Use These Hacks to Stop Cold Air Leaks Without Replacing Your Windows

When the weather dips, drafty windows are a major problem. According to, windows are responsible for up to 30% of a home’s heating energy use. Even a small draft can cause a reduction of several degrees in indoor temperatures, making it harder for you to warm your home. 

While upgrading old windows with new energy-efficient models is an easy way to stop heat loss, doing so costs several thousand dollars, outside most people’s budget. Instead, consider one of these hacks to stop cold air leaks from windows and retain the heat inside your home.

Window Cold Air Leak Hacks

Lock Your Windows and Add Weatherstripping

Normal house settling and warped window frames can lead to windows that don’t shut all the way. To test this, close your window and place your hand at the bottom where the window meets the sill. If you feel cold air seeping through, add weather stripping and shut and lock your window for an air-tight seal.

Look for an adhesive weatherstrip that fits the width of the bottom of your window. After adding it, shut and lock the window to stop drafts.

Get a Plastic Insulation Kit

Plastic insulation kits are inexpensive and offer an easy and effective way to prevent heat from escaping your windows. When correctly installed, they can reduce heating costs on utility bills by about 20%. 

There are several brands of insulation kits, but most work the same: apply double-sided adhesive tape around the window frame, attach the plastic sheet, and then use a hair dryer to shrink-wrap the plastic, making it fit snugly over the window.

Caulk Gaps Inside and Outside

Plug up small holes inside and outside the windows with caulk. Use an exterior caulk to fill in gaps around the outside of the window and trim. Use a paintable caulk on the inside of the window.

Hang Thick Curtains (Blankets Work, Too)

While we recommend getting a plastic insulation kit as one of the cheapest and most effective ways to stop cold air drafts, you can add even more insulation by hanging thick curtains. Consider those with a lining on the back, like blackout curtains. If you don’t want to shell out money on new drapes, hang blankets over the leakiest windows.

Install Cellular Shades

Cellular shades are window coverings similar to standard blinds. They feature several thick, hexagonal cells that add privacy and extra insulation. They can aid in reducing heat loss. The downside is that they’re more expensive than regular blinds, costing about $30-$60 per window.