These days, winters are getting harsher and harsher, especially for homeowners in wet, snowy areas. Getting ready for winter isn’t just a matter of hanging a few blankets over the draftiest areas in your home. Even if you do the most to protect your home from drafts, moisture, and air leaks, there’s a chance that you’re just not doing enough to actually keep your home safe from those intrusive and damaging winter elements like snow, sleet, and frost. If you live in a place where the winters are long and hard, even the best double hung window replacements won’t help you escape the chill if you don’t take those extra steps to winterize. If you want to actually save on heating bills and don’t want to end up spending a ton of money on unnecessary insulation kits, here are a few ways you can winterize your home windows on the cheap.

Install a Cling Film Barrier

You wouldn’t think it, but one of your greatest and most effective weapons against the winter cold is probably sitting in one of your kitchen drawers right this instant. That’s right: Cling film or saran wrap might look rather flimsy, but if applied correctly, it can create a perfect seal to use to cover your drafty windows during the winter chill. All you have to do is tear off a large single piece, cover your window, affix the edges of the cling film to the frame with heavy tape, and use a blow dryer to shrink the film into place. You’ll be left with a sealed environment that keeps cold air in its place, and far away from the rest of your home. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can also purchase insulation film that simply sticks onto your storm windows to create the same effect.

Apply Caulking

For budget-conscious homeowners, caulking is a miracle solution that can fix almost any home improvement-related issue. When it comes to keeping your windows leak-free, it’s pretty much a home run every time. However, if you’re using caulking to fix major issues with your windows, such as cracks, warping, or rotting wood, it’s time to find a different solution. What caulking is great at doing is plugging up all the small gaps between your window frame windowsill. If you’re putting in old storm windows, make sure you scrape off old layers of caulking before you apply a fresh layer. It’s a good idea to apply some caulking on the outside of your home as well to make sure you block as many different air passages as possible.

Get Creative with Insulation

Whether you use insulation film, cling film, or rubber seals to insulate your window, don’t do all that work on the exterior only to leave your window’s interior totally unprotected. If you have fresh foam insulation in your walls, you’ll already be living in a less leak-prone environment. However, if your insulation hasn’t been updated in a while, you might need a bit more help from the outside. Using heavy, dark-colored drapes can help prevent cold air from filtering through your window’s more vulnerable areas. You can even find special shades that help insulate your home without blocking your view, and drain snakes, which help create a more sealed, weatherproof environment.

Use Draft Guards on Larger Windows and Doors

If you have an older home, you’re probably dealing with more cracks and gaps that you know how to deal with. Luckily, rubber weather seals and draft guards are among the less expensive options that also happen to be very easy to use. Draft guards simply slip onto the bottom of your door to prevent cold air from sneaking in at all hours. Rubber seals can be applied easily to the bottoms of doors, windows, and any other leak-prone surfaces you have in your home. While they’re not exactly a permanent fix to the problem of a leaky, drafty home, they’ll certainly do in a pinch.

Install Double Pane Storm Windows and Homemade Window Wells

When you’re getting your home ready for winter, you can’t skimp out on your windows. If your storm windows aren’t at least double paned, they’re going to end up causing you to spend more money on heating than you’d like. Even if you’re working with an older set of double pane windows, you’ll still be getting a lot more insulation out of them than a brand new set of single pane windows that don’t come with a compressed insulation panel. Once you have your storm windows installed and sealed, check to make sure your basement windows aren’t going to be a source of leaks and moisture drips. You can purchase window wells to help insulate smaller basement windows, or create your own from thick pieces of plastic.



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