Homes Drafty Windows

This undated photo provided by Chris Fullan, who owns Forever Hung Windows in Philadelphia, shows a window restoration on an 1871 building in Hulmeville, Pa. It currently is being restored to serve as commercial space that includes a coffee shop and gym. There are plenty of reasons to fix or replace windows, but wintry temperatures push many homeowners to get the job done. Besides the discomfort they cause, drafty windows can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bill over the course of a winter. (Chris Fullan via AP)

There are plenty of reasons to fix or replace windows, but wintry temperatures push many homeowners to get the job done.

Besides the discomfort they cause, drafty windows can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bill over the course of a winter.

“A great test is to hold a lighted match, or even better a stick of old-fashioned incense, near the window and watch the flame,” said Danny Lipford, a home improvement expert and host of the syndicated TV and radio show Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. “If it flickers, then you know your window does not have a tight seal and is allowing cold air to creep in.”

You have a few options for fixing those drafty windows.

Some are inexpensive, easy steps that any homeowner can do to improve the efficiency of windows, Lipford said. For instance, there are roll-on window insulation kits that include durable plastic sheets that attach to window casings and create a barrier of trapped air. These products, which cost about $5 to $7 per window, keep out drafts. An added benefit is that you can remove them at the end of the season.

Another option is sealing cracks or crevices with latex caulking, which will handle the window’s expansion and contraction with changing temperatures. If you have larger cracks, you may need to opt for expandable foam.

If you enlist a contractor, get two to three estimates, said Steve Walowitz, owner of Nu-Concepts, a window repair and reconstruction business in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook.

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