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How to Make Old Windows More Energy Efficient

By NOPEC on February 27, 2020

When thinking about making your home more energy-efficient, it can be easy to forget about your windows. In fact, windows are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of residential energy heat loss and heat gain. That can add up to lots of wasted money in energy bills, not to mention uncomfortable winter drafts or hot summer sun blazing through to fade your furniture.

If you have old windows installed in your home, there’s a good chance they’re not energy efficient. But knowing that new windows can cost up to $700 per window, it can be very expensive to get
replacement windows vs. making your old windows more energy efficient. So here are some tips on how to keep your old windows, but make them more energy-efficient to save you money:

Check for Leaks and Seal Gaps

The first step in making sure your old windows are losing energy is to check for leaks and drafts. Here is a simple test from the Department of Energy you can conduct in your home quickly and easily. If you’ve determined there is a significant window leak issue, there are some DIY ways to make your old windows more energy efficient.

Caulking and weatherstripping are some of the least expensive and simplest things you can do to increase the energy efficiency of old windows. If you’re not familiar with proper weatherstripping
techniques, check out this video for great weatherstripping tips to make old windows more energy efficient.

Update Window Coverings

Another DIY way to update your old, energy-wasting windows is by taking a good look at your current window coverings. Often, window coverings haven’t been changed in many years. However, there are constantly new and innovative window coverings on the market that can help make your old windows more energy efficient.

Choosing blackout curtains is one way to increase the energy efficiency of your windows. For even greater energy savings, try a cellular shade. These shades trap drafty air inside honeycomb pockets
so your room keeps more of its insulated air. There are even smart blinds that you can control on timers and via WIFI (no matter where you are). Some smart blinds even allow you to set schedules
based on time of day and weather patterns so you can optimize your energy efficiency.

Try Inserts

Window inserts are a great way to get extra energy efficiency from your old windows. They’re simply acrylic inserts that fit inside your existing windows. Window inserts are especially useful to make old windows more energy efficient when it’s important to preserve the historical significance and architectural appearance of your old windows.

Although they’ve been around for a long time, there is a misconception that window inserts are hard to install or they won’t change the energy efficiency of your old windows. However, there have been many improvements to window inserts over the years. Installing them can increase the R-value (the resistance of heat flow) of old windows, in some cases even doubling it. And with snap fittings and magnetic strips, many window inserts are now easier than ever to install.

Call a Professional

If you’re in doubt about how to get the most energy efficiency out of your old windows, it may be time to call a professional. Keep in mind, however, that many window companies only want to sell you replacement windows, plain and simple. Be upfront if this is not a consideration for you.

There are many ways a professional can help to increase the energy efficiency of your old windows without replacement. New window frames, sashes, tracks or gaskets can do a lot to improve energy waste from old windows. And even if you call a professional, you may even be surprised at how much less expensive these improvements can be when compared to the cost of replacement windows.

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