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10 Solutions to Fix Your Drafty Windows

It’s winter, it’s cold, and we can’t stop making hot cocoa and covering ourselves in our favorite blanket. It’s not that we didn’t expect to deal with cold temperatures, but truth be told, for most of us, every winter feels like the first one. And do you know what makes it even worse?

Having to deal with drafty windows. If you’re sick of dealing with cold air and you’ve finally decided to do something to pay less for your energy costs, now’s the time to do so. Some of these fixes are under $10, and they will definitely keep you warm at night.

shutters, sound, historical expensive home window
Photo by Gordine N from

Stay warm and save money.

If drafts got you down as soon as the outside temperatures started plummeting, we got you covered. We’re all familiar with the fact that leaky windows could make the inside of your home feel downright frosty.

When this happens, your hard-earned heating dollars fly right out the window. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing drafts in your home could result in energy savings somewhere between 5 and 30 percent per year and also keep your family snug and cozy.

There are multiple ways to cut your heating bill, and they all vary from simple weather stripping to window replacement. That’s why we thought it might be helpful to make a list of solutions that could fix your drafty windows in a way that would suit any type of budget plan.

Identify the problem areas.

To fix drafty windows, you need to identify where the drafts are coming from. If you can feel any kind of breeze or chill as you pass one of your windows, you probably have some sealing to do. Also, if your window glass is fogged or there’s any kind of condensation inside the glass between the panes, then it likely means that one of your window seals is compromised and the window isn’t insulating exactly as it should.

Visible damage to interior or even exterior weather stripping is definitely another indication that frigid air might be getting in. If you’re not sure exactly which window is the source of the draft, there’s one way in which you could pinpoint the source.

Try to move the flame of a lit match or candle very slowly around the window frame. If you notice the flame bending or flickering at any point, use a small Post-it to mark that spot. As soon as you identify the problem area, come back and seal the cracks in the frame with weather-sealing tape.

Dodge drafts with snakes

If you haven’t heard of this one yet, it’s worth mentioning that the bean bag sock snake is probably one of the most efficient ways to fix drafts. As a general rule, it is used on doors. This particular draft stopper from Home Intuition works very well with windows, but also by blocking cold air creeping in through the crack between the stash and the sill.

This model is sized to fit windows 36 inches long. With its 4-inch-thick fleece material and polyester fill, this draft snake is a wonderful barrier against Old Man Winter. Hanging loops are also a very nice touch, which makes it easier to store the draft stopper when it’s not in use.

Window dressing

They might be a strain on the budget, that’s true, but storm windows are definitely the most effective way to completely put an end to drafts. Aluminum storm windows generally mount to the outside of the window casing, providing an additional insulating pane of glass that efficiently prevents cold air from seeping into the home.

Adding storm windows to your existing windows might cost a lot more than other solutions, and they are also more cumbersome to install than other things, like weatherstripping and even storm tape. The positive side is that they can also save you up to 30% on heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Modern shrinky dinks

Most home improvement stores will stock plastic shrink-film insulation kits. Like any other product of its kind, the 3M Indoor Window Insulator Kit also includes everything you need to apply insulating film to as many as five standard windows.

Moreover, double-sided tape holds the film in place until the very last step in the quick and easy installation process, especially when you use a hair dryer to shrink the film and achieve that desired airtight seal.

Mind the gaps.

One of the most efficient DIY solutions to drafty windows and doors is simply to repair, replace, and add weatherstripping. Duck Brand Heavy-Duty Self-Adhesive Weatherstrip Seal works like a charm, has an extremely reasonable price, and it comes in a variety of sizes.

Even more, it has a rubber construction that provides excellent draft protection. With that being said, there are many other alternative types of weatherstripping that you might want to consider, including felt weatherstripping, which is sold in rolls, V-seal weatherstripping (sold in both plastic and spring-metal versions), and expanding spray foam weatherstripping, which is sold in aerosol cans.

add curb appeal to your home window
Photo by Cvandyke from

Caulk those cracks.

Window caulking serves as a first line of defense against cold air. Unfortunately, caulk degrades as time goes by, so small cracks are inevitably developing alongside small gaps, which allow the cold air to get in. For this very reason, it might be a good idea to inspect the caulk around your window frames quite often and also check for any signs of failure.

Inexpensive, user-friendly rope caulk is a wonderful solution for repairing small cracks and gaps in window caulking, and it also requires only your fingers to install. Larger openings in your caulk, however, might need the complete removal and replacement of the original, no-longer-viable caulk. Frost King’s rope cord, which was our Best Bang for the Buck pick when it comes to the best exterior caulks, is definitely our go-to choice.

Draft-stopping decor

Well, seasonally swapping out your lightweight curtains for some heavier, insulation-boosting treatments could also keep cold drafts at bay. All these thermal curtains from Deconovo are a top pick on the list of top-notch thermal curtains.

Personally, I like the fact that they use three layers of fabric to provide insulation over the window (especially when the curtains are closed), which definitely helps cut the energy bills. Besides, your decor gets an upgrade, too.

Fantastic plastic

Well, we could always rely on a temporary solution, so if you need a quick fix right away, you might want to consider using bubble wrap to seal the window. Bubble wrap is sold by the roll, so you will always have something on hand if you need it.

All you have to do is cut it to size and use double-sided tape to keep the plastic in place. Also, standard bubble wrap is 24 inches wide and covers around 350 square feet of window. You can also try using an insulating, reflective wrap, which comes in a 2-foot wide, 10-foot long roll and features a foil side that also reflects heat.

Paint cracks closed

Cracked window panes can easily allow cold air in and warm air out of your home, which will definitely take a toll on your energy bill. You should prioritize replacing that cracked pane, but if you don’t have the needed funds on hand, here’s a short-term fix that you can hold onto until payday: Clear nail polish, like this one, can easily seal cracks in glass and prevent the window from cracking even further.

If you found this article useful, we also recommend reading: 12 Cost-Effective Drywall Alternatives That Will Last Longer


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