When it comes to your original wood windows lets “Air on the side of caution” before throwing out the old and bringing in the new!
Airing Out Wood Window Phobias
As you know your 100+ year old windows contribute a great deal to the look of your home and are important parts of your home’s architectural history but do you have to give up comfort during a cold winters night? Would replacement windows do the trick? When it comes to old wood windows lets “Air on the side of caution” before throwing out the old and bringing in the new! And we do mean “Air”!
Air is one of the best insulators and since molecules are so far apart in air, heat cannot be transferred. So, what does this have to do with my drafty windows? Well your wood window is natural and very thermally efficient but the only weak point is the single panes of glass. So, if your windows single panes of glass create a solid “Air” pocket, in some cases 3-4” between your interior window and exterior storm window, you should have that all important and magical “Air” pocket or insulator. With all of this air pocket talk and reducing drafts you may feel like taking off a sweater or two because there’s more!
For windows to create a solid air pocket you will need a good and tight interior window and a strong and tight storm window
Okay let’s start with the obvious, your interior window. The end game is to have a window that opens and closes with ease and tightly shut when locked. This is what we call “mechanical repairs” in the window restoration industry.
An example of mechanical repairs is where we come out to a home unscrew and take down each side stop; disengage cord rope; then take down top and bottom sash; replace each parting bead (this is the piece of wood your windows run up and down on) with new hand cut Spanish cedar parting bead; weigh each sash to verify they have the correct counter weight; on the window casing we take out any old aluminum tongue and groove and apply spring bronze weather-stripping; apply weather stripping gasket to the bottom meeting rail; re-engage cord rope or chain with weights. Then when the window is all put back together the final step is the most important and that’s where we make sure the meeting rails for the top and bottom sash meet evenly and lock nice and tight!
This last step helps to assure the window is creating that all important “Air” pocket. But many times, we see window locks that are not engaged correctly or not fitting right which is a precursor to a window that has not settled with the home and its foundation. In example of this is where you have a window where the top sash does not fully go up as it was intended causing the lock or they are barely locked as you see lock screws pulling itself from the wood or as we call the meeting rails of your top and bottom sash that do not meet evenly a step-up.
Now this all sounds easy but this is why we are in the window mechanical repair and restoration business.
To a storm window this single pane of glass in most cases between your window and your storm window you have 3-4” in most case which helps to create the Air pocket between your window and your storm window.
Now we’re not looking to go all “Science afternoon theater” on you but the air pocket between your with an old wood window there’s more air space between a storm window and wood window, approx. 3”, compared to the air space between two tightly squeezed panes of glass in a replacement thermos-pane window.
By reaching these two goals you will achieve that all important R-value, the measurement of a materials resistant to heat flow.
Your home was built around your windows so you have tried-and-true classics in your possession
That has worked for our customers over the years. to stop those drafty windows and lower your energy bills without losing features or thinking of replacement.
Remember your home was built around your windows so you have tried-and-true classics in your possession and with healthy maintenance they will outlast us all!Wood is natural and very thermally efficient but the only weak point to a wood window that single pane of glass, which is one reason for those drafty windows.
Now we’re not looking to go “All Science” on you but “Air” is one of the best insulators and since molecules are so far apart in air, heat cannot be transferred. With an old wood window, there’s more air space between a storm window and wood window, approx. 3”, compared to the air space between two tightly squeezed panes of glass in a replacement thermos-pane window. By reaching these two goals you will achieve that all-important R-value, the measurement of materials resistant to heat flow.
So, to create this all-important Air space or pocket we perform window mechanical repairs to button-up the interior windows by making the meeting rails meet so your windows lock tight creating that all important air pocket along with re-chaining any broken cord rope, re-engage weights, tops or bottom sash open without difficult, add spring bronze weather-stripping etc. so in the end when you close your windows they’re nice and tight creating that air pocket coupled with a LOW-E storm window this will give you an equal to or in some cases higher R-value than a double-glazed replacement.
We meet plenty of homeowners who think that their storm windows will last a life time, which is wrong. Based on the harsh New England weather, the life of a storm window is anywhere from 12-20 years before they need to be replaced. Check your storms with the old finger test. From the inside gently press you finger against the storm and if there’s a little play or movement with the storm and you see any slight daylight around the frame, then it’s time for a new storm window. Though your window 60% of your heat loss is based on an old storm or lack thereof and the other 40% heat loss is due to an interior window that’s not button upped correctly.
"Beyond the science, we look at your wood windows as “fine furniture”
Beyond the science, we look at your wood windows as “fine furniture” and to protect this “fine furniture” from the New England weather you should have a solid storm window.
And if over time the New England weather has worn out your wood windows don’t replace as we offer a full window restoration, where we pull your windows out; bring back to our shop to be stripped, re-glazed, paint and back to almost their original state.
Wood windows are the eyes of your home and the most important character-defining feature creating the greatest visual impact on the overall appearance of your house and you don’t have to be cold to enjoy them!