Storm Windows
May 26, 2004 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Storm Windows. I need to replace my home storm windows to save on heating costs but want to avoid toxic vinyl windows which seem to be what everyone says is "good". Any recommendations for good storm windows that are not vinyl?
posted by stbalbach to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Disclaimer: totally not expert, just ideas

I guess that by storm window you mean a window whose glass and frame could resist the impact of some kind of projectile (wood, piece of something) moved by a storm.

Well...maybe an aluminium window frame with glass (so no plastic). As far as I know such windows frame already exists in the market, can accomodate two layers of glass for thermal insulation and even if more expensive then plastic frames are definitely more resistant then many kind of plastics I've seen.

Maybe you could replace glass with plexiglass which is far more shock resistant then glass and , afaik, doesn't shatter in shrapnell of pieces as easily as glass.
Unfortunatelly I don't know if plexiglass is made of / contains PVC.
posted by elpapacito at 7:27 PM on May 26, 2004

hmm well storm windows might be a regional term? I dunno. Anyway, they are the outside part of the window that is closed off in the winter to save energy. During the summer they are slid upwards and a screen slides down. Behind all this inside the house is the normal double-pane window that can be opened and closed. It's all for energy saving more than storms although I guess they provide a second level of protection from high speed projectiles.
posted by stbalbach at 9:50 PM on May 26, 2004

If you have double-pane windows and they still have their seals intact, you don't really need storm windows at all. If your "inside" windows are not still tight, if there is any condensation apparent between the panes in cold weather, or if you can feel a draft, you'll be better off spending the money on getting those fixed than on replacing storm windows.

I live in a climate very similar to yours, and I fought with my 100+ year old house's original, single-pane, wood windows and 1980's-era aluminum-frame storm windows for many years. I spent a lot of money fixing/straightening/re-aligning the aluminum frames and replacing the "fuzzy strips" of insulation. The frames continued to get out of whack (due to house shifting on its foundation, or even a strong wind), to the point that the glass panes would simply fall out of the frames.

This past fall I bit the bullet and had all the windows replaced with state of the art, sunscreen-clad, double-pane, new technology, aluminum-clad outside, wood on the inside, Marvin windows. Energy consumption this winter was down more than 30% from last year. Comfort inside the house was improved by several orders of magnitude, and this was a colder winter than 2002-03.

This may not be the answer you want; I realize it's an expensive proposition. If you don't plan to stay in the house for a good many years it may be more cost-efficient to fix what you have. But I wish I had done this 10 years ago instead of futzing around with inferior technology.

Plus, my neighbors in their 100 yr old houses already have their central AC units running because their original windows don't operate properly. I am saving buckets of money running just fans and having all the windows open top and bottom. I am one happy consumer. :)
posted by Alylex at 11:07 PM on May 26, 2004

Aluminium and wood windows is excellent ; my budget only allowed for total alumium, but I would have bought that.

Indeed they're expensive; assuming one owns the house , but doesn't rule out selling it, they surely add to the sale price of the house so I guess they're a wise investment. for rented house, I guess it's unwise to invest unless the owner agrees to backup at least half or more of the costs.

stbal: well yes It could be regional , they're called double-layer-glass here, obviously because they all come with two layers of glass for insulation.
posted by elpapacito at 7:39 AM on May 27, 2004

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