When Window Replacement Is Not in the Budget
Maybe you’ve been wishing for years that you could replace your energy-draining single pane windows, but the money just hasn’t been in the budget. There are some less expensive steps you can take to reduce the energy loss.
The Department of Energy has compiled a list of tips for home owners with single pane windows. For cold climates, they recommend:
You can frame a heavy-duty clear plastic sheet and attach it to the inside of your windows. Or you can tape the plastic to the window frame. The plastic should be sealed tightly to prevent cold air from getting past the plastic.
You can mount tight-fitting insulated window shades. Some types will even have a sealing system such as snaps or magnets to hold the drape tight against the frame.
Close your shades at night. In the daytime, leave them closed if the windows are in the shade and it is cold outside. If the sun is on the windows, open the shades to take advantage of the solar gain. Keep the windows clean to let more sun come through.
Install storm windows, which will be cheaper than a full window replacement (How much does it cost to replace windows?)
In warm weather, the Energy Department recommends:
- Use white window shades and blinds to reflect sun and heat.
- Close the curtains on the hot (south and west) side of the house during the day.
- Install awnings on the south and west sides of the house to block sunlight during the heat of the day.
Apply a sun-reflecting film to the south-side windows to reduce heating from the sun (solar gain).
Of course, if you crunched the numbers, you might discover that replacing your single pane windows several years ago would have paid for itself by now. Maybe low-e double-glazed windows will make next year’s budget.