Increase the Energy Efficiency of Old Windows

February 3, 2012No comments

Old windows

Marvin Windows Paintable Storms, Barbara Schmidt, bstyle, inc.

In my 1915 home there are beautiful, large double-hung, original windows that are not energy efficient. Several people suggested replacement windows, but that would mean removing all the original quarter sawn woodwork. I felt that window replacement would devalue the property by taking away the original woodwork.

Thinking that there must be another way, I sourced a paintable storm insert from Marvin Windows. These storms can be ordered in any size, and the screen and windows inserts come in a variety of standard colors. Once the new storms were fit to the various sized windows, the drafts were gone.

Here are some other ways to help old windows become more energy efficient:

  • Reglaze where old glazing is cracked or falling away. Local hardware stores are a great resource to learn how to glaze and gather the right materials. Once all the glazing is tight, the windows will be more energy efficient.
  • Window jambs should be paint free. A lot of older homes have painted in windows that don’t operate properly, and this makes them inefficient. Strip paint from the jambs so that the window will open and close without sticking.
  • Make sure all the paint is also removed from the ropes if the window operates on a pulley system. Ropes can be replaced easily by opening up the mechanism on the inside trim of the window. I’ve done this myself with materials from my local hardware store.
  • Make sure the screws are tightened on the window trim. Using wood filler in the screw holes and then drilling a new hole can tighten loose screws.
  • Good locks will keep windows tight in the winter, so make sure they add tension to the window frame when closed.
  • Fill rotten areas of the window frame with epoxy. I had to do this on a French window in the living room. I then had my painter blend in the aged oak colors over the epoxy to hide the repair. You couldn’t tell there was water damage, and we stopped the rot from advancing.

By rehabbing my old windows, we are saving energy and saving the old windows from the landfill.

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