I have a 50 year old house and 50 year old windows. This winter I
noticed that the original glazing had been chipping off and the only
thing holding some of the panes in place was paint so I resolved to
reglaze the windows this spring (no summer). Should I just replace
them? They are pretty air-tight and I did not feel much of a breeze
coming through them except for the coldest and windiest days of the
winter and a lot of that I attribute to the old glazing. Each window
has a storm window but the inside window does feel very cold to the
touch in the winter so I'm not sure how much they help. I'm trying to
weight the cost of replacing the windows with the savings that I will
realize for replacing as opposed to the savings I will get from
Here's a picture of the window
What would you do in this situation?
On Tue, 17 Jun 2008 12:06:25 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Disagree: the payback for replacement is a long time (close to 20
years), and your windows look in good shape. You've got storm windows
covering them, and the combination is a pretty good insulator. Not as
good as a high-quality (EXPENSIVE!) new window, but very effective
functionally and costwise. My 78-year old windows with triple-track
storms are doing just fine.
I noticed the comfort/sound reduction/ energy saving after having half
the windows replaced. I had some more done recently and will get the
rest done as well. I am likely to be in this house for at least 20
years. Last gas bill during heating season was 30 therms less than
the prior year's. This was with half the windows replaced. I expect
gas prices to be up so the less I use the better
I'd look at the cost for replacements. Newer windows will be more energy
efficient. Not sure, but you may qualify for a tax credit on some Energy
Star purchases. At least this was the case for 2007. Not sure about
You mentioned a draft on a windy day. If the wind is coming in, heat is
going out. You could recover the cost of the windows in just a few years.
I found a kit several years ago consisting of two side tracks and two
sashes. I could rip out the old window sash and stops, and install the
kit easily within 20-30 minutes a window. What a difference it made.
Newer windows are also double paned and some even have low-e glass.
I'm also concerned about the heat in the house pushing up against the
freezing cold window and decreasing in temp. I've been putting this
off because I also need to do something about the 60 year old
insulation in my walls that seems to be quite lacking. I'd hate to
replace the windows only to start another project of insulating the
walls. Seems to me that both should be done at the same time. I'm just
not sure which way I should go on wall insulation. Some contractors
tell me that blow in is a waste and that I should rip out the inside
walls and put in traditional fiberglass, others tell me that I
shouldn't bother with the wall insulation and just reinsulate the
attic so it's very confusing on what I should be focusing on.
Everything I read tells me that most of the heat is lost through the
attic and windows but I can't get over how cold some of the walls are
in my house in the winter.
Are you sure there's insulation?
I've owned 3 homes circa 1920's and 1930's: NO insulation. I blew in
cellulose and all houses were most comfortable and soundproofed. On a
brick house, the material was blown in on the inside to minimize damage
to bricks. On the other two, it was on the outside by drilling 2" holes
and plugging them. The issue is fire stops also prevent insulation from
filling the entire stud cavity.
It may be worth your while to have someone do a thermograph (?) of your
building so you can see where the leaks and deficiencies are.
If you plan to stay in your home for many years, what you do now will
cost you less than it will 5-10 years from now and you will start to save
money immediately with respect to heating/cooling costs. You have to
decide. No one else can.
My advice: Go for it and don't look back. Enjoy your house and make it a
place to which you love to come home.
I would also check for tax credits and incentives. Does your utility
company offer help?
Energy Star Low e Argon windows will save probably 10-20% on your
bills depending on brand and how bad yours are, Attic insulation is
most important, if you live in a cold winter area going alot above
code minimums is smart. Attics are the cheapest to do, windows and
walls cost the most. You need an energy audit done to see what you
have and what you can save. This is a Blower Door test that gives an
accurate printout of how many air exchanges your home has and how many
it should have. The tech will pinpoint air leaks with a smoke stick so
you know what to fix. Then a load calculation is done to see where you
are now and where you can go with windows and insulation. Many bigger
heating contractors have blower door test equipment and should know
how to do a load calculation. www.energystar.gov is a good place to
putting in putty vs.
new windows. It would be a good deal of work to reglaze, but it isn't
rocket science. I
would be inclined to keep the existing windows for esthetic reasons, but
fuel costs are
the issue of the day.
Well, I don't mind spending money on new windows but I'm going to feel
foolish if my fuel usage stays static with the new windows and the
real problem was the walls. How can I find out where the heat is
Follow ransley's advice and get an energy audit. Your PowerCo may have
it as a service or the heating fuel source distributor...
If it's a 50-yr old house, it's almost certainly under-insulated by
today's standards unless it has been relatively recently upgraded
significantly. Of course, you can look at attic, basement, etc.,
yourself and see what's there. The walls and finding the air leaks,
etc., are where it can really help plus a good inspector will spot any
unique features of the particular building.
I intended to add that if the windows are in as good a condition as they
appear from that picture on the outside, I'll venture they're not going
to have a very quick payback at all.
I'm virtually positive I'd reglaze and (perhaps) look into
higher-quality storms as those appear to be pretty inexpensive aluminum
ones as the cheaper and more cost-effective route.
But, the audit will tell you where you're big-ticket items are and how
far down on the list the windows are in comparison.
You may not mind but it's still a lot of bucks. If you make the decision
to replace that's only 1/3 of it. You need to get good windows AND they
need to be installed properly according to the mfgrs specs. Get that in
the contract. They won't put it in the contract they they won't put it
in the walls.
Had a couple of bathroom windows (oh the moisture!) in a NE house where
it gets -25 some winters. Ice so bad you could skate. Enough wind to
iceboat on that ice.
I put in a couple of Andersons - windows, window foam, rubber flashing
tape, silicone on window wings and final trim...followed ALL the mfgrs
steps with no "aw you don't really need that"s. No more ice, no drafts,
no cold bathrooms and one happy lady. Now she says the rest of the
windows in the house suck. I moved back to NC.
You get good windows with a hack install or visa-versa and you WILL be
BTW, being 2x6 walls, the windows required jamb extensions. The Borg
does not stock them. Special order to the tune of weeks. Went to local
building supply. Special order also. Came in in 3 business days.
Reputty as needed, fix up or replace the exterior storms, and (if you
are feeling ambitious) pull the interior casing, and fill the voids with
LOW-expansion foam-in-a-can. (The regular stuff will bend the window
frame and jam them shut.) On a windy cool day, check each window with a
punk stick or cigar smoke, for air leaks, and fine-tune the
weatherstripping as needed.
The above will give most of the payback of new windows, at a much lower
price point. I was in a very similar situation, crunched the numbers,
and the payback on new windows (including the assumed payback at resale)
was way longer than I plan to be here.
I'm in Connecticut in a Cape and the 2nd floor is always colder than
the first which tells me that my primary expense should be
reinsulating the attic - which is a job in itself for a Cape because I
need to rip up the ceiling to do it. Just don't know if I have the
budget to do that, replace the windows and blow in wall insulation. So
I think I'm going to have to do 2 out of 3.
I'm no expert on windows. However, I can offer a data point for you from
a recent job of mine. I replaced a client's windows recently: it was a
Marvin double-hung, double-glazed "Tilt-Pak" window with low-E glass.
The replacement sashes cost $360 ordered from the factory (drop-in
If your windows (frames) are OK, I'd seriously consider just re-puttying
them (that's what you mean by "glazing": that word normally refers to
the glass, not the putty).
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
Actually, that is the alternate meaning, not the primary...
1: the action, process, or trade of fitting windows with glass
2 a: glasswork b: glaze
3: transparent material (as glass) used for windows
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