Window questions!

G'day folks:
I am interested in learning more about window inserts. We're thinking of replacing our windows this year, my husband had someone come last night to measure and provide a quote.
Our house is about 35 years old, and the windows are quite drafty. We cover a lot of them with plastic in winter.
On the subject of windows, we're fairly clueless. The man who came to measure was very informative, explained the difference between single and double hung, inserts vs. completely new windows, etc. We're thinking of going with the inserts, although he did caution that there's no way to know if the frames are properly insulated, which is a bit of a concern. Double hung sounds like a better option, but is it?
So, what experiences do you fine folks have on putting new windows or inserts into a house?
Thanks,
KD
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All glass is different, You can go from R1 to R7 windows. Loewen has different glass for different parts of the country and sides of your home. You should get the specs of what you are looking at, be sure a rea lab did the testing and compare them. www.EnergyStar.gov is a good place to learn about windows and what you can save on your utility bills. Windows are commonly overlooked as to how you can save money.
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KD wrote:

The place to begin is figuring out why your present windows are drafty. Got single pane with storms? No storms? Wood? Aluminum? It is possible that the solution is just adequate caulking around the outside of the window, but not usually that simple. When I lived in an uninsulated rental home years ago, with aluminum windows, I recaulked around the outside one fall. The gas bill went down 20% that winter. It was one story, on a slab and with no windbreaks, so the north end of that house was still cold in winter.
If the windows are sound, and you need storms, then perhaps that is the solution. Also look at how they fit in the frames .. new weatherstripping in double hungs is also a possible solution.
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Not in my opinion. Double-hung windows mean both top & bottom panes slide up/down. Single-hung, only the bottom one moves. This by itself means single-hung windows are less drafty. How many times do you really need to lower the top pane anyhow?
As for the insert vs complete replace thing, I'm on the "complete replace" side, having done just that three years ago to all the glass in this house. If you get insert windows, they will look like insert windows. You'll end up with your current frame's width plus whatever width the insert window's frame is. You are probably talking 5-6" from the inside edge of the insert window to the outer edge of the existing wood trim.
One other type to consider is awning-type windows. They're actually the most draft-free since they have something to seal against, something to pull tight against. In windy areas (40 + mph I'd say, like this area from time to time) my vinyl windows sometimes whistle, which awning-types wouldn't do.
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To paint them is about it.

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This dates to the years before air conditioning. When you are ventilating a room with convection, opening the top sash allows the hot air at the top of the room to get out. That is the same reason why they had transoms over doors
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Bingo. That is why houses down south (especially in swampy areas like New Orleans and Washington DC) often had damn-near floor-to-ceiling double-hungs. Population down south didn't really start spiking till a/c got practical and cheap- it gets NASTY down there in summer.
-- aem sends...
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