Getting Rid of Winter Window Drafts

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As a house ages here in Ottawa, it is only natural that the sealing around the windows begin to deteriorate, causing the house to become drafty during the colder months of the year. The unfortunate thing about this is it is only noticeable during the seasonal changes to cooler weather. Therefore stipulating this, there are many solutions to this dilemma with two of them being the application of weather stripping and the use of caulking to reseal the windows and doors.

Applying Caulk

The process of application begins with the removal of the old. To do this, use a putty knife to scrape away to old brittle caulk surrounding the window on the outside. This includes taking away the paint that is peeling away, if any, as well.

Of course, here in Ottawa and anywhere else for that matter, the next step is to clean the surfaces covered by the old caulking. The use of a scrub brush will suffice to clear away any dirt and debris using a solution of soap and warm water and a clean cloth to dry the surface afterwards. Finally, using a caulk gun apply the new continuous bead between the window frame and the siding. The type of caulk recommended is an exterior grade that is silicon based or an acrylic ‘siliconized’ type of caulking.

Replace the Weather stripping on the Inside

Once the exterior of a window is re-sealed, move to the indoors and inspect the weather stripping for cracks, splits, or separations from the surfaces that it is attached to. The position of the stripping should fit snugly around the window sash, (this is the part of the frame that allows the window to open and close), which is the main area where deterioration occurs. The following types of weather stripping are among the top choices utilized throughout the construction industry and as such are easy to replace and install for the do-it-yourself enthusiast here in Ottawa.

Felt Type Stripping

This is one of the original types first used for sealing the interior window sash here in Ottawa. Felt, normally found attached to a metal flange on double hung, sliding, or casement windows where a compression seal will form. The drawback of felt weather stripping is it will not last more than four years.

Adhesive-Backed Foam Weather stripping

This type of stripping is similar to felt in that it is a compression type. What this means is when a window shuts it compresses, or squeezes the foam, thus creating a seal that blocks air from entering or exiting the house. The application is easy because of the adhesive on one side. Just cut a strip to size, remove the protective backing and stick the weather stripping into place around the window.

For Ottawa homes with double hung windows just apply the weather stripping to both the lower and upper edges of the window sash. Additionally, put a piece in the window sill and in the jamb above in line with the striping on the edges of the sash. For a sliding and casement window does the same for the vertical edges and ensure that all surfaces are clean and clear of any dirt before the application of the weather stripping.

Spring V-seal weather stripping

This is a polypropylene based material, (plastic), or metal that is in the shape of a ‘V’. This type of weather stripping is more of a tension type of sealer. The mechanics behind this type is as the window shuts it folds creating a spring-like tension and seal between the sash and the window frame, which springs open naturally, when the window opens. When applying the plastic the use of scissors will suffice for cutting it to length and is adhesive-backed.

In the case of using the metal type of V-sealing weather stripping, it is easier to use metal snips to cut to length. The types of metal vary from copper, aluminium, stainless, or bronze. This type of weather stripping takes nails to anchor it. This type of weather stripping works in Ottawa, homes with single and double hung, sliding and casement windows.

Tubing Rubber-gasket weather stripping

As the plastic Spring V-seal, this type has an adhesive back for application purposes. It is also a compression type as is the foam and felt types of weather stripping available throughout Ottawa. The action of the rubber-gasket conforms to the space between the sash and the window frame creating the desired seal. This type of weather stripping comes with optional metal of wood flanges for different types of installations, in addition to having a foam filling that provides a higher sealing capability.

Window Insulation Kits for Ottawa Homes

These kits contain a roll of shrinkable plastic by applying heat. To use the sheeting, it attaches to the inside of the window casing via double sticky tape. After using a household blow dryer to seal the window, one drawback appears. The window becomes unusable, who opens their windows in the winter anyway.

Additional Insulation

Using any of the above methods to seal out the draft cold air can still emanate from the glass. One way to fix this is to use bubble wrap. The way to apply it is to cut a piece to the size of the glass area. Then, using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the window and press the bubble wrap, (the flat side), against the window. There is a noticeable difference using this method to gain control over drafts and cold air inside your Ottawa home.

A final note on sealing drafty double hung windows in your Ottawa home, is to add an additional lock mechanism to the frame as most come with only one installed. In order to accomplish this, begin by removing the original one and repositioning it along with a new one equal distances along the sash from the vertical parts of the window frame. For example, a window that is approximately 60 cm’s wide you can position the locks approximately 20 cm’s from the edges.

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