- 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

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

A Tax Guide for Solopreneurs: Self-Employed Tax Tips

Flying solo can be the ultimate business adventure. When you run your own business and you're the only employee, you truly hold all the cards and earn the freedom to achieve your ideal work-life balance. Working for yourself also brings tax advantages not available to those who work for others. It's important to understand the tax rules that apply to the self-employed to profit the most from these.

Can I Claim Medical Expenses on My Taxes?

Medical expenses can take a bite out of your budget, especially if you have unforeseen emergencies that are not fully covered by your insurance. The Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers some relief, making some of these expenses partly tax-deductible. To take advantage of this tax deduction, you need to know what counts as a medical expense and how to claim the deduction.

What Is a 1099-G Tax Form?

The most common use of the 1099-G is to report unemployment compensation as well as any state or local income tax refunds you received that year.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum