How to Prepare Your Windows and Doors for Winter

It seems that winter is barreling toward us once again! Cold air, harsh winds and icy storms are all on the horizon. It’s up to you to make sure your windows and doors can take the hit. You can do this a number of ways, from simple weatherstripping to full replacement. Keep reading to learn which method is best for your needs. 

Identify any Leaks

Before you jump into any home improvements, why don’t you make sure your windows and doors even warrant any of your time and hard work. You can do this with a few simple tests.

For your doors, first try the light test, it’s as simple as they come. Take a peek under your door. If you can see outside light coming through, you’ll definitely need to seal it up. However, even if you don’t see any light you’re not out of the woods just yet.

Next try the dollar bill test. Close a dollar bill between the jamb and the side of the door and try to pull it out. If it slides around easily or completely comes out, you’re going to want to seal them up, or completely replace them if possible. If you find the dollar bill is stuck or difficult to remove, you likely don’t need to worry about sealing up your doors. 

If your windows and doors already have some weatherstripping installed, then you’ll want to check in on it and see how it’s holding up. If it’s been a few years since you last replaced it, go ahead and assume it’s time to do it again. However, even if your existing weatherstripping isn’t too old, it might still need freshening up. If you see any signs of it being cracked, distorted, or falling off the frame, it’s time to get to work.

For identifying leaks in your windows try the wet-hand test. You can do this by simply wetting your hand with water and then running it along the perimeter of your windows. Much like quizzically licking your finger and pointing it to the sky to check for wind direction, the moisture on your hand will quickly help you identify any leaks. 

Weatherstrip Your Windows & Doors

Okay, you’ve found some leaks in your windows, now what? You can start by heading to your local hardware store for a weatherstripping kit. In your kit, you’ll find something called “v-channel.” This is the main ingredient in your weatherstripping cocktail. V-channel is perhaps the most common way of sealing windows, and the weatherstripping method that we suggest. It is a type of plastic that folds up into a v-shape to block air, while simultaneously being flexible enough to allow regular use of any window or door. 

Once you’ve followed all the instructions in your kit and weatherstripped your windows, you’ll want to make sure it was a success. Remember those tests you did to identify any leaks in your windows and doors? It’s time to bust them out again. As long as they pass those tests, you can feel confident your windows and doors are prepared for the cold season ahead. To prep your home for more than just a single season, consider replacing your windows and doors entirely. More on that below.

Insulate Your Windows & Doors

If you have some leaks in your windows and doors, one option you have is to insulate them. You can start this process by purchasing a window insulation kit, door sweeps, and some thermal curtains. You’ll be able to find all three of these things at any big name hardware store. Just make sure you grab enough door sweeps for each of your exterior doors. 

Even if you’ve weatherstripped your windows, you might still want to take the extra step of insulating them. All you have to do is stick the window insulation film you just purchased to the frame of your window, and then heat the film with a hair dryer to ensure a secure fit. That’s all she wrote, folks. You have now successfully insulated your windows!

Door sweeps are a low-investment way of insulating your doors in particular. They also happen to be very easy to install! There are a few different types of door sweeps, and you’ll want to choose them based on the material of the doors in question. If you have a wooden door, it will benefit you most to grab a metal strip door sweep sported with either a felt, rubber, or brush seal attached to the strip. This type of door sweep is screwed right into the bottom of the door. For an aluminum door you’ll have to grab a u-shaped door sweep, these are even easier to install than the latter. Simply slide the sweep under, making sure the groove lines up with the bottom of the door.

Replace Your Windows & Doors

Weatherstripping and insulation are just a few of the many ways you can prepare your home this winter. For an extremely efficient, long lasting option, you’ll want to completely replace your windows and doors with Castle Windows Energy Star certified products.The Department of Energy estimates that outdated windows and doors could be responsible for 25%-30% of hearing and cooling costs. You’ll save money in the long run, by investing in your exterior finishes now. 

While the methods mentioned throughout this article can help you in a pinch, if your windows and doors are leaking any air you’ll definitely need to replace them as soon as possible. The best part about choosing Castle for your window and door replacement needs, is our lifetime warranty! If any of these problems arise on your Castle products, we’ll service them for free for a lifetime!

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Get a Free Quote

To receive a free estimate for new windows, doors, and/or siding for your home, please fill out the form below. We’ll get back to you with a quote soon!

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