4 DIY tips for better insulated windows

Well insulated windows can reduce solar gain in summer and reduce heat loss in winter, saving on both heating and AC bills. Here are a few

simple do-at-home tips that can cut your electricity and heating bills.

insulated windows

1)      Check and fill leaks

A professional depressurization test is the most effective way of identifying all the leaks in your home, but you can do a fairly good job yourself. As soon as you can after buying a house or apartment turn off your heating on a cold, windy day. You then need to close all your doors and windows and turn on your extractor fans and other ventilation to depressurize your apartment or house. Now light some incense and hold it near windows and doors – if the smoke doesn’t travel vertically you’ve found a leak. Depending on the size and location of the leak, you can fill it with silicone, expanding foam or weather strip. Ask at your hardware store for advice on materials and installation.

 2)      Shade your windows in summer, but not in winter

A retractable awning can significantly reduce solar gain. Usually made of hardwearing materials like acrylic or polyvinyl which will last for years, a tightly-woven shade will give the best solar blocking, and a light colored shade will reflect the most heat. Retract the awning in the colder months to benefit from the sun’s warmth.

 3)      Use thermal shutters or interior storm panels in winter

Single-layers of traditional glass are very efficient conductors of heat, which is bad news for you if you’re trying to stay warm. Decorated foam insulation board makes an attractive “pop-in” solution for preventing heat loss through glass. You don’t need to cover the whole of your window to experience some benefit, but remember to remove the shutters on sunnier days so you get the maximum benefit from solar heat gain.  Magnetic or Velcro storm panel kits are also available in hardware stores. These provide a “secondary glazing” layer for your windows and can cut heat loss by up to 50%.

 4)      Fit dual-purpose window treatments

Window treatments with reflective linings can really cut down on solar gain in summer. Even if your blinds or curtains are lined with a tightly-woven, light-colored fabric this can really reduce the amount of heat entering through the windows. Honeycomb blinds, where each “slat” is actually an open tube of material, make excellent insulators, both to keep heat in in winter and out in summer, but ensure that they’re fitted snuggly to the edges of the window recess in order to cut down drafts.

Insulating your windows can cut energy bills and increase your comfort levels all year round.