Protecting Basement Windows from Cold

Written by AnonymousMarch 3, 2011

Basement Windows and Cold Weather: Things to Consider

All homes allow air to escape or enter to some degree. Even the most well-insulated home may have small leaks around plumbing fixtures, chimneys, recessed lights, and in attics and basements. The most common sources of leaks in homes, however, are windows and doors. The windows and doors on the main floors of the home are often cared for, while windows in basements and attics are often neglected. To protect your home and windows from the effects of cold, weatherizing all the windows in the home is the most cost-effective option.

Locating Leaks

To locate leaks, examine the areas around the basement windows by looking for outside light around the jambs (vertical sides of the window). You can also hold a tissue next to the jambs. If the tissue flutters or you see light entering around jambs, the weather stripping is inadequate and needs to be replaced.

Leaks cause energy loss and they shorten the lifespan of your windows. Don’t wait until weather stripping, caulking, or seals have deteriorated. Inspect your windows annually, during the month of September.

Installing Weather Stripping

The most common types of weather stripping materials are:

  • Foam
  • Metal
  • Rubber

If you have casement basement windows, use self-adhesive foam or rubber compression strips. Place strips on the outside edges of the window stops. This creates a tight seal that prevents leaks and holds up to the pressure of closed windows. If you have storm windows, use foam compression strips. The strips easily attach to the outside of the storm window stops to create a tight seal.

Metal tension strips are best for sliding windows. This material is strong enough to hold up to the powerful sliding motion of the windows. To install metal tension strips, close the window and place the strips against the edge of the sash.

Costs for Weather Stripping

Weather stripping costs as little as $10 per strip, so you can save money by tackling the project on your own. If you prefer to hire a professional, be prepared to pay $30 to $100 per hour, plus the cost for materials.  

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