Insulating over windows?

Page 1 of 2  
(I suppose technically this isn't a repair question--but if I try this I'll probably break something and need repaid advice, so might as well start here! :-))
I've got a room with a couple windows--one is a view-only window (nothing that opens), and one that is a more regular window with a sliding section and a screen. The latter has some kind of storm window on the outside, so there is a layer of glass, an air gap, and the inner glass. The view window also has an outer and inner layer, but it is not sealed, and it is just regular air in there, not some special gas. (I've seen spiders in there, so know there is a connection to outside).
In winter, I have no need to look out these windows. The blinds are down all the time (and I wish the blinds were more effective--if I get bright sunlight, it makes it hard to see the TV and the computer screens in the room).
I'd like (1) less heat loss through the windows, and (2) less outside light in the room. Could I kill two birds with one stone here by covering the inside of the windows with some kind of insulation? Maybe make some kind of temporary wall-type structure out of a couple sheets of plywood with insulation between that would fit in the window frame, on top of the sill, that I could easily put up in winter and take down in summer? Or something along that general idea--maybe just one sheet with insulation behind it? Or maybe just put up sheets of insulation right on the window, held in place by tape, and covered by the blinds so it doesn't look ugly? Any pitfalls to avoid (like inadvertently causing a lot of condensation some place that I really don't want to have condensation?)
Am I at least going in a decent direction here, or is the whole idea nuts, and I should just get new windows if I want to reduce heat loss, and get some good curtains if I want dark?
--
--Tim Smith

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 17:46:54 -0800, Tim Smith

Your idea will work fine. Try a sheet of this http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId358-10477-15358&lpage=none cut to the proper size. Install with the shiny side in toward the heated room. Decorate as desired.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId358-10477-15358&lpage=none
I did not check the specific product, but remember that most foam products are not rated for exposure to inhabited areas as they are fire safety issues. Generally they must be installed behind a fire shield like drywall. There are some very good reasons for this.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

For instance, standards committee meetings full of risk managers from insurance companies who only pay for losses vs new construction costs, and drywall manufacturers eager to help write the code :-)
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You sound like the plumber who wrote to the rule makers telling them how great acid was for cleaning pipes. After a number of letters back and forth, they finally used words he could understand: It eats the *&%* out of the pipes.
When that stuff gets in a fire it gives off deadly fumes. Those rules usually are written after someone dies. I am old enough to know you should learn form others errors.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Take it easy on the fool. His parents never urged him to read.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No more than other building materials, eg plywood. I've served on standards committees. NOBODY represents the public.
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
...

Yea sure.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 28 Dec 2007 08:43:10 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote Re Re: Insulating over windows?:

Ditto on that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Go burn some foam products in your closed garage, with you in it. Let us know how that works out compared to breathing something like firewood smoke.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Yea. Those insurance companies are interested in reducing their cost. The most expensive part of their loss is the loss of human life or injury. They are on your side. The insurance companies spend a lot of time and money looking at the results of fires and the damage done and what materials did the damage.
Think nigh club fires.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Station_nightclub_fire
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm not too worried about fire. I sleep in the living room (about 10 years ago, I found that I liked a VERY firm sleeping surface--I sleep better on a rug on the floor than on a bed, and if I'm going to sleep on the floor, why not make it the living room floor, where I've got my TV, and use the bedrooms for more storage?), so am about 6 feet from the front door to outside. If I ever decide I do want a bed, the master bedroom ALSO has a door to outside. And it is a one story house with plenty of windows that could be broken and exited through, plus yet another door to outside between the living room and master bedroom.
The two windows I'm interested in insulating are in the living room, but are not near any sources of ignition, so would only become dangerous well after any fire has gotten quite large--large enough that if I'm still in the living room, I'm probably already dead on the floor.
--
--Tim Smith

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Think about not waking up due to that fire. It happens and some materials, the kind that we are talking about, can kill you before you even wake up.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 30 Dec 2007 06:52:59 -0500, "Joseph Meehan"

If you want to see how quickly a *large* room with high ceilings can fill with thick, black, toxic smoke, see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6rP2m28itU&feature=related

Sadly, the odds of anyone surviving this fire if didn't get reach the exits within the first sixty seconds from the point of ignition would be slim. Simply put: saving energy and money is great, but never put your life and property at risk.
Cheers, Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Now, that should be shown to every college student who hasn't thought about the beer+candlesnger equation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 30 Dec 2007 14:06:33 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

Hi Joe,
Twenty-five years ago, I survived a house fire when a friend placed an electric [plastic body] kettle on top of an electric range and, in a heavy mental fog, turned on the stove burner instead of the kettle; she then left for the corner store to get milk. I was shaving in the bathroom with the door closed and heard what I assumed to be a street cleaner -- it turned out to be the smoke alarm I had installed just a few months earlier. By the time I figured that one out (*), the house was completely filled with thick, acrid smoke and fire had already spread up the kitchen wall to the ceiling. Heading down the stairs, I was choking so hard I though I would pass out -- the speed at which this transpired still amazes me to this day.
Cheers, Paul
(*) I know it's hard to believe anyone could mistake a piercing smoke alarm for a street cleaner but with the door closed, the sound was muffled and the pitch was similar to a vacuum street sweeper (a pulsating or beeping alarm wouldn't have been so easily dismissed, and bear in mind, when you're half asleep your house on fire may not be the first explanation that leaps to mind). This should be obvious to anyone, but if you have kids, make sure they recognize the sound of the smoke alarm and know what to do if it should go off.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And what about trapping moisture inside the new barrier/s as many inexperienced folks tend to do? I think I'd just opt to put this money toward new windows come spring and fix the problem right. No one can 'see' the situation from here and what the current installation looks like, but it seems likely to be drafty windows.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't detect any drafts near the windows (but haven't done a test with smoke yet--I just can't feel any draft).
It's not clear there is a problem. I would just like my electric bill to be lower. :-) My house is about 2.5 times the size my apartment was, so I expected utilities to cost more, but there is more to that "more" than I was hoping for. (Although I probably underestimated, because I did not take into account the fact that the apartment was a middle floor apartment, so had heated rooms above and below it, and on three sides, providing both heat and insulation).
The windows are colder than the walls, which is why I'm thinking they could be improved. For example, in one of the living room walls, there is a big window. It has two panes of glass. The wall right now is 70F (according to a non-contact IR thermometer).
The living room side of the inner pane of glass of the window in that wall is 60F. That window does not open, so I don't know what the inside side of the outer pane is.
On the other outside living room wall, the wall is 71F. The living room side of the window is 62F. That window DOES open, and opening the inner pane, and measuring the inside side of the storm window, I get 53F.
It's about 33F outside.
I don't remember enough from my thermodynamics class 30 years ago to know what the heck this means, but having two big areas of 60F on the wall of a room that I want to have at 70F seems like something that I might want to do something about--and if I can do it with a cheap kludge rather than expensive new windows, I'm all for it! :-)
(I'll eventually get new windows, but even if I wanted to do that now, I'd still go for a cheap kludge first, just to get some data on how much the windows are affecting my heating bill. That would give me some data to use to figure out how much better windows would be worth).
--
--Tim Smith

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How about some 3M heat shrink window film, JUST IN CASE you want to look out the windows, and then a set of cheap curtains from JC Penney? Penney's always seems to be running a sale. I covered a 96" wide window for under $100. You should be able to do it for half of that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you dont mind darkening the room use R 7.2 polisuranite foam board, paint it dark on the outside but not Black in suns exposure
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.