Like all windows, sliding windows can lose their energy efficiency as they age. Windows with wooden sashes, especially, can begin to show signs of wear, creating air gaps between the window and the frame. On a cold day, you may walk past the sliding window and actually feel the cool breeze coming in through these gaps. In the chilly Cincinnati winter, a leaky sliding window can have a profound effect on your energy bills. So, follow one or more of these suggestions to insulate the sliding windows in your Cincinnati home.
The following suggestions may void an existing warranty on your windows. Please review your warranty details before attempting to insulate your sliding windows.
If the air is coming in between the sash and the glass, then you can apply some caulk to seal the air gap and hold the glass in place. Note that you cannot apply caulk between the frame and the sash or the sliding window will no longer open.
To caulk your window sash, start by wiping away any grime in the crevice between the sash and the glass with a soft cloth. Then, cut the end off a tube of latex painter’s caulk, and insert it into your caulking gun (if you’re using a caulk tube that requires a gun). Apply gentle pressure to the gun or tube, and drag it along the crevice while holding the tip at a 45-degree angle. Apply only a very thin bead of caulk. When you reach the end of the crevice, repeat the process for the remaining sides of the sliding window. Use your finger or a putty knife to gently smooth out the caulk.
Weatherstripping is what you will use to close air gaps between the frame and the sash. There are plastic and felt varieties, but felt tends to work better for sliding windows since it’s somewhat compressible and can be flattened under the window as you slide it open. Look for weatherstripping with a peel-off, sticky backing.
Measure the length of the bottom of the side of the window that slides. Cut the weatherstripping to this length. Remove the backing, and stick it down on the bottom track. Make sure the window slides shut over it. If it does not, remove the weatherstripping and look for a thinner variety. Repeat the same process along the top of the window.
This strategy works well if you are really in a hurry and want to address both leaky sashes and frames at a same time. The downfall is that it’s temporary. It disables you from being able to open and close your sliding window, so you’ll need to remove the plastic if you ever want to ventilate your Cincinnati home.
Purchase insulating plastic sheets made specifically for windows. Without removing the backing, position the sheet over the window so you can ensure it’s oriented properly. Then, remove the sticky backing and press down on the plastic, sealing it to each edge of the window frame. It provides a barrier against the cold, drafty air.
These insulating strategies are a good quick, short-term fix for your leaky sliding windows, but usually once sliding windows start leaking, it’s about time to replace them. New windows are more energy efficient than ever, thanks to performance glass options and specialized frames. If you’re interested in learning more about replacement windows for your Cincinnati home, contact Renewal by Andersen to schedule a free, in-home consultation today.