What Are Drafty windows? Understanding The Causes And Solutions

What are drafty windows and what are their principal causes, and how can they be avoided?

Windows are a primary element of a house that offers several benefits. Windows enhance curb appeal, provide energy efficiency, and boost the sale value of a home. However, a drafty window can make your home less comfortable and increase energy bills. This article is a comprehensive guide to drafty windows, their causes, and preventive measures.

What Are Drafty Windows?

  • Windows that are no longer airtight allow the air to leak in and out of your home. These windows are referred to as drafty windows. If you feel pockets of cold air as you walk past your window you likely have a drafty window. Issues with the window’s weatherstripping or seal lead to the occurrence of drafts. This flaw usually appears around the outer edge of the window frame in the area where the frame and the glass overlap, or move.

Causes Of Drafty Windows

Drafts in the windows can be caused by a single defect or a combination of different defects. Let’s take a look at the factors responsible for causing drafty windows.

Defects In The Window Seals

  • One of the common causes of drafty windows is seal failure. When the seal in the double or triple pane window breaks, the gas between the panels escapes. The windows are no longer energy efficient. You will likely feel a draft as you pass by the window.

Underlying factors that cause a window seal to break include:

  • Wear and tear
  • Improper installation
  • Poor-quality materials
  • Mold build-up
  • Constant exposure to extreme temperatures

Drafty windows cause the warm or cool air to escape out of your home. In doing so, they affect the indoor temperature. This makes your heating and cooling appliances work harder. As a result, the energy bills are increased.

Improper Window Installation

  • Window installation is not a DIY project. Improper installation can cause multiple problems. For instance, poorly installed windows may not fit properly in the opening. This leaves the gaps between the window and the frame and allows drafts to come through. To avoid these problems, it is important to hire a professional for window installation.

Faults In The Window Caulk

  • Caulking is done around the area where the window frame meets the building structure. This prevents drafts from getting inside your house. Over time, the extreme weather conditions wear down the window caulk. Cracks in the window caulk allow outside air to easily enter your home.

The presence of cracks can be confirmed by moving your hand along the caulk. If you feel a breeze coming through, it’s time to replace the caulking. Inspect your window caulk once every year. If it is cracked, replace it with a new one.

Old windows

  • what are drafty windowsSometimes, it is not the physical factors that cause the windows to become drafty. Windows simply become drafty because they are old and worn out. Drafts are especially common in single-pane old windows.

With constant wear and tear, cracks develop in the window. Slowly the gas begins to escape through these cracks. As a result, the performance of the windows declines. You will eventually need to replace your windows.

Moisture Problems

  • Not all windows can handle moisture without being affected. Moisture is especially a problem for wood windows. When wood is constantly exposed to moisture it expands and contracts frequently. This cycle of expansion and contraction gives rise to several problems.

Windows begin to bow and warp until the frame fails to meet the sash. Thus allowing the drafts to enter your home. In addition, the constant exposure to moisture results in the growth of mold and causes the wood to rot quickly.

Solutions To Fix Drafty Windows

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 5 to 30% of energy can be saved annually by addressing drafts in a home. There are several ways to fix a drafty window. A few of them are discussed here.

Apply Plastic Window Wrap

  • Plastic window wraps are an easy solution to temporarily fix drafty windows. Plastic covers or wraps are applied to the inner surface of the window. They are highly effective in preventing drafts from seeping into your home.


  • Start by measuring the amount of wrap that you require. Cut the measured portion and blow dry it to your window. Do not allow the air bubbles to get trapped between the wrap and the window. A tightly fit plastic wrap will effectively prevent outside air from finding its way into your home.

Plastic window wraps can be applied quite conveniently. However, these wraps do not last long. They can only get you through one tough season and will need to be replaced in the next season.

Installation Of Storm Windows

  • Storm windows are much more expensive than plastic window wraps but they work the same as a storm door. Storm windows are installed outside of the existing windows. They work well in conjunction with these windows to effectively prevent the drafts from seeping inside your home. Just like storm doors, storm windows add an extra layer of insulation. They work as a barrier to protect your windows from outside elements.


  • Storm windows are not a good fit for your drafty windows. Even though they reduce the amount of air that seeps into your home, drafts are still there. You have only put a band-aid on the drafts but haven’t solved the problem. There will still be a loss of warm and cold air.

Use Of Weatherstrip Seals

  • An easy DIY solution to fix drafty windows is the repair or replacement of weatherstripping. Heavy-duty self-adhesive weatherstrip seals are available that are reasonably priced and work well in providing excellent draft protection. In addition, these weatherstrip seals are available in a variety of sizes.

There are different types of weatherstrip seals. These include:

  • Felt weatherstripping that is sold in rolls
  • V-seal weatherstripping is sold in the form of plastic and spring-metal versions
  • Another option is expanding spray foam weatherstripping which is sold in aerosol cans

Permanent Solution To Fix Drafty Windows

  • Getting rid of drafty windows once and for all is the only true fix. Simply replace the leaky windows with better and more efficient windows. When it comes to replacement windows, there are several great options to choose from. Vinyl windows, for instance, are highly energy-efficient and durable.

With vinyl windows, you won’t have to worry about drafts getting into your home. Energy-efficient replacement windows come with insulated frames. The foam insulation prevents drafts from leaking through the insulated frames. In addition, the energy-efficient replacement windows provide resistance to warping, expanding, contracting, and rotting.

Professional Window Installation

  • The professionally installed windows make a huge difference in protecting your home from elements and maintaining its energy efficiency. Therefore, it is important to hire a reliable professional window installation company.

If you are looking for high-quality affordable windows installed by top-tier window installers, then give us a call at 866-849-2599. Simple Home Improvements is a home renovation company located in New Jersey. Our team will conduct a thorough assessment of your home and suggest the best windows to meet your budget.

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