Window replacement / sash replacement

I have a house built in 1981. Wooden windows. Most of the windows are fogged up due to leaks in the gas seals. Most also are very drafty and the spring systems seem pretty much shot, because the bottom sash won't stay up when I open the window, and the top sash slides down on its own when the window is unlocked.
I was looking into replacements, and saw a lot of talk on the web about sash replacement systems, where you just replace the sashes and the spring/weight system in the window, leaving the frames. I don't have any rot or anything in the frames, so this seemed like a good alternative to full replacement, since they don't cost as much and, most importantly, I can do it myself and save installation costs.
But, my current windows do not have storm windows. They just have screens, and those don't even slide up and down, they just snap into place.
Now, my question: If I want to get storm windows (and I do), can I still do something short of replacing the entire window, frame and all? If so, what? (again, preferably a DIY job).
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in message

Since storms are fitted to the frames, your new sash will not affect your decision to get storm windows. Your problem, however, will be finding those storms. You may be limited to finding a local custom storm window fabricator. An alternative might be to purchase one of these "sash packs" as they are called and try the system to see if it works in one of your windows. Windsor and Eagle both offer them, pehaps others as well. Try Weathershield, Pella and Marvin. (I like windsor's. Google them in Des Moines) If the one installation goes well, you should do the rest and see how you like the difference. What you will find is an improved weatherseal over the 25-year-old units you now are struggling with and glass in excess of r4 (LowE2/argon), the combination of which will obviate the need for storms. You will probably double the cost of the job with custom fabricated storms anyway. Not to mention the added hassle of cleaning 4 surfaces instead of 2, off-season storing, fire egress complications and the rest of it. Storms are out unless you live in Northern Labrador.
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Thanks. Have you heard of Simonton windows and, if so, what is your opinion of them?
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (mike korenchuk) wrote in message

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in message

I was not aware that Simonton was selling wood windows. Their vinyl unit is low end but should still carry a long warrantee. Were you considering vinyl replacements? If so, look at Windsor and Milgard. Silverline is HDs house window and is identical to the unit with the silverline nameplate.
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Mike, I guess I should have made that clear. From what I have seen (and I readily admit I'm just learning as I go), the wooden sash replacement systems are a lot more money and look like they are harder to install (no "give" like vinyl has). Because of that, I figured vinyl was the way to go. I looked into vinly-covered wood, but can't find that in a sash replacement, although I'd use it if I decided on replacing the entire window.
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (mike korenchuk) wrote in message

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Any "give" that vinyl has (I assume you mean the window can compress in the sash--good grief) would make it impossible to raise & lower the window. That's just silly.
I installed new sash kits in my old house. It was a 1940s house, the openings were plumb & square. It was incredibly easy.
In my new house, c. 1902, none of the openings are true. So I will probably have to go with custom inserts or complete new windows. Someday.
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By "give" I mean that vinyl sashes, unlike wood, can be twisted / bent without breaking and splintering. I'm not speaking of grabbing a sash and twisting it into a pretzel, here. I am speaking of some little give that may help when trying to fit the sashes into place, or if the frame is not perfectly square.
That being said, what sash replacements did you use the first time? Were they wood or vinyl? Would you recommend them?

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Man, I just can't picture a sash "giving" or "twisting". It has glass in it, after all!
Anyway, I used Pozzi, and yes, I liked them. They were wood inside, aluminum clad outside, very sturdy and the price was excellent. The sash liners were easy to install. Each window took about an hour (less after we got the hang of it!)

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in message

I am not aware of any vinyl window sash replacement units. I believe you will be using wood sash with a pre-finished aluminum exterior if you want to replace only the sash. the alternate is to replace the entire window with a vinyl unit sized to the rough opening or sized to the existing jambs when the existing sash are removed. Keeping the existing jambs downsizes the clear opening (sight lines) but retains interior and exterior trim when necessary. Agree with Betsy that windows are not to be forced or twisted in any way but should float in the opening. Prime importance in your decision to go wood sash packs or complete vinyl replacement is cost and the value of the house for resale, unless this is the last stop for you. The whole enchilada is wood window replacement with Eagle, Marvin or Pella. Mike
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