How to Winterize Windows

By James L. Hamilton

Believe it or not, windows are not the main source of heat loss in our homes.  Most heat loss is through the roof! The best way to save the most money on heating bills is to attack the biggest problems. Cellulose insulation properly blown into the attic gives excellent return for the money.


But for windows, there are simple things that can dramatically increase their energy efficiency, and help save heating cost. “A historic wood window, properly maintained, weatherstripped and with a storm window, can be just as energy efficient as a new window.”  Studies have shown it.  National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Historic Wood Windows” (emphasis added).

What to Do? 1-2-3

  1. A good storm window is the first and essential
  2. Exterior caulking is need everywhere around the window frames and sills.
  3. Interior weather stripping around window frames and sash will seal them and stop drafts.

How to Do It?

I have assembled information and video demonstrations on how to weatherize your windows and have put them on the Boston Edison web site: The web site emphasizes what many homeowners can do using simple, low-cost materials, ordinary household skills, and some knowledge about how to do it. Even if you want to hire a contractor, you will have more success in working with one, if you know what you need and how it should be done! The DIY information on the web site will help prepare you.

Installing storm windows probably is best left to contractors with lots of experience.

The web site also has a list of window contractors. Contractors do the simple things in the same way that you would. So if you can, do-it-yourself and save money. A middle way to save money is to do the easy things yourself, and hire a contractor for the rest, such as installing storm windows, or doing the second story windows.

Jim Hamilton is a resident of the Boston Edison Historic District