How to Weatherproof Windows

Weatherstripping tape being added around the outside of a window.
What You'll Need
Window cleaner
Lint-free cloths
Window weatherstripping
Door weatherstripping
Weatherproofing window plastic
Utility knife
Hair dryer

Knowing how to weatherproof your windows can help keep your house comfortable and reduce expensive energy waste. Energy bills can get high easily in this day and age, so not letting your hot cold air inside escape from your windows is important. Fortunately, learning how to weatherproof windows is easy. Each window only takes a few minutes and a little bit of money to save you time and effort all through the winter.

Step 1 - Prepare Your Windows

Before you start to weatherproof, clean your windows thoroughly, both inside and out, with window cleaner and lint-free cloths. Inspect the wooden frames as well, and if there are signs of rot, replace them before the weather turns bad. Also, if there are cracks in the glass, you need to replace the entire pane. Perform this task for each and every window in your house. Although this can take time, it’s an excellent maintenance procedure that can save you large sums of money later.

Step 2 - Add Weatherstripping

The first big step in weatherproofing your windows is to place weatherstripping on them. Buy weatherstripping that is self-adhesive for easy installation. This will be fitted around the window seams to stop as much transfer between the inside and outside air as possible. Adding weatherstripping means you won’t be able to open your windows but it's unlikely you will be doing this if you have central heat and air anyway. So, once you have purchased a product of your choosing, go around your home and put it on every window, even in the basement. However, as good as weatherstripping is, it can only do a limited job. If you don’t have double pane windows, you’ll need to do more to weatherproof your window properly.

Tip: You should also buy door weatherstripping and apply it for a comprehensive job. A great deal of heat can be lost where the doors meet door frames.

Step 3 - Place Plastic Over Windows

Go to the hardware store and buy special weatherproofing window plastic. When properly installed, it acts like another pane of glass, keeping the air in and your family much more comfortable.

Cut a piece of plastic a little larger than the window and tape it to the frame. Then, plug in a hair dryer, turn it on to a high setting, and run the hot air against the plastic. The window plastic will shrink until it’s taut. Make sure it’s tight, all over the window, and that the tape is firm against the frame. Again, repeat this for every window in the house. If you have a large window in your front or back door, you should apply window plastic there as well.

These steps are something you will need to repeat every winter. You shouldn’t attempt to re-use your weatherstripping or window plastic; throw them away every spring when you unseal the house. This means you need to spend money every fall but this will be more than offset by the amount you’ll save on heating bills.