Storm Windows: A Cold Weather Solution

Storm windows are a conscientious renovator's answer to maintaining historical authenticity, changing seasons and chilly nights. The article includes information on glazing and wood, fasteners and storm window alternatives.

| September/October 1987

  • 107-88-i7
    Many older houses are sorely in need of insulating storm windows.

  • 107-88-i7

Storm windows are a renovator's answer to cold weather, changing seasons and chilly nights. Storm windows are a simple solution to the aesthetics/expense dilemma, and the same frames can screen out summer's pesky bugs. 

Storm Windows: A Cold Weather Solution

Windows often present a dilemma to people involved in renovating older houses. Beautiful though they may be, multiple-light, double-hung windows are simply at odds with comfort and energy efficiency. No one likes to sit near an expanse of glass on a frigid evening and feel the heat being sucked away.

Storm windows are the traditional solution to winter weatherization in a home with single-glazed windows — for good reasons. Add another layer of glazing (a catchall term that covers glass and its plastic imitators), and the heat loss from a window is virtually halved. Air leakage will also be reduced, further improving overall performance. Storm windows are convenient, as well. They can easily be removed in the spring and replaced with screens to let air in and keep bugs out.

With the advent of more-efficient windows, though, the storm window business all but collapsed. The only readily available products are aluminum framed, and mount to the face of the exterior window casings. If you find this solution aesthetically unacceptable, there's only one other option: custom storm windows, made by a mill works or by you.

Storm windows like the ones mentioned in this article have served five years now on a staff' member's turn-of-the-century farmhouse. Over the period, the design has been improved bit by bit to become as simple to build as possible while maintaining strength and appearance. This sorting-out period has shown us where to economize and where to buy the best.

Glazing and Wood

Even though it's the most expensive glazing, we use Plexiglas or another transparent, rigid plastic. Over the years, plastic films deteriorate in sunlight or end up punctured by tree limbs, errant Frisbees or berserk birds. And if one of those hazards doesn't spell the end of a glass pane, annual removal and storage eventually will. The only precaution we've learned concerning working with rigid plastic is to be sure to leave a 1/8 inch leeway on all sides of the panel so that it has room to move in the frame as it expands and contracts with temperature change.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters