If you're dreading another winter living with bone-chilling drafts that make your home feel cold and uncomfortable, you probably don't have the most energy-efficient windows. Here's how to make your old windows more energy efficient in the winter, and when you should replace them.

How do I make my windows more energy efficient?

Inefficient windows not only make your house feel cold but also raise your heating bills in the winter because it takes more energy to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, inefficient windows use 25 to 30 percent more energy when it comes to heat loss and heat gain. Here's how to insulate old windows:

1. Caulk, specifically labeled for windows and doors, seals air leaks from window joints, cracks and gaps. Be sure to remove any old caulk first. Apply new caulk when the outdoor temperature is around 45 degrees, or it won't set properly. Caulks come in various colors, but you can also choose white that dries clear for an invisible finish.

2. Weatherstripping helps keep cold air from sneaking in by filling in the gaps. The most common varieties are adhesive-backed foam and tubular gaskets. Simply measure, cut and peel to stick between the window and the sash. Be sure your windows can still open and close with the weatherstripping in place. Adjust if necessary. Metal weatherstripping might be more attractive for older, metal windows.

3. Shrink-to-fit plastic window film allows you to enjoy the view from your window with an air-tight plastic seal to block cold air from coming in. Apply the adhesive around the trim, and then apply the film. A hairdryer shrinks and tightens the film to the window. After winter, peel off the plastic. The kits come in various sizes, so be sure to measure your windows before heading to the store.

4. Thermal drapes have come a long way and are available in beautiful colors and patterns to match your decor. Even better, when thermal curtains are properly installed close the window frame, sealing the top, sides and bottom of the window can reduce heat loss up to 25 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

5. Install insulated cellular shades, and you can reduce heat loss by an impressive 40 percent or more. While traditional blinds have more opening between the slats letting heat escape, cellular shades have a honeycomb shape that keeps toasty warm air inside and cold air out.

Signs It's Time to Replace Your Old Windows

When even the most energy-efficient window tips barely make a dent in keeping cold air out, it's time to replace them with high-efficiency windows, such as Infinity from Marvin fiberglass windows. In addition to cold drafts, there are other signs that your windows need to be replaced.

Here are five clear signs you need energy-efficient replacement windows soon:

  • You have outdated single-pane windows that offer very little protection against frigid temperatures compared to the replacement window ratings of today's best energy-efficient windows
  • You see frost or condensation in between the glass panes of your windows. Even if you have newer double-paned windows, there's no guarantee they are the most energy-efficient windows.
  • You have moisture between the panes on your double-paned windows.
  • You can't open, close or lock your windows.
  • Your window frame sills have mold, or the wood is soft to the touch and rotting.
  • You can hear everything from the outside almost as if your windows were actually open. Single pane glass offers very little in terms of noise reduction compared to new double- or triple-pane glass windows that are insulated with argon or krypton gas to reduce outdoor noise.
  • You can see gaps and feel drafts and have noticed a spike in your utility bills, especially during the winter.

Financial Benefits of Installing Energy-Efficient Replacement Windows

When you've decided you're fed up with dodging icy drafts from your windows and done with bundling up just to feel warm in your own home, it's time to get high-efficiency windows with great window replacement ratings. Here's why buying the best energy efficient windows pays off:

  • It's an investment that pays off year after year. Replacing old windows with the best energy-efficient windows is an investment that pays for itself year after year. Upgrading to Energy Star qualified models cuts energy costs, which can put an extra $71 to $501 per year back in your wallet, depending on the climate where you live and the type of window replacement.
  • You'll recoup investment dollars. According to the 2020 National Remodeling 2020 Cost vs Value Report, you'll likely recoup 72.3 percent of your investment when you install energy-efficient replacement windows made from vinyl and 68.9 percent when you install energy-efficient replacement windows made from wood.

When these normal tips and tricks aren't enough to keep out the extreme weather and replacement seems like the smart choice, choose fiberglass windows by Infinity from Marvin by North Georgia Replacement Windows, which are eight times stronger than vinyl and are great for energy efficiency. We recommend that you contact us today and let us handle your window needs.