triple pane windows?

I have a house constructed as follows: first a basic ranch house was built, years later an extension went out the back with a garage under it. The front part of the house was built with standard double pane windows but then storm windows were placed over those. The front is also well insulated.
The extension seems to lose heat for a number of reasons. The ceiling is knotty pine and fits into the shape of the room so there is little or no insulation under that roof- but I can't tell as there is no way to see into it. I presume the walls have at least some insulation- it was built about 15 years ago and I'm sure it was inspected (in Massachusetts). Some heat is lost to the unheated garage underneath.
So, since I don't know what I can do about loss to the roof or basement- I thought I could do something with the windows, which in the extension are double paned- perhaps I could add storms over the. There are a lot of windows, on 3 sides of this large room (roughly 34x22).
But I've been told by 2 people that it would be a waste of money- one was an energy auditor and he ought to know- the other was an employee at Home Depot who said he took a course on insulation.
With heating oil approaching $4/gallon, would adding storms on double paned windows be that bad an investment?
Joe
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Hi Joe, I guess like a sieve......If you block some of the holes the water still drains. A well insulated house is cold with the door left open.... You may have to re-insulate.....both cielings...... then double pane windows would help jloomis

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I agree, the energy savings on double vs. triple glazing would be minimal, unless the rest of the room was extremely tight, which it appears not to be. You most likely have R-11 in the walls, guessing from your state and time period. Icynene or some type of polyurethane foam would probably work well, especially in the ceilings. Remember the priority order - ceilings, walls, windows, doors, floors. You can model the energy savings using a free energy program like RESCHECK. It will calculate the actual energy savings based on the info you enter. I use a NY state program, but the results are valid anywhere.
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Joe,
I would have the house scanned with an IR camera with a blower door test. You can throw money at the problem all day without having a significant effect if you don't have a scientific way of prioritizing. Don't underestimate heat lost to the garage below. Rooms above garages are notoriously bad because the insulation in horizontal surfaces is usually installed incorrectly so that it lays against the bottom (garage ceiling) surface rather than flush against the floor of the living space. Overhangs are the same situation. For spaces like those, you may want to investigate dense packed cellulose. Or, if you really want to do a good job on it, rip out the garage ceiling and spray polyurethane onto the bottom of the floor above. But again, scan the house and prioritize the tasks. It will be the best money you spend.
also, remember some of the easy, big energy holes. An uninsulated, non air-sealed attic hatch can double the heat loss of the attic.
Once you're all done with insulating and sealing the house up, get rid of the archaic oil burner. Oil and propane are, by far, the most expensive heating these days (besides electric resistance). If you're in the expensive area of Mass., then you're paying ~$0.19/kwh for electric. Even then, a good heat pump will save you 20-40% of your heating bill vs. oil. Geothermal will push it to an ~55% saving. If your electric rates are lower, then the savings will be proportionally better.
Good luck!
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