defective, you might be able to get a replacement window. Otherwise, check if it’s possible to take the window frame apart, possibly by taking out some screws from the pieces of the frame itself. Then, you can replace just the double-paned glass and seal, either yourself or by hiring professionals. Replacing only the glass often costs less than getting a whole new window.

5. Window Shades or Blinds

You can insulate drafty windows by using modern window treatments, such as shades or blinds. There are amazing new designs to choose from, including some that are split into many separate cells that hold heat-insulating air, although keep in mind that these also block out sunlight.

If you mount window shades, fit them snugly inside the window casing if you can, about half an inch from the window. Or you can mount them outside of the window casing, as long as you can completely cover the casing. If you combine window shades with curtains and sheers, you can cut energy loss from drafts by around 25%.

Your house flipping education is just starting with these tips from our blog. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of house flipping when you sign up for a Real Estate Elevated event in a city near you.

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