- Days left

Fast fixes for drafty windows

October is Energy Awareness Month and if you are like most, you're about to get pretty "aware" of just how un-energy inefficient your home may be. As temperatures start to drop and heating systems kick on, receiving that first heating bill is likely to grab your attention pretty quick.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical home loses more than 25% of its heat through windows. So, here are a few drafty window fix tips to lock down energy loss from leaky windows before that first big bill show's up:

Test your windows
The first step towards sealing out drafty, inefficient windows is to figure out where the problems lie. Look for condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows. This could indicate seal failure. If this is the case, you might need to replace the glass or the entire window.


Examine your windows and check for hot and cold spots or drafty areas inside your home near your windows. According to experts at Simonton Windows, you can also check to see if there are any "burnt out" areas on your carpets and furnishings where harmful ultraviolet rays have damaged the interior of your home. This is an indication that windows need to be replaced.

Here's another trick, have someone stand outside your window. With a small flashlight, stand inside and "travel" around the window's perimeter. If the person outside sees areas of light coming through, this is an indication of seal failure -- and probably energy loss.

Easy fixes first
There are a few easy things you can do to reduce your energy loss short of window replacement. Seal up any little cracks or gaps where air can leak into your home. In some case the average home has enough of these small holes to equal one three-foot by three-foot opening.

Check every window and door to make sure there is adequate weather-stripping and caulking which will ensure a secure seal around the openings in your home.

During the winter, open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight in to naturally heat your home. Close curtains a night to reduce the chill you may feel near cold windows.

Windows that save money
If you decide to make improvements, be sure to choose ENERGY STAR® labeled products for your home that can cut your energy bills by up to 30%. Energy Star qualified replacement windows that have an insulating glass unit with Argon gas (a harmless, odorless gas) sealed inside the unit to help reduce the transfer of heat and cold.

There's also never been a better time to replace your windows. Homeowners replacing their windows with energy-efficient windows in 2009 or 2010 can receive up to $1,500 replacement window tax credit from the U.S. government.

Windows installed must meet a U-factor rating of 0.30 or less, and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30 or less to qualify for the tax credit. For more details on replacing your windows, download Your Complete Window Replacement Guide, a free bonus chapter from my book, "My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure."

Tom Kraeutler is the AOL'S Home Improvement Editor and co-author of "My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure." He delivers home remodeling tips each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Basics Of The Stock Market

Stock Market 101 - everything you need to know but were afraid to ask!

View Course »

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

What is IRS Form 8824: Like-Kind Exchange

Ordinarily, when you sell something for more than what you paid to get it, you have a capital gain; when you sell it for less than what you paid, you have a capital loss. Both can affect your taxes. But if you immediately buy a similar property to replace the one you sold, the tax code calls that a "like-kind exchange," and it lets you delay some or all of the tax effects. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Form 8824 for like-kind exchanges.

What are ABLE Accounts? Tax Benefits Explained

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts allow the families of disabled young people to set aside money for their care in a way that earns special tax benefits. ABLE accounts work much like the so-called 529 accounts that families can use to save money for education; in fact, an ABLE account is really a special kind of 529.

What is IRS Form 8829: Expenses for Business Use of Your Home

One of the many benefits of working at home is that you can deduct legitimate expenses from your taxes. The downside is that since home office tax deductions are so easily abused, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tends to scrutinize them more closely than other parts of your tax return. However, if you are able to substantiate your home office deductions, you shouldn't be afraid to claim them. IRS Form 8829 helps you determine what you can and cannot claim.

What is IRS Form 8859: Carryforward of D.C. First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Form 8859 is a tax form that will never be used by the majority of taxpayers. However, if you live in the District of Columbia (D.C.), it could be the key to saving thousands of dollars on your taxes. While many first-time home purchasers in D.C. are entitled to a federal tax credit, Form 8859 calculates the amount of carry-forward credit you can use in future years, not the amount of your initial tax credit.

What is IRS Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the power to seize income tax refunds when a taxpayer owes certain debts, such as unpaid taxes or overdue child support. Sometimes, a married couple's joint tax refund will be seized because of a debt for which only one spouse is responsible. When that happens, the other spouse is said to be "injured" and can file Form 8379 to get at least some of the refund.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum