Though everyone loves a big picturesque window and the natural light they bring to interiors, come fall and winter we’re reminded of how much heat we lose through them. Here in Toronto, cold, snowy winters are just a part of life, but you can take the edge off and keep your heat bills down by choosing the best window treatment for cold weather, or by using a combination of these window weatherizing tips:
Rubber Window Sealing Strips
If you’re not that good with a silicon caulk gun, then you can buy strips of self-adhesive rubber or weatherstripping foam made specifically for weather sealing.
These strips are made to be put in yourself, though the simplicity of instructions will depend on the exact type. The most basic strips involve cutting the strips to fit your window dimensions, and then sticking them around the frame to cover and close any draft-causing gaps. These are commonly sold on hardware stores and can be found online.
Pros: Cheap and effective
Cons: Most likely will need to be redone each year
Heavy, or layered drapes are an effective way of keeping drafts from penetrating inside. The great thing about this option is you can work with your existing curtains (if you have them) by adding a thick lining and layering them. Some heavy fabrics include velvet, flannel, tightly woven cotton, or silk blends.
A big advantage of these option is they can be motorized, making them fit into the home automation trend. Heavy drapery can be a pain to open and close throughout the day, but having them motorized makes it as simple as pressing a button.
Because heavy or layered drapes block out sunlight when closed, they might not be the best option for winter when you want all the natural lighting you can get.
Pros: Attractive, versatile, and motor compatible makes them easy to use throughout the day
Cons: Blocks out sunlight
This film (also referred to as Window Insulation Film) is a thin, transparent plastic shrink film. The film is non adhesive, but stays stuck to windows after dampening the surface and applying even pressure, (think how a protective film sticks to phone screens). Peeling the film off is just as easy, and leaves no sticky residue.
This option works by using nanoparticles embedded in the film to absorb solar energy, and keeps warmth trapped inside. Depending on what brand or kind of window film you get, you may experience more of a mirror effect or glare, but some brands have managed to create a truly transparent appearance.
An energy film will make your rooms heat up faster and retain warmth longer, meaning a cozy interior and lower heating bills for you.
Pros: Can be installed yourself, easy to remove
Cons: Some films cause a glare or cloudy appearance on windows. May not fit all window sizes
Cellular shades (also known as honeycomb shades) are designed to to provide thermal protection in the form of lightweight, and modern looking window coverings. Their cellular design makes them a perfect window treatment for cold weather. These shades contain pockets of trapped air that create a barrier of insulation between the temperature of the room and window. For even greater insulation, you can choose the double-cell design made for harsh winters.
One of the benefits of these shades is that they can be made with varying transparencies, so you get privacy and the insulating effect without having to sacrifice natural light. Cellular shades can be custom-made to fit any window dimension, and come in limitless colors.
Pro: Lasts for years, can be used year round, attractive in appearance, an investment
Con: One of the pricier options
Add Storm Windows or an Additional Pane
If you live in an older home, you may still have single-paned windows, which are known to collect condensation in cold weather and release lot of indoor heat. If you can’t replace all your windows but want to improve them, adding a second acrylic pane is a manageable DIY project, or one you can have done for you at a much lower price than installing new windows.
If you have double-hung and slider windows that have the screens on the outside of the house, it’s a good idea to replace the screens with with storm window panes during winter. This additional pane of glass creates a pocket of air between the panes of glass improves warmth and insulation by increases solar heat gain.
Pros: Cost effective, screens can be put back in place in spring
Cons: Removing screens and replacing with storm windows makes windows unusable during winter.
By using one, or a combination of these window weatherizing tips, you’ll be ready to face even the coldest Toronto winters! If you’re interested in window treatments for cold weather, contact us and we’ll fill you in on the best designs for energy efficiency, and how to get the most out of them.