4 Ways to Insulate Your Windows for Winter

The Canadian Farmer’s Almanac predicts a chilly, snowy winter here in Ottawa. Though Almanac predictions are not an exact science, they have historically been 80-85% accurate. If your windows have a history of letting in cold drafts during those long winter months, there could be a few ways to prevent this without having to fork out a whole lot of money to replace them. If you’re feeling a little extra tinge of cold air wafting through your windows, here are a few great ways you can insulate them and keep them sealed nice and tight all winter long.


“Weatherstripping is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to prevent drafts from seeping in through your windows and doors,” says Brian Gow, President of Scheel Window & Door. Weatherstripping acts as an air-tight barrier around the window frame and door slabs where air might otherwise leak through. Most hardware stores, window and door manufacturers stock weatherstripping, rubber strips or tape. They come in a lot of sizes, thicknesses, and different materials, compression type being the best for doors and casement windows. Felt or brush types work best on sliding windows.

“With some weatherstripping you can simply cut the strip to the measurement of your window frame, peel the backing off of it and stick it in place. It’s quick, easy and effective.” If you already have weatherstripping in place, take a look and make sure it is not worn down, ripped, torn and has not come detached from the window. Though weatherstripping should last for years, it could fail prematurely if the window is continually opened and closed, if pets chew at it, or if it was originally installed incorrectly.

Heavy, Layered Curtains
If you’re in the market for new curtains to hang, you might want to consider opting for heavy, layered ones. Not only are these great at blocking out light so you can get that perfect night sleep, but they can also be effective in reducing or eliminating cold drafts. Although they can run a little costly, they could be well worth the investment if it means you get a great night sleep or they help to reduce drafts in some of the areas of your home. Gow advises: “Your run-of-the-mill curtain is usually all you need. Take it to the next level with insulated curtains that have built-in thermal or light blocking backing if ordinary curtains don’t do the job.” 

weatherstrippingInsulation Film
Inspired by plastic wrap, this simple technique uses plastic sheeting material that is applied to the interior of your window and then heated with a hair dryer to remove wrinkles. “You can just use regular household cling wrap or heavy duty plastic but the window insulation kits sold at your local hardware store are handy and a bit easier to affix to the window,” says Gow. On the other hand, insulating film can distort the view out the window especially if applied incorrectly, so be wary.

Draft Stoppers
If your problem merely lays along the bottom part your window, or even your hallway door, you may be able to stop air from getting through by using a draft stopper, which looks like a fabric tube. You can slip it underneath or against the frame, and it’s as simple as that – it will block that air. “Draft stoppers can be a bit of an inconvenience with drafty doors, having to put them back in place every time the door opens and closes,” mentions Gow. “But around windows that won’t be opened during the winter months, they’re a simple, cost-effective solution.” Something as simple as a rolled up towel or cloth can sometimes do the trick.

Don’t suffer this winter in a drafty home. There are simple, cost-effective solutions like these that can significantly reduce or eliminate those harsh drafts altogether. Try a couple, you may be surprised how effective they can be, if they don’t, it may be time for new windows and or doors.