My Windows are Old. I Need to Replace Them Right?
Occasionally there are good reasons to replace old windows. But most can be repaired, restored, and tuned-up so that they operate smoothly and keep the cold air out, allowing you to maintain the original look of your home.
But What About Energy Savings?
In this article, you can see the evidence for yourself. The authors tested new windows and historic windows were tested against one another for air infiltration. Their results: “The results as shown in the report show that there was virtually no difference between the performance of the restored old windows and the new windows.” The replacement window companies make big claims about giant savings. The science tells a much different story. If you want a second opinion, ask any certified home energy auditor.
But Isn’t It Cheaper to Just Replace My Windows?
It is true that you may find deals on very inexpensive and poorly made vinyl windows, but they typically last only about 10 years and never look good or operate well. Compared to a high quality replacement window, a restored window is almost always less expensive.
Please read these studies!
I Want to Go “Green.” Shouldn’t I Invest in High-tech Double or Triple-glazed Windows?
While it is true that you might get a minuscule amount of savings from a new window on your current heating bill, even in the best case scenario this savings is completely wiped out by the embodied energy in a new window, the disposal of the old window and, most of all, the fact that the new window is likely to last only 20 or 30 years at which point it will need to be replaced again. That’s why they call them “replacement windows.” The energy pay-back time on a new window far exceeds its life span, in some cases by over a hundred years. Restoration is almost always the “greenest” approach.
Why do you like old windows so much?
The design of old houses was performed with careful attention to all the details, including the details you can see in your original windows. Old windows just plain look better. Many of the windows we work on have been performing well for 100 years and can work well for another 100. One of the misleading buzzwords in the construction industry is “maintenance free.” At Community Building and Restoration, “we like to say “maintenance free means non-maintainable.” New windows are slick, but can almost never be repaired. When they stop working, when a seal breaks, the glass gets cracked, or the hardware wears out, they end up in a landfill. As long as wood, glass, paint, and putty are available (and they are at any hardware store) an old window can be maintained and restored more or less forever.
What does window tuning involve?
In its most basic form it involves installing new sash cords, scraping off excess paint, and adjusting the hardware so the window operates easily and closes tightly. We also repair, replace, or add weatherstripping, replace broken glass or cracking glazing putty. In some cases windows need to be reglued or have rotten portions replaced or repaired with a special wood restoration epoxy. Contact us
Do you only tune windows in warm weather?
We tune windows year round. Often the sash is only out of the frame for a few hours, in which case the storm window is usually sufficient. If not, we can put up plastic or even rigid foam insulation to keep your house warm.