How To Make Your Existing Windows Energy Efficient

Are your heating and cooling bills getting a little too hot to handle? Maybe brand new energy efficient windows aren’t in the budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to help your current windows. Being energy efficient not only means a lower bill but also saving energy and doing a little to be “green”. So what can you do?

If your house was built in the last few years, odds are you already have energy efficient windows. If however, your house was built some time ago, it probably doesn’t.  So with a little creativity and a few bucks, you can make your windows up to standard in no time.

Clean First

Whatever method you choose, your windows should be clean and free from debris before you set to work. Wipe away any dirt and vacuum out the cracks and crevices. Clean the windows and surrounding area. To be even greener, use vinegar (the mother of all cleaners) and a newspaper to get a wonderful chemical-free streak-free shine.


This is one that most people don’t think about. By simply hanging curtains, you can really change how much heat is lost or taken in. Choose curtains that hang below the window and keep them drawn whenever you are not in the room or don’t want the sun in your eyes. By keeping them drawn, heat is kept in during the winter and out during the summer.

Calking Gaps

Locate any gaps around your windows. One clever way suggested by the U.S. Department of Energy to locate these pesky gaps is to use a lit incense stick or candle to detect air drafts coming in. Another method to see if the window is closing tightly is to shut the window on a piece of paper, then yank it away. If it tears, the window is not closing tightly. You’ll need to caulk the gaps and cracks. That didn’t even sound like a real sentence. Anyway, if you decide to caulk from indoors, ensure you are using a non-elastic decorator’s caulk or an acrylic latex caulk (they can be painted over). Squirt it into each cap (a gun is easier) and smooth it over with a butter or putty knife.

Reflective Window Film

You’ve probably seen them in cars. These little gadgets can be stuck on the inside of your window and act as a type of tinting to keep the sun out. They can also be called ultraviolet window film. Just remove the backing (if it is self-adhesive, which most are) and apply to moistened glass, smoothing out any air pockets with your hand.  This will save a bundle on air conditioning costs.

More Layers

You can add more layers to your window to reduce the heat loss and gain. If your windows are older, odds are you only have single glazed which means not much is stopping the heat from coming in and leaving. Some options are storm windows, which can be placed on the inside or the outside of the window. Another option is heat-shrink film, which is the cheapest and easiest variety of a storm window. You apply it on the inside with double sided tape. Then it shrinks when you heated it with a blow dryer or heat gun. You can find this at any local hardware store.

By Shelby Morrison

Shelby has been writing for the past seven years, her expertise in web content and novel writing. She enjoys writing about do-it-yourself projects and ideas for saving money. She has written articles that support these beliefs for Advanced Window and other companies, hoping to help others live frugally and learn new skills.

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