Winterizing: Keeping The Drafts Out Of Double-hung Windows

[Rumplestiltskin] has had work done on his double-hung windows to help prevent drafts and keep them in good working order. But there are still a few that rattle, and let in the cold of winter. Not this year; he’s added a small feature to the jamb that will keep out the cold weather.

A pair of jointing blocks were added to each window. The small block seen above is attached to the window jam with a couple of all-purpose screws, and hosts a machine screw which points toward the window frame. Since there is weather stripping between the two window frames, and between the frame and the outer jamb, tightening this screw will snug the frames up to close any small gaps. This has the unintended consequence of prohibiting the window from being opened (unless you don’t mind scraping the paint as the machine screw slides across the wood). But if only used in the winter months this is a viable solution.

22 thoughts on “Winterizing: Keeping The Drafts Out Of Double-hung Windows

  1. I did a similar thing with wooden side sliders in a cabin we just stayed at this past week but used shims inserted into the track instead. The shims stuck out to where you would notice them if you were to grab the window to open it.

    1. Shrink wrap works for pretty much all applications. Epoxy bonding latches are also a good option that don’t create problems that drilling frames do.

      All are super cheap at any building supply store and require only common household tools at most.

      P.S. the frame probably has shimmed adjusters too..

  2. It amazes me that the US is still using this style of window… they do not seem very practical compared to a ‘casement window’. And harder to “winterize” as I now see…

    Anyway, nice and simple hack, but I would have chosen a screw with a head that you can turn with bare hands… (maybe glue a threaded rod into a drawer knob to make a nice ‘screw’)

      1. Yes, my bad, I had just read the wikipedia article to find the name of ‘casement windows’ (I just call them “windows”…) and it mentionned that sash windows were out of style in the UK but still popular in the US… somehow, that’s where I got the idea that he was a US resident.

    1. I remember three rental homes I’ve lived in that had really antique double-hung sash windows, mainly because the landlords were too cheap to care, since WE had to pay the electric bill anyway.

      They do LOOK a lot nicer than the cheap aluminum windows, at least IMO (and only if they’re not caked with 100 years of old paint) but I’ve seen some of the nicer vinyl windows that I’d gladly take in replacement.

      Single pane aluminum apartment windows are the worst of all. They fog up in the winter and get moldy if you don’t keep up on it, and just plain drafty all the time.

  3. nice, but isn’t that what a lock is supposed to do anyhow?
    if not: replace the screw with a locking lever that presses against the frame and locks it (an off-center round wooden lever would do).

  4. Nowadays older sash windows can be reconditioned to be a snug as the newer ones. Would be interesting to discover why the work Rumplestiltskin had done didn’t work. This is Rumplestiltskin’s personal application of traditional temporary fix.

  5. While there is a great need to save on heating/cooling bills, it should be noted that buildings are engineered for a certain amount of air infiltration to satisfy health requirements. If you have a fuel consuming heating system inside your home, it too requires oxygen AND enough air flow to allow for proper flue operation. Lack of sufficient infiltration will generate “sick building syndrome” and a mold/midew hazard. Homes with closed cell foam insulation are particularly at risk as the wall systems don’t “breathe”.

      1. Bob, in a word…NO. Unless you have a “Fresh air intake kit installed on your burner, no you don’t. I have never seen one one a gas or oil water heater or furnace. Boilers seem to be the only candidates, but, as in life, there are always exceptions to the rule. If one does opt for this solution, the intake must be at least two feet above the snow line. Carbon Monoxide is a real danger should this intake become blocked.

    1. You really should have a ERV system if you are going to be sealing your home up well. You should seal your home as well as possible. It does make all the heating and cooling more efficient. Using a CO2 sensor on the exhaust air, and modulating the air flow to adjust as the CO2 levels go would help a lot. A home automation system, or being able to tie your furnace, ERV, and AC/Heatpump into the same controller would allow you to automatically jack up the amount of outside air when the furnace kicks on.

      As far as I know most furnaces in the USA use space combustion air, aka, pull air from the space.

      1. A great comment, all true. I have often wondered what the energy load is with an ERV. I got a rough price on one and was kind of shocked a the expense. Another point is the air to air heat exchanger looked pretty fine, therefore dependent on filtration. As I recall, the whole point was to SAVE money, right? Whenever I pointed this out, members in the industry the conversation always seem to trail off…

  6. It was a dark and stormy night, and the window rattle was keeping me awake. So I grabed a couple of short screwdrivers and jammed them in between the top of the lower window and the front strip. I later made some thin wooden wedges to jam in instead. They also make the window hard to lift from casual break in.
    Epoxy foam, huh, sounds like ceramic tissue. Epoxy latch is no stronger than the dirtiest layer of paint under it, and that place is dirty.
    Stick on and self adhesive are right up there with duck tape. A permanent mess for a temporary fix.

    1. No kidding, my passenger side window has been borked for a long time, and I tried to tape it in the up position with some Gorilla Tape. The gorilla must have gone on vacation, because the glue melted and the window didn’t even stay up a whole day.

      Would have guessed that Gorilla Tape would work better than plain clear packing tape (usually lasts about 3-4 months. In case you’re wondering…our car doesn’t use the standard lifter arm design for the windows, it has a winch system instead and the whole shebang is totally thrashed. Cheaper to just tape the window shut.)

  7. Probably against fire code to screw down your windows, and definitely not safe.
    You can probably fit sheets of Plexiglas into the opening somehow, but make them easy to remove.

  8. Why not go with a two part solution?

    One piece attaches to the window frame and the other to the window itself. Each piece is slanted to form a wedge when the window is closed. This would be a good solution year round and wouldn’t mark up the window while still being able to open it.

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