In my bedroom, all 5 double-hung windows have broken sash cords on the
window counterweights. I was going to replace the cords, but when I took the
windows apart, I realized that those empty uninsulated cavities on 5 windows
are a huge heat loss. So now I'd like to stuff the cavities with insulation.
If I do this, is there another way to make the windows work correctly (stay
Thanks in advance,
I would like to add to my earlier post, posted as the dinner bell rang. I
agree with Joseph.
What I did in a similar situation was convert the double hung to single hung
and caulk all the cracks inside the weight cavity and the upper sash both
inside and out. Most of them have long since been painted shut in the
closed position anyway.
The usual modern revamp is to convert the sash to friction channels. The
cavities should be thoroughly filled with an approved insulating
material, then covered and sealed.
(Many 19th century windows of this type were not originally built with
sash cords -- if you have them they may be a 20th century retrofit. The
sash would have a button lock that would hold it in place in two or
Balance this with the preference by some old-house buyers for original
sash equipment. You can buy insulating covers that reduce the air flow
over the top of the sash cord pulley. Ultimately, although the cavity
has an effect, you should be more concerned with making sure the entire
window frame is properly caulked inside and out. It's air *flow* that
you need to worry about, and the innards of old window frames are full
of nooks and crannies that can let a minuscule draft through. If you
solve that the cavity is a null space the same as a double-glazed window.
Although I love old-fashioned windows myself, they require storm
windows, and my experience with the aluminum storm windows commonly
used, at least in a lot of extant buildings, has not been positive:
warping, drafts, impossible finger grips, etc. Just today I was dealing
with one of them whose weatherstripping is shot and whose parts no
longer fit together reasonably well.
What I'd really like is a way to use the original sash in a retrofit
that would resemble modern tilt-in vinyl windows, i.e. with all the ease
of use features but retaining as much of the original architectural
charm as possible.
imho if you're worried about the lost heat, the place to start is with the
windows themselves... im guessing since they use cords they are single
pane. replacing them with modern windows without the weights will solve
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