by Ray Sabin, Northcoast Energy Masters

Which is better: buying new replacement windows or replacing or adding new storm windows? This is a very common question for the owners of homes with the beautiful old single pane wood windows. I know when the question is coming and think of it as the “Old Beauty Story.”

Your old windows leak abundant amounts of air. They cause chilly drafts in the winter and higher cooling costs in the summer. Leaky windows may even be hurting your house by allowing windblown rain to seep into the structure and cause water damage. Time for new windows?  Not necessarily!

High quality storm windows may be all you need to banish leaks and they’re half the cost of replacement windows. High end storm windows stop air infiltration as well as most replacement windows, at a much lower cost.  Studies have shown very similar results in tests of air infiltration when comparing new replacement windows with new storm windows. Low E options are also available which will help tremendously when accounting for the solar heat gain coefficient.

The standard triple track aluminum window holds two pieces of glass and one screen. The screen makes it easy to allow the natural air into your home. Triple track are not the most attractive options, but they do play an important preservation role by protecting windows of older homes from the elements. Invisible storms are an elegant looking option which allow for a screen when desired. Interior storms are another option. They can slide into place or be attached and removed via a magnetic strip.  All are great options and like more expensive replacement windows add great curb appeal to the home.

One of the main reasons homeowners choose to invest in storm windows as opposed to replacement windows is cost. Yet replacement windows may not be the best choice in the long run. Replacement windows are cut to fit existing window spaces and then installed leaving the old weight pockets empty and drafty. On the other hand, storm windows are meant to be used in conjunction with existing windows and thus can be made to fit over the existing opening. Storm windows are able to greatly decrease drafts and address other insulation issues associated with old, leaky windows. Storm windows also have other benefits including improved sound resistance, decreased window condensation and reduced damage to interior fabrics from UV rays.

Interior or invisible storm windows also provide an excellent alternative in cases where the exterior appearance of the building must be preserved. This is particularly important for homes where there is a large emphasis on their historic value. These storm windows can be installed to boost insulation without disturbing the home’s outward appearance. Their use over delicate stained glass windows is also a popular solution to protect them from the elements of our harsh weather months.

When deciding between replacing your windows and installing storm windows, consider this: storm windows preserve your home’s look, increase your home’s comfort level and overall energy savings!

Northcoast Energy Masters

“We will save you energy and money”

Northcoast Energy Masters