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DIY Steps for Addressing Your Drafty Window Issue

By January 14, 2020January 21st, 2020Apartment Living Hacks
Drafty Window

A drafty window is a catalyst to a costly experience – for your wallet and your quality of life. Not only can it be severely unpleasant in peak seasons, but it overworks your central heating and cooling system, causing energy bills to spike. 

While the ideal solution to fixing a drafty window would be to replace it with an energy-efficient one, that won’t always be an option – especially if you live in an apartment. Here are a few ways to manage a drafty window if you have this issue.

Consult Your Landlord

If you’re noticing a breeze or draft coming from one or more of your apartment windows, your first action should be to contact property management. Put in a request for maintenance to see if anything can be done. While it would be ideal to have the window replaced, that likely won’t be possible. So, here are a few DIY fixes that can help.

Insulate It

The next best option is to insulate the window in one of a few ways. This helps keep the warm air in and the cold air out, and vice versa – when applicable. Just remember, these methods work best when the window is clean first.

  • Window Film/Insulator Kits: Try an insulating barrier called window film. Convenient kits provide plastic shrink film that you hold to the indoor window frame using double-sided tape, then simply heat the film with a hair dryer to shrink it. That seals the window. Of course, this may not be the most visually attractive option, but it will make your electricity bill a lot easier to look at. Make sure this option doesn’t violate your lease before you attempt it. 
  • Removable Magnetic Window Insulation: Use insulating vinyl held by magnets. The good thing about this method is that it’s not permanent. You can use it when needed and just remove the magnets and vinyl as you wish. 
  • Bubble Wrap: Bubble wrap is a cost-effective way to insulate your leaky apartment windows. Start by cutting the bubble wrap to size, then spray water over the inside of your window. Hold the bubble side of the material to the wet window, seal the edges with tape, and heat it. While this is a decent DIY option, be aware that it could potentially pull off some paint when it’s removed.

Seal It 

You can try sealing up the window at its edges or wherever the air leak is taking place. Start with one of these options, after you’ve cleaned the window thoroughly.

  • Rope Caulk: Think of this as malleable putty that is lengthened into a long rope. Pull this rope caulk apart and suit it to the gaps and spaces in your windowsill and frame. Simply press the caulk into the edges of the window n the inside. You can also consider doing this on the outside for extra insulation, but be careful if you live in a unit that isn’t on the first floor. 
  • Weather Stripping: This is another effective way to tightly seal the frame and sill of your faulty window. Often made of foam or rubber, this material is attached to the closing edge of the window and works great in winterizing your apartment home. 
  • Draft Snake: Also called a draft blocker or dodger, this foam or fabric tubing can be cut and fit to the spot where your window is leaking air. Simply open the window once the tube has been cut to size and close the window onto the snake, sealing the draft tightly.

Cover It 

If you’re looking for a more decorative or inconspicuous method for curtailing the draft, consider one of these adaptable solutions.

  • Thermal Curtains: Thermal curtains are designed to keep in warm air during the winter and block the heat in the summer using a special lining. The drapery’s fabric also blocks out light and reduces noise, adding an extra layer of convenience to your daily apartment life. To fully insulate your drafty windows, make sure your curtains cover the glass, sill, and frame completely. 
  • Shades: Instead of your typical blinds, invest in more durable, effective window coverage such as honeycomb shades that trap air between fabric layers. Roman shades also can be used and act as an extra-thick barrier to the draft. Use these shades as a supplement to thermal curtains for full effectiveness. 
  • Indoor Storm Window Inserts: Stronger than shrink film, indoor window inserts are safer than glass and more affordable than replacing the whole window. A thin insert is pressed into place on the inside of a window frame, providing a tight seal. It takes on the look of a window, making it a nice option that stops the draft while being undercover. 

Keep the Conversation Open

As you’re dealing with your drafty windows, make sure to keep a line of communication open with property management about how you’re addressing the challenge. Some drafty windows cases will warrant a replacement, so it’s important to monitor and document fluctuations in your electricity bill and the condition of your windows. Just be sure to keep your landlord in the know about what you are doing. No unit is perfect, but it should be your ideal escape from the elements, no matter what they are.  

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