When it comes to fine tuning your older home’s efficiency, a simple solution is to take a look at your home’s windows and install new ones if necessary.
Windows get a lot of scrutiny in the hand-wringing over energy efficiency. While a single-pane window alone is not the thermal barrier that a new double-pane window can be, studies show that old sash with well-fitting storms is comparable. A “sash” is the movable part of a window comprised of the vertical and horizontal frame holding the glass. On a double-hung window, the bottom part of the upper sash and the upper part of the lower sash come in contact is known as the middle of the window – a framed sheet of glass within a window frame.
Studies indicate that much of the heating or cooling loss in windows isn’t through the glass, but through air infiltration, which is manageable. Start by making sure the window is in good working order, with sashes snug in their channels and closing at top and bottom. Next, make sure that sash locks pull the meeting rails snugly together. Then get out the caulk gun and seal any exterior cracks between the trim and the siding.
To achieve energy conservation and comfort, you want to reduce air infiltration by adding storm windows. Storm windows offer a second layer of protection, either in the traditional way on the outside of the window or the inside. If your primary goal is to reduce energy loss, an interior storm may be the right choice. Also known as invisible storms or energy panels, these designs usually consist of a single panel of glass held in place inside the window frame. They’re compression-fit on the inside to conserve energy and provide soundproofing while maintaining the historic look of your home.
If warm weather has you thinking about making your home more comfortable, you should start by examining its windows. The answer to lowering your cooling and heating bills may turn out be clearer than you expect.