Window Air Leaks

Window Air LeaksNothing ruins my morning more than waking up 5 minutes before necessary because it’s too hot or too cold in my bedroom. Thank goodness I finally figured out why this keeps happening.

Between 15 to 35 percent of heat loss experienced during winter is credited to poorly insulated windows. In the same way, the sun penetrates windows in summer causing the temperature in the house to increase. When it gets too hot in the house what happens? The air conditioner gets turned up, leading to more cooling loss and wasted energy.

There are many ways to protect your home from window air leaks – year round.

Double Pane Windows
Double pane windows are composed of two glass panels. The panels are placed in a frame and separated by a ½ inch to ¾ inch space, which is then filled with a nontoxic gas or air (nowadays argon). These windows provide reasonable insulation, noise reduction, and with some windows protection for household items from damage caused by the sun – only if the inside pane is coated with a special UV blocking film.

Double paned windows cost a few hundreds of dollars for installation, but the payback is quicker.  Typically, as a general rule of thumb, replacement windows cost about $500-$1000 per window installed, but this all depends on the size, style, construction, brand, and labor cost of your installer.


The good news is that you will realize two types of important savings from your investment – one point for the environment, one point for you.

New windows will save anywhere from 80-1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide and $70-$400 in energy cost every year.  Every Year!  The exact amount of emissions saved and money saved really depends on your region’s climate, the weather, and the condition of the windows being replaced. But use these ranges are a reasonable rule of thumb.  You’ll drive yourself nuts trying to calculate it.  Rest assured, given a comparable season next years, you’ll see your utility bills drop and you’ll feel better in your house.  Speaking from personal experience….

Plastic Storm Windows Kit
If the double paned windows are too rich for your budget, plastic storm windows are another suitable option.  Go to your local hardware store and buy a kit.  The tape should be placed around all four sides of the window frame, and the film stuck to the tape, covering the entire window. The kits include a large plastic film sheet and a double sided adhesive. Plastic window kits cost as little as $7.   I did this to a few backyard windows and could feel the difference.  The film lasted for a few years untouched.

Here are 3 window plastic sheeting sealing kits that are popular on today’s market.

Rope Caulk
Rope caulk is another cost effective window insulation tool. The caulk is similar to putty and is installed by simply pressing it around the window. This is one of the best solutions for renters.

Bubble Wrap
By far the cheapest way to insulate your windows is with bubble wrap. While this may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the double pane windows, it definitely gets the job done. Some homeowners tell us just tape it to the top and cut off any extra bubble wrap at the bottom, or tuck it in at both ends. It may not aesthetically pleasing look, but not bad for as a free insulator. It you can do this is a seldom viewed window or a window with a shade or curtain, all the better. Plus, it is nice to know that bubble wrap, that bulking discard isn’t just for my popping amusement!

Other related Green Blizzard articles on home energy efficiency: Energy Efficient Windows, Water Conservation Around The House, and Gift Ideas For A Green Handyman.


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About the author

Danielle Jappah

Danielle brings a touch of southern US charm to our writing team.Since points of view on climate change vary depending on resources, economies, and political viewpoints of the region, we wanted a southerner to expand our point of view. The U.S. South has its own unique POV on climate change and Danielle writes from her office in Atlanta inspiring southern naysayers to wake up and recognize what happening everywhere.

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