How To Help Keep The Heat From Escaping Out Your Home's Windows This Winter

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When your home's windows are not energy efficient, your home's valuable heat may be escaping out through them during the winter. Until you can invest in some new triple-paned or storm windows, here are some steps to help make your windows more energy efficient with insulating draperies and to help keep the heat inside your home this winter.

Choose Appropriate Drapery Fabrics

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, when you close draperies over your windows in the winter, you can reduce your home's heat loss by up to 10 percent. But not all draperies can prevent your home's heat from escaping through your windows. Draperies made from fabrics with loose weave, such as linen and lace will not do much to keep your heat inside the house. You need to choose draperies made with tightly woven fabrics, such as velvet, tapestry, tweed, and denim. The thicker the fabric, the better it will help insulate your windows. This does not mean you have to give up your gauzy, loosely-woven, sheer draperies. Save them to use in the warmer months and switch them out for draperies providing insulation during the winter.

Measure for Your Decorative Drapery Fabric

You can make your own winter insulating draperies out of draperies you already have, or make some from all new fabrics. First, you need to choose the front decorative fabric to match your room's color scheme. If you are buying pre-made draperies, select some panels that will cover the width of your entire window while reaching to the floor, plus an extra two inches for seam allowances. To measure fabric to make your own draperies, measure the length from your curtain rod all the way to the floor and add two inches. Covering your windows to the floor will help keep the heat in your home better. 

When measuring the amount of fabric or pre-made drapery panels for the width of the draperies, also make sure you add several inches on either side of the panels for the fabric to wrap around and attach to the wall, which will help seal in the room's heat from the window. Measure the gap from the curtain rod to the wall and double it to calculate adequate coverage for both sides of your draperies.

Select Your Insulative and Backing Fabric 

Multiple layers in your draperies will insulate your windows better, trapping pockets of air between each layer. You also need to choose a length of thin quilt batting that you will place on the inside of your draperies. Then choose a black-colored back fabric for the back of your draperies. A black fabric will absorb heat from the sunlight during the day to additionally help keep your room warm. Make sure you buy enough batting and black fabric to equal the width and height of your drapery fabric panels.

Construct Your Draperies 

For this process, you will need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread to match your front drapery panel
  • Sewing pins
  • Stick-on Velcro tape measured to fit on both sides of your drapery edges.
  • Set of wooden or metal clip-on drapery rings
  1. Spread the front drapery panel fabric print side up on the floor or other large work area.
  2. Lay the black fabric over the front panel so the black covers the front panel completely.
  3. Spread the insulation batting over the black fabric.
  4. Pin the edges using sewing pins placed every four to five inches to prevent the fabrics from slipping while you sew the layers together.
  5. Trim any excess fabrics from the three layers so they are all the same size. 
  6. Using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, stitch around the drapery panel, leaving a ten-inch section open, so you can turn each panel right-side out.
  7. Turn the panel right-side out and fold the open edges inside and together, pinning the stitching closed using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
  8. Press the edges to flatten the seams of your panel.
  9. Repeat this process with any remaining drapery panels.
  10. Peel and attach the stick-on Velcro onto the back fabric at both sides of your drapery's edges.
  11. Clip the drapery rings onto the top of your panels and hang your draperies on the curtain rod.
  12. Peel and attach the other side of the Velcro onto the wall to seal the edges of your draperies.

Your windows will now be more energy efficient this winter to help keep the cold out and your heat inside.