If you live in an older home, you may still have single pane windows, which were standard through the 1950s, but since then, more energy efficient options have become standard. While some single pane windows may have been replaced with double or triple pane windows, to maintain your home’s historic style others may still have single panes. Those windows may also have older storm windows for added draft protection. If you are looking to keep the vintage style of your home, but find a cost-effective way to upgrade your home’s insulation and energy efficiency, installing new aluminum storm windows may be the right option.
What Is a Storm Window?
Before diving into choosing and installing new aluminum storm windows, let’s first take a look at what a storm window is.
A storm window is an insert added to either the outside or inside of your existing window as a defensive barrier against the elements and high energy costs. They act as a layer of protection for your existing windows glazing and seals, keeping out excess moisture, cold, heat, and outside sound.
Storm windows are designed to be installed and removed seasonally, so that when the temperature drops they can be inserted for added protection and be removed when the temperature rises. Storm windows can also be left as permanent installations that can help you save money on your energy costs while running an air conditioner during warmer months.
A Cost-Effective Upgrade
Storm windows provide an added layer of home insulation in one of the areas where air leakage is high: your windows. The space around your window can often be drafty, causing the temperature-controlled air from inside the home to leak outside and have colder or hotter outside air leak into the home. Poor window insulation can make maintaining a consistent inside air temperature difficult, forcing your heating and cooling systems to work harder, which can drive up your energy costs.
Replacing less energy efficient windows with new ones can be costly and can detract from the historic look of older homes. Storm windows provide an extra layer of insulation that add up to greater energy efficiency in your home at a fairly low cost. And as every homeowner knows, when you use less energy, your energy bill is less too. Storm windows are not replacements for your existing windows but rather a budget-friendly energy-saving addition.
Your Old Storm Windows: What to Do?
If you already have storm windows, but they are starting to show signs of age, you have three basic options: leave them, repair them, or replace them. Leaving them will not improve the look or energy costs of your home, so if that is your goal, you are left with either repairing or replacing.
Effective Strategies for Repairing Old Storm Windows
If you choose to repair your old storm windows instead of replacing them, the first step you want to take is assessing how the old storm windows may be compromised. Take a look at:
- The glass: Is it cracked or broken?
- The weather stripping: Is it missing or worn-out?
- The frame: Is it damaged or warped?
- The closure: Is it difficult to open or close the window?
Then, check for drafts or air leakage and if there is moisture buildup between the storm window and your existing window.
If you identify any issues in these areas, there are several things you can do to remedy the problem:
- Replace broken or cracked glass
- Patch large holes or cracks in frames with adhesive or sealant
- Remove and replace old weather stripping with new weather stripping
- Tighten loose frames with screws
Tips for Maintaining Your Storm Windows
Following a few simple tips as a part of your regular home maintenance routine can help your storm windows last longer and do the job they are meant to do.
Make sure to:
- Clean glass and frames of dirt and debris
- Inspect the integrity of the weather stripping
- Keep hinges and tracks lubricated
- Install storm window panels or covers during hazardous storms or extreme weather conditions
Also make sure to follow-up any identified problems promptly to keep your storm windows providing protection for years to come, helping to keep your home comfortable and your energy costs lower.
Storm Window Replacement
If you have exhausted repair options or are looking for a home upgrade, replacing your storm windows with a newer model may be your best option. Newer aluminum storm windows made of an enamel-coated aluminum frame and paned glass are designed to keep the style of older homes, while adding better insulation with easier installation. These newer models of aluminum storm windows provide technical advantages that older models did not have when they were first manufactured. Building materials continue to apply new manufacturing techniques and technical advancements that can make installing newer models worth the cost of an upgrade. This includes aluminum storm windows.
How to Remove a Storm Window
Steps to follow for safe and efficient storm window removal:
- Remove all fasteners, such as screws and nails that have secured the storm window in place
- Double-check that anything keeping the window in place has been removed
- Pry the window away from the frame with a putty knife or thin flat-edged screwdriver
- Remember to use a gentle touch as not to damage the window structure or glass
Choosing New Storm Windows: Factors to Consider
If you are opting to replace your storm windows, there are different types to choose from, depending on your home’s architectural style, your budget, and how comfortable you are with home projects. Overall, you want to replace your storm windows with an option that can provide you with versatility, adaptability, and protection for the weather conditions in your area.
Benefits of Aluminum Storm Windows
Aluminum exterior storm windows have several benefits. The newer technologies employed in manufacturing new aluminum storm windows have raised their energy efficient performance and their life span, but as they still cost less than a window replacement, it makes them an attractive route for a home upgrade.
The enamel-coating of aluminum storm windows helps them resist corrosion, unlike older steel models that tended to rust over time. Aluminum storm windows can last at least 30 to 40 years. This high level of durability can make them an affordable energy efficient investment. Most aluminum storm window models either screw into your window frames or on top of their casings. Most also come equipped with standard or low e-glass panels. They can also come in a wide-variety of colors, depending on the brand you choose, to fit your home’s style.
Screens and Sliding Panes
Most styles of aluminum storm windows also come equipped with screens and sliding glass panels, features that make them easy to use and versatile. Storm windows with screens can provide the protection of a storm window but with enhanced ventilation, which can be a great advantage in areas with varying types of weather throughout the year. Sliding storm windows can provide convenience and functionality in various living spaces. They can also make cleaning and maintenance easier.
Double or Triple Track Differences
Storm windows are usually designed as double or triple tracks. In double track storm windows airflow is allowed from the bottom of the window. Triple track storm windows are made to allow air-flow at both the bottom and the top of the window, with movable glass panes that slide up or down. With triple track windows a screen can cover the entire window, while with double track the screen only covers the lower half. Triple track storm windows basically provide more versatility and air-flow than double track models.
Custom Storm Windows
Most storm windows come in standard sizes, but your older home may have been designed with less standard window sizes. If this is the case, you may need to opt for custom storm windows to preserve your home’s architectural integrity. Customized designs do cost more, but can also provide you with more personalized solutions to your home’s aesthetics, including color, style, and design.
The Best Storm Windows for Your Home
Finding the best storm windows for your home, whether standard aluminum storm windows or a customized option, you will want to choose the storm windows that are best for the climate you live in, the budget you are operating within, and your personal style preferences.
If you are ready to upgrade your home with aluminum storm windows, contact Climate Seal for a professional installation quote. Our professional expertise can help you take advantage of an energy efficiency upgrade that can lower your energy costs and increase the value of your home.