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My boyfriend and I live in a ground floor apartment with windows that leak cold air horribly! So far we’ve tried to add several different kinds of weather stripping to help but I don’t think it’s done much. (I can’t find the best way to explain so that it’s not super confusing because I don’t know anything about windows or their specific parts.)

The top can slide down to be opened or, the bottom can slide up to open. There are drafts of cold air coming in at the ‘side tracks of the windows where the window slides up and down. This is how every window is and some of them have very small foam blocks in the channels (I’m assuming to stop the drafts) but honestly they don’t do anything.

I’m posting photos - the ‘side track’ part that I’m talking about it circled. (Please ignore the dirt) When you close the window, you can feel A LOT of cold air right here.

Is this normal??

Anyone know of any fixes?

I'm looking for a solution that fills or covers the gap as opposed to using a film over the entire window. Please let me know if you have any ideas for this as well as any ideas for a better way of explaining this lol !

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  • Who pays the heating bill? Dec 12 '20 at 6:51
  • We pay the heating bill. All windows in the house are like this, the bed is next to 2 of them!
    – daisyflwr
    Dec 12 '20 at 6:56
  • A surprising amount of heat / cold can go through the aluminum frames . I thought I felt cold drafts but it was conduction through the aluminum . More costly windows cover the aluminum with vinyl , partly to reduce conduction. Dec 13 '20 at 20:00
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    This is actually a draft instead of cold air conduction thru the aluminum. I can feel the air coming in and used a lit incense to search for the most troublesome spots
    – daisyflwr
    Dec 14 '20 at 4:27
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    FYI: "The top can slide down to be opened or, the bottom can slide up to open" this is called a "double hung" window and is probably the most common type in the US.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 14 '20 at 18:37
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Most of these types of windows rely on weather seals that look like brushes and they do ok when new but compress and leak after a few years. Without replacing those brushes on the sashes you have 2 choices. Either use the weather seal rope caulk which can be removed without damaging the window or use the heat shrink plastic window covers.

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  • Great idea! Replacing those brush weather seals were the first thing we replaced on all of the windows. They did need to be replaced unfortunately this didn’t fix the problem. The draft is still pretty strong coming up thru the side jamb. Any other ideas??
    – daisyflwr
    Dec 14 '20 at 4:30
  • How could I use the rope caulk on the side jamb?? Stuff a bunch of foam down the length of it first and then rope caulk on top of that?
    – daisyflwr
    Dec 14 '20 at 4:31
  • @daisyflwr Caulk will prevent the window from opening. The rope caulk will be more-or-less removable in the spring, but will leave residue behind.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 14 '20 at 18:35
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In the larger gaps, you want something spongy that can compress and expand to fill the gap, but is removable later.
The stuff made for window installation perimeters is incredibly expansive, but expensive and has a permanent tape on one side. Only bringing this up to illustrate what we are looking for.

I suggest that instead you get creative with what you already have handy - cut up a yoga mat, or a dish sponge, or packing foam and squish it down, push it in and let it expand. It may take some shaping to get it just right, but that's the idea. This can be fished back out later as needed.

For the longer thin seams around the window, rope caulk was mentioned before by Jim N., which is just a semi-sticky putty (kinda like blu-tac) but is easily removable, though a soapy sponge may be needed to get a slight residue off. Easy to slap on, comes in different colors to better blend in.

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Did you consider a simple spray foam? It can be applied only in certain areas (where there are empty silos that window doors don't touch). If there is a closed plastic/metal space, you could fill it with foam. It would isolate better.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/GREAT-STUFF-16-oz-Gaps-and-Cracks-Insulating-Foam-Sealant-with-Quick-Stop-Straw-99053937/206977048?MERCH=REC-_-pipsem-_-206310586-_-206977048-_-N&

I have the same type of windows and they're just horrible, poorly designed and made! It makes me angry that such a poor product can be released and used. It's a horrible heat/cold loss. In most part of Europe, solid PVC type of windows are a gold standard. You can barely feel anything even in during harsh winter.

If you're ever planning to buy/replace windows, I would look for this type of window only.

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fveka-system.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F10%2FVEKA-SOFTLINE-AD58-3d-800px.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fveka-system.com%2Fproject-item%2Fsoftline-ad58%2F&tbnid=Zh_bQLNN-9D0wM&vet=12ahUKEwj8tYj6oOLuAhVCCN8KHZHfBfMQMygFegUIARC9AQ..i&docid=_KV6nmtwcv6etM&w=800&h=800&q=pvc%20windows%20veko&ved=2ahUKEwj8tYj6oOLuAhVCCN8KHZHfBfMQMygFegUIARC9AQ

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2F236x%2F5d%2F5b%2F3a%2F5d5b3aed43dbc50c9bb183bd9ac8f948--casement-windows-windows-and-doors.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fin.pinterest.com%2Fghsindia%2Fveka-doors-product%2F&tbnid=8njfuzzyxQbVNM&vet=12ahUKEwj8tYj6oOLuAhVCCN8KHZHfBfMQMygXegUIARDpAQ..i&docid=X1FbK2nwH89zRM&w=223&h=226&q=pvc%20windows%20veko&ved=2ahUKEwj8tYj6oOLuAhVCCN8KHZHfBfMQMygXegUIARDpAQ

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    For most folks living in the US, "apartment" indicates a rental. Applying spray foam to windows in a rental is a great way to pay for replacement windows when you move out. Not the type of advice most renters want.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 11 at 18:59

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