The winter holiday festivities and vacations have (unfortunately) come to an end, but the freezing temperatures are here to stay a bit longer. During the cold weather months, drafts can easily slip into a home, and heat can easily slip out. Among the most common sources of air leaks in a house are windows. As a result, windows are responsible for anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of the energy bill. Sealing windows with rope caulk limits the amount of drafts entering a home, which will ultimately lower the amount of money spent on the energy bill.
What is rope caulk?
As homeowners face the coldest months of the year, weatherization lingo is being used more frequently. That does not necessarily mean that you will wake up and know what everyone is talking about. So what exactly is rope caulk? Rope caulk is a substance, comparable to putty, on a roll that is mainly used to reduce window drafts. It can be found in rolls as long as 90 feet for sealing 6 standard-sized windows, and can easily be cut to the length of your choosing. This type of window seal can be placed in tight spaces, giving it an advantage over a caulking tube or gun.
The benefits of having a window seal
Applying rope caulk to the windows in a home has quite a few benefits.
- Energy use – When you have more control over the air that leaves and enters your home, it allows you to maintain a constant comfortable temperature. This results in fewer trips to the thermostat, and less pressure on your heating and cooling system.
- Allergens – There are a lucky few who are not affected by (whether directly or through a member of your household) allergens such as dust and pollen. A window seal protects the home from an allergen invasion for increased home air quality.
- Condensation – When there is an uneven temperature in the home, condensation and moisture build-up can quickly become a problem that often leads to molding and rot around the windows. While aesthetically unappealing, these problems are even worse to breathe in.
- Insects – If you are the type of person who does not necessarily have a problem with bugs, but prefers to have them live outside of your house, sealing up the windows can help to reduce their access to your home.
Applying rope caulk to windows
Experts suggest cleaning and allowing the application surface to thoroughly dry before application. A dirty surface can hinder the effectiveness of the rope caulk, and even cause it to peel off after a short period of time. If this happens, you may find yourself applying rope caulk more often than you would like to.
It is best to install rope caulk during early fall, when temperatures on the outside and inside of a home are relatively even. Sealing the window with rope caulk during this time gives it time to set before colder temperatures approach. Application during extreme weather months typically causes the caulking to not adhere to the window, resulting in drafts entering the home.
Measure the length of your windows to have an idea of how much caulk needs to be cut. With a pair of disposable rubber gloves on, dip the rope caulk into lukewarm water for only a few seconds. The water makes the caulk more malleable for application in smaller areas. Leaving it in water for longer than that causes the window seal to dissolve. Simply press the seal along the cracks and gaps in your window and allow the caulk to dry and set. Once the window seal has been applied, follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions on disposing of the remaining caulk.
Air leaks into and out of a home all through the year. However, the effects of air leaks are most felt (and reflected on the energy bill) during extreme weather months. When a window is not properly sealed, air from outside enters a home and the air that is inside exits. This unwanted exchange of air causes the heating and cooling systems to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house, increasing energy use and the bill. Rope caulk essentially blocks that unwanted infiltration/exfiltration of air through the window to reduce the amount of drafts, dust, pollen, and condensation.