How do I Reduce Thermal Conduction in Aluminum Window Frames?

Written by gregory story
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How do I Reduce Thermal Conduction in Aluminum Window Frames?
Aluminium functions well in holding glass, but leaks energy like a sieve. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

While aluminium is ideal for window frames from a design point due to its light weight, strength and durability, the material is less than desirable in terms of energy efficiency. Aluminium frame windows lose heat much more readily than those made of wood, vinyl or any other commonly used material. Considering that a quarter of the energy used to heat a typical building is lost out the window, it is worthwhile to take steps to stop additional loss aluminium frames can incur.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • Caulk
  • Foam tape
  • Aerosol can of expandable foam
  • Adhesive-backed felt
  • Detergent
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Recaulk the window frames. Use a putty knife and wire brush to remove the old caulk. Apply new caulk to all joints in the window frame and joints between the frame and wall.

  2. 2

    Line the window frames with foam tape. It is simple to press into place and available in most hardware stores. Expandable foam from aerosol cans is also readily available. Injecting the foam into the hollow spaces will create a layer of insulation that significantly reduces heat loss, but most aluminium window frames are not designed to handle the pressure. Use of such product will void whatever warranty the windows have.

  3. 3

    Apply pressure-sensitive adhesive felt between the sash and the frame. Both come in rolls of varying width. The sash is the sliding section of the window. Double-hung windows have a sash at top and bottom so a strip should be set along the sill of both. Clean the sill with detergent. When dry, cut the proper length with scissors and press into place.

Tips and warnings

  • When replacing windows, consider using aluminium frames that already contain a layer of insulation.
  • A variety of glazes and films are available that reduce heat loss through glass.
  • Always be careful not to break the glass when working with windows.

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