Reduce your energy costs by draught proofing your sash windows, and have a more comfortable house as well as lower utility bills. Sounds good – now you have to asses the need, count the cost, and decide which method will fit best with your house, your level of skill, and your budget.
Sash windows are the kind with a frame, usually wood but maybe metal or plastic, and with a top and a bottom section, one or both of which moves up or down to open the house to the outside air. These windows have been used since the 17th century at least, and in America are found in historic homes from the Colonial and Victorian eras. Many newer homes have used this style as well, as it is attractive and traditional.
The problem arises when these windows become older, loose in their settings, worn by the friction of opening and closing, or stiffened by age and old paint. The caulking around the outer frame can lose its seal or fall out, the inner seals of the window casings may become worn, and the putty around individual panes of glass can fail. Once any seal allows air to seep through, the insulating value of the window is compromised.
Replacing the windows in a house is an expensive proposition, and new windows may not match the period of an older house. For either reasons, you may want to fix your existing windows. Your options will be to effect temporary blocking systems, such as weatherstripping, or to repair the windows and the fabric of the house so the whole is as good as new.
Weatherstripping refers to the practice of blocking air flow around the parts of a window with strips of material. These strips can be felt, putty cord, foam, or even metal. The weatherproofing material simply blocks the gap between the window and its frame, or the frame and the wall, and the space where the two parts of the window meet. Weatherstripping can be applied in a manner that is almost invisible, but many do it yourself homeowners just ignore the look during the winter months in order to save energy.
Weatherstripping can be hidden from view if the trim is removed from around the window, but this is beyond many homeowners, who sacrifice appearance for heat retention during the winter months. There are also kits that contain air tight plastic sheets, that homeowners can tape to the inside of windows and then shrink to fit, using a hair dryer or other heat source. Even heavy curtains can block draughts in a similar mechanical manner.
Another way is to dismantle the window, put new caulk around the outside and each individual pane, and then replace the inner seals of the window frames with new beads or, ideally, reinforce them with stiff brush strips that block the passage of air while still allowing the sashes to be raised and lowered. These extensive repairs will retain the architectural integrity of the house and make it energy efficient for years to come.
Reduce your energy costs by draught proofing your sash windows, either by do it yourself stop gaps, or your own extensive repair and replacement of caulking, putty, and parts. You may choose to call a professional draught proofing company to do this complicated job for you.