Ways to Make your Old Windows Energy Efficient

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Aging windows are often a cause for high energy bills. Replacing them with new energy-efficient windows is one solution but the option of energy-saving window installations must also be explored.

It is an astonishing fact to note that most of the energy costs are a result of energy loss and not energy use. Home owners often believe that the best way of making their homes energy efficient is by replacing old windows. Owing to the gaps in window sashes, punctures in pulleys, and fractures in the glazing, their belief is not misplaced. However, not all windows need to be replaced. Sometimes all they need is an investment touch up of time and money.

Replacing old windows with new energy-efficient windows can prove really heavy on the wallet. Despite their age, aging windows can be greatly enhanced by using storm windows. Also known as "low-e" or low-emissivity storm windows, they can really boost energy efficiency and help save home owners about a quarter of the total replacement cost. Be it home owners or professional contractors, by following a few simple rules they can make old windows more capable of energy saving.

  • Determining the state of old windows Before installing storm windows, the existing state of windows must be thoroughly examined for any missing parts, leakages, rotten wood, and breakage. If the windows are in a dismal state, weatherproofing and improvements must be done before installing storm windows.
  • Installing low-e coating storm windows Windows that are in a fairly good condition but still contribute towards heat loss and air leakages can be fixed by mounting low-e storm windows. These can be either installed as an exterior attachment or as an interior panel. Any standard storm window can reduce air infiltration irrespective of a protective coating. But low-e storm windows, with their high-performance glass coating oblivious to the naked eye, can improve energy savings by ten to fifteen percent as compared to normal storm windows.
  • Purchasing low-e storm windows Storm windows can be purchased from retailers but in order to ensure correct installation, it is advisable to have them custom made. Customized windows are measurement-accurate and will most definitely guarantee a perfect fit.
Apart from storm windows, window inserts can also be installed. Mostly installed in the interior of a house, these are constructed from an aluminum frame and have weather stripping to ensure a perfect fit while preventing any energy losses. Installing window inserts is not only an easy do-it-yourself job, but also an inexpensive one. The inserts act as an insulation layer for the windows thereby reducing sky-rocketing energy costs.

Home owners who want window improvements done on a tight budget can also opt for one of the following inexpensive solutions:

  • Gaps and cracks in windows can be caulked to prevent heat loss in winters and heat gain in summers.
  • Using thick and heavy blackout curtains that fall to the floor can considerably prevent heat loss and gain in winter and summer season respectively.
  • Putting protective ultraviolet window films can greatly reduce air-conditioning consumption by keeping the summer heat out.
Research has found that storm windows prove most cost-effective in varying U.S. climates with a payback of two to four years. However, many do-it-yourself window treatment options can also work wonders when it comes to home owners retaining their old-home charm with energy-efficient windows.

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