How to Reduce Outside Noise with Windows

slideshow-5If you live in a busy area or just have a lot of neighborhood kids running around outside, noise pollution in your home can be a problem. If you have older windows, the first thing you want to do is replace them. New windows can make a significant difference in the amount of noise that filters into your home. There are also a few other steps you can take to reduce the overall noise level within your home.

Keeping your windows closed will obviously help, but if you take the extra second to lock them you’ll create a tight seal. Just sliding or lowering the window may not be enough if there is a gap in the seal between the window and the surrounding frame. Locking the window in place secures the window and provides a sound barrier between outside noise and the interior of your home.

Installing window inserts will also help. These are acoustically designed panels that cover either the outside or the inside of your windows. The inserts are clear so they cannot be seen from the inside or outside of your home. Some insert varieties stick magnetically to the exterior window frame and others are inserted with their own frame into the existing windowsill. As a further benefit, window inserts provide thermal insulation, potentially reducing your energy bills.

Take some time to add weather-stripping to your windows. Installing V-shaped weather-stripping along a window sash creates an airtight seal. Self-adhesive V-strip weather-stripping is available at most hardware stores. Raise the sash, measure the length and cut the weather-stripping so it fits along the bottom of the sash, leaving approximately 1/4-inch of extra stripping on each end. Remove the self-adhesive tape and install the weather-stripping on the bottom rim of the sash so the point of the V-strip faces indoors. Close the window, allowing the extra 1/4-inch on either end to stick out slightly. This helps seal the joint between the sash and the frame. Make sure the window is completely operational in case you need to open it in an emergency.

Heavy curtains or drapes will also help dampen outside noise. Sheer, cotton, and linen window treatments are aesthetically appealing, but they won’t reduce window noise. Install drapes with an interior panel and an exterior panel. Add curtain pulls or window sconces on either side of the window, so you can pull them back when you want natural sunlight in the space. Close them at night or during sleep times to block out noise.