Drafty Aluminum Windows

Posted on Oct 6, 2010
Q: When I sit near a particular window in my house, I feel a draft. Anything I can do? The window is single pane with an aluminum frame. The house was built around 1960. Austin, TX. A: You most likely have the common aluminum frames builders used to put into houses before anyone was concerned about energy use. If you feel a draft, that means air from the outside is coming in and therefore, air from the inside is going out. So, not only are you feeling uncomfortable because of the draft, the money used to heat or cool the air in your house is literally going out the window. The quickest solution may be to simply install the storm window, if you have one. It may be enough to break the wind. Most likely, though, installing a storm window won’t completely solve the problem, so buy a tube of good quality transparent caulk and caulk around the window frame on the inside. Make sure you seal all the joints. If your windows are cased on the inside, be sure to seal the joint at the top casing and the wall and the bottom casing and the wall. These joints are easily forgotten. You’ll also want to caulk on the window itself. You want to seal the joints where the glass meets the aluminum frame as that’s a typical source of air leakage. That’s why I suggest transparent caulk. Pay special attention to corners. Then, repeat the above suggestions on the outside of the window. Another place old, aluminum, single pane windows leak is the corner where the inside sash meets the track. You may do all of the above and still feel a draft. If so, it’s probably coming the track area. This is hard to seal while retaining the ability of the window to be opened. However, if you’re keeping the window shut for months at a time, then sealing the joint area on the track with rope caulk could be the quick solution. Rope caulk is cheap and easy to apply. Just smoosh into the joint. You can also use rope caulk to seal the joint between the top and the bottom of the moving part of the window and the stationary part of the window. While caulk from a tube is fairly permanent, rope caulk is for a season.