Windows and Glass

Do Double Hung Windows Tend to Be Drafty?

Double Hung Windows

Your windows provide a beautiful view and a way to let the sunshine in, but from a functional and practical standpoint, there’s a lot more to this essential component of your home. Your windows play a role in keeping the elements at bay, insulating your home, and contributing to energy efficiency, or alternately, detracting from it.

What’s the deal with double hung windows? Are they as drafty as everyone says, and if so, why? If you have double hung windows, what can you do to reduce drafts? Here’s what you need to know when dealing with double hung windows or choosing windows for replacement.

What are Double Hung Windows?

Many homes have windows with an upper and a lower frame, or a sash. In some cases, the upper sash is stationary while the lower sash can slide up and down in the casing. With a double hung window, both the upper and lower sashes are operable, which means you can raise the lower sash, lower the upper sash, or both. In addition, the upper sash generally has a tilt feature so you can lean it inside for easier cleaning.

Why are They Draftier than Other Windows?

Even windows that don’t open can suffer from deterioration and drafts over time. However, these can generally be easily addressed by replacing glazing putty or caulking around the glass. Windows that have moving parts simply have more opportunities for leaks around the seams, and double hung windows have a lot of moving parts.

The sashes, for example, could shrink and swell as they age, leading to leaks around the edges. Weather stripping, gaskets, and so on can deteriorate, as well, so that windows don’t seat or seal properly when closed. Because both sashes move in the casing, you could get drafts not only around the window panes over time, but also around the frames.

If you’re thinking of installing double hung windows, this bears some consideration, as you may face more upkeep with such models. However, if you already have double hung windows and you’re coping with drafts, there are steps you can take to rectify the situation.

What Can You Do about Drafts?


Proper maintenance is the best way to stop your double hung windows from getting drafty, but over time, even this can fail you. Installing new weather stripping, gaskets, glazing, caulk, and so on can put a Band-Aid on problems, and you can always add storm windows during the winter to cut down on drafts, but eventually you’re simply going to have to replace windows.

This isn’t to say that double hung windows won’t suit your needs for years, but considering the additional problems you could face, you might not want to do a straight replacement. Upgrading to a different model instead could be more cost-effective over time. Materials can also make a difference when it comes to preventing drafts.

Before you replace windows, it’s best to speak with a professional from Renewal by Andersen Windows who can take your needs into account and advise you on the best windows for your home. You’ll find plenty of modern options for replacement and upgrades that will eliminate drafts and improve the energy efficiency of your structure.

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