House surrounded by snow.

How to reduce heat loss through windows and doors

Before cold weather comes, take time to insulate your home or apartment to keep the winter chill outside.

Preparing your home now will help keep it warm and comfortable when the temperature starts to dip — and may help you save money on your energy bills. According to, heat loss through windows is responsible for 25%-30% of home heating energy use. And depending on when your residence was built or remodeled, your furnace might be making up the difference by working overtime.

How to insulate windows from cold

Here are some ideas about draft blockers for windows:

  • Cover air conditioners. Wipe down the unit, clear debris from the surrounding area and hose off the unit. Once it's completely dry, cover the air conditioner and turn off the water shutoff valve, if your system has one. Remove window units and store them indoors to prevent window drafts. If you can't remove your window unit, close the vents and protect it from the elements with an air conditioner cover.
  • Use plastic window film. A window film kit helps insulate your home or apartment by helping to decrease the air flow through a closed window.
  • Replace weather stripping. Check for cracks around windows and replace weather stripping to stop drafts and prevent air leaking.
  • Cover the windows with thick, dark colored curtains. When the sun is out, pull the curtains back to allow the sun to naturally warm your place. But in the evenings, close the curtains to trap the heat in and block any drafts from the windows.

How to stop drafts around doors

Here are some ideas about draft blockers for doors:

  • Use a draft guard. Stop door drafts with a door draft stopper or make a draft snake yourself.
  • Replace door sweeps. If the door sweep is old, consider replacing it. You may consult with the local hardware store about available options for your needs.
  • Recaulk the exterior of your door. Caulk deteriorates with time, so reapply it as needed to seal spots that allow drafts in.

Additional tips for homeowners and landlords

  • Add more insulation if needed. If you can see the ceiling joists in your attic, you may need more insulation.
  • Install storm windows and doors. They fit right into existing window and door frames and dramatically increase the insulation of your home.
  • Insulate pipes. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing and save money on your water bill. Insulate by duct taping pre-slit pipe foam (available at hardware stores) around exposed pipes in your home's crawl space, basement or attic.
  • Close the fireplace flue. When a flue is open, it can be a source of cold air drafts. Closing the flue, when not in use, will help keep warm air inside your home.
  • Use caulk on areas around electrical and plumbing systems. Properly caulk the edges of outlets, plumbing fixtures and vents.

And don't forget the annual winterizing checklist

In addition to blocking the drafts, consider the following tips to help get your house or apartment ready for winter:

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Start a quote

Select a product to start a quote.

Find agents near
you or contact us

There’s one ready to offer personalized service to fit your specific needs.

Related articles

Flooded basement? How to deal with common causes

Wet basement problems can cost you thousands of dollars. Here are steps to help identify the source of the water and ways to minimize your risk.

Tips to minimize moisture in your home

Protect your home by reducing excess moisture before it causes major damage.

Make your windows energy efficient

With these fixes, you can keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

How to winterize a house

Winterizing your home to protect against snow and below-freezing temps can help your home withstand the ups, downs and erratic moods of Mother Nature.