5 Ways to Insulate Your Windows for Winter

While looking into the best way to insulate our drafty windows this winter (apart from replacing them), we put together this mini-guide of solutions we found so far, including the pros and cons of everything from layered curtains to shrink-wrap film.

1. Rubber Weather Sealing: You can buy strips of self-stick rubber weather sealing at a hardware store or online. Cut long strips down to fit your window dimensions, then peel and stick to the frame to close any gaps and keep out drafts.

Pros: Cheap, effective, minimal alterations to appearance of windows.
Cons: When you peel away the rubber strips, they can damage paint or leave a sticky residue.

2. Window Insulation Film: You can buy window insulation kits from a hardware store or online. Kits usually include plastic shrink film that is applied to the indoor window frame with double-stick tape, then heated with a hair dryer to shrink the film and remove any wrinkles.

Pros: Cheap and effective.
Cons: Gives windows a cloudy, shrink-wrapped look.

3. Cellular Shades: Cellular Shades insulate while still letting in light through the windows. They can be ordered and custom cut from home and design centers. We found a good set of step-by-step instructions for installation here.

Pros: They let in light and can be custom-fitted for doors and windows.
Cons: They can be expensive and may not insulate as much as heavier curtains.

4. Layered Curtains: Use heavy fabrics or layered curtains over the windows to keep out drafts.

Pros: Looks good, can be matched to your home decor.
Cons: Curtains can be expensive and heavy drapes can block out light.

5. Draft Snakes: Draft snakes are fabric tubes placed on a window sill or under a door to prevent cold air from creeping in. You can make one by sewing a tube of fabric to fit the width of your window and filling it with dried rice.

Pros: Cheap, easy to make as a DIY project.
Cons: It only insulates the window sill, not the glass or frame.
Image and pattern for draft snake via Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing.

More Good Info:

  • Reader Intelligence Report: Tips for Making Windows Warmer for Winter
  • How To: Stay Warm at Home Without Much Heat
  • Insulating Windows With Curtains

  • Republished from a post originally published 12.03.2007 - JL

    (Image credits: Muffet on Flickr under CC BY 2.0; Amazon; Amazon; Amazon; Restoration Hardware; Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing)