Improving old windows?

Everybody wants to sell you new energy-efficient windows. What is the best that can be done to refurbish/upgrade old wooden windows? I have outer storm panes so I have an insulating air gap. Seems like old windows might need a few more gaskets to seal them tighter, but I'm hoping for something a bit better than the cheesy adhesive foam strips. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Start a savings account for new windows. Refurbishing is way too expensive and only justified in an historical restoration. Seal and calk as best you can until your budget is ready for window replacement.
Joe
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Storm windows do help with the drafts but don't be fooled the air space between the storm and the window is not "dead air space".
How old is the window? Rope and weights can be replaced with more modern channels but the cost will be darn close to the cost of a new insulated thermopane window. Probably more if you hire both jobs done.
Using a removable rope caulk type product to fill the air gaps for the winter or even longer is about the best looking temporary thing you can do. Much better looking than those stapled up plastic sheets. Does no damage when removed like those cheesy adhesive foam strips do. Cleaning that crap up is an ordeal.
Caulking the upper sash into place so that a double hung window becomes a single hung will reduce the air flow 50%. I often do this since the upper sashes rarely work on a 40 year old window.
An interior acrylic storm held in place with magnetic strips seems to work fairly well in some of the older historical home where modern storm windows are not allowed. I suspect they would be a PITA to place and take down each season but how many of us really open windows anymore?
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Colbyt
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On Sat, 30 Oct 2010 14:26:43 -0400, "Colbyt"

Actually, once the mounting strips are installed, removing and replacing the magnetic storms is VERY simple. The one brand the window place I worked for carried had the magnets on the window, and the metal strip mounted to the window frame, once painted, was virtually invisible. It was almost unbelievable how much it reduced noise transmission from the street outside in an old industrial building converted to offices and boutiques.
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re: "how many of us really open windows anymore"
Count me as 1.
It's one of the many reasons I decided to replace all of my windows a year after getting central air.
Aside from the efficiency gains, I got really tired of raising sashes and storms every time the weather got nice and we wanted fresh air - especially those windows that are behind a desk or bed, making it next to impossible to get the required 2 hands on the tabs for the storms and screens
Now it's one hand job for any window with no need to deal with storms. I can (and do) open every window in my house in matter of a few minutes with next-to-no effort.
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-snip-

Me two. Not every window, every day-- but man, when I want some fresh air- it sure beats walking all the way outside.<g>
Jim
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On 10/30/2010 1:41 PM, Davej wrote:

Last year, I made some frames out of wood and stretched and glued a sheet of mylar on each side. I ripped them out of a white pine 2x4 (~3/8 x 1 1/2) and sealed the wood. Very cheap and very transparent. A little felt for the seal and a big improvement. Goes on the inside. You could stack them if you wish with thick felt between. Probably each layer adds a bit less than R1 (~1.8 per storm) as there is no low e coating. Mylar degrades in UV so it's best to either have a UV block or not have them south facing for longest life. Mylar is cheap enough to replace though. There's also a lot of heat shrink film available. A similar inside storm can cut your heat loss per window in half.
If you have old double hung, you'll want to tape or otherwise seal the slots for the weights and where the upper and lower sash meet. Stop any drafts you feel wherever they are.
If you don't need to look through the window, you can use bubble wrap. If they are covered, you can just push in some insulation board.
An IR thermometer is helpful in finding thermal breaks. Use it on a cold day. Whatever you can do to find and reduce weak spots helps a lot.
Just some cheapy ideas, if you have the money, there's really good windows these days.
Jeff
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I'm not familiar with mylar. Do you mean the stuff they sell as a reflective window coating? My windows have recessed wound springs as counterweights. I think the obvious upgrade would be to remove the lower half (sash?) of each window and install a quality gasket at the bottom and top.
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On 10/31/2010 12:57 PM, Davej wrote:

Yes, but without the reflective coating, otherwise known as polyester. I suggest 2 mil, 1 mil takes more care. I glued mine on with contact adhesive.
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/conservation.htm#WindowTreatments
Specifically:
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/MylarStorms.htm
My windows have recessed wound springs as

Felt works well. I cut up a moving blanket. Much thicker and cheaper than the thin felt Frost King and such sell.
Stop any drafts, then add storms if you like.

Until a few months ago I had little money for weatherizing and did it all on the cheap. You can do a lot with a little as there are always major weaknesses in old homes. You just have to find thermal holes and stop them. They can be anywhere. You may not need to be as frugal as I was.
Jeff
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I never saw it but there was a thermal imaging device that was available to visually see hot spots which were cold spots for where to place attention. Was I think part of a energy audit.
http://www.nationalinfrared.com/Energy_Audit.php
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wrote:

Although it is a TYPE of polyester, asking for polyester film won't get you Mylar. It is biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) polyester film

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