What are Storm Windows?

What are Storm Windows?

When it comes to adding comfort to your home there are many options from which to choose. We're not talking about warm prints and comfortable loungers; we're talking about having the desired temperature in your home. You may or may not have heard about storm windows. In truth, they were once popular and new modern windows have essentially eliminated the need for them but if you have an older historic home storm windows could be an option for. you. Storm windows can provide energy efficiency without requiring you to replace your home's original windows. 

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What is a Storm Window?

A storm window is a window that is mounted on the outside of existing window panes. Their purpose is to improve thermal insulation and soundproofing. They can also serve to protect glass windows from hail or branches that might fly about during stormy seasons. Storm windows are an alternative for homeowners who can't replace their windows without losing aesthetic value when it's time to sell.

Storm Window Construction

Materials used for storm windows range from thick glass units to flexible plastic sheets. Storm windows can be temporarily mounted for easy removal during warmer seasons, or fixed as a permanent solution for year-round benefits. The pane options will have different optical qualities and will also age differently over time. 

Wood, vinyl, and aluminum are the most common frame material options. Aluminum is strong, light, and maintenance-free, but can be a low insulating material. Wood and vinyl can be affected by extreme temperatures, expanding and contracting as a response. Buying a temporary storm window for the unbearable seasons might be your best option until you can budget for insulated replacement glass on your permanent windows. 

When selecting a storm window for your home, speaking to a professional will help answer your questions on the pros and cons of each feature. 

Storm Window FAQs

There are many questions surrounding storm windows, especially because they've become less common. Below are answers to two of the most commonly asked questions about storm windows. 

Can You Open Storm Windows?

Some models of storm windows can be opened but not all. If you choose to purchase storm windows with opening capabilities, then be sure to keep them clean and free of dust. Any debris or water that gets trapped inside a storm window could affect the impact of the window in the first place. Moisture that gets trapped between your storm window and existing home window can produce condensation and damage, such as rot in wooden frames.

Will Storm Windows Reduce My Energy Bills?

There are many factors involved when you want to reduce your energy bills. Each home is built differently and is susceptible to various climates. According to Energy.gov, storm windows or double-glazed sealed units will reduce the heat loss and overall home air leakage by ten percent. Storm windows can reduce your energy bills if properly installed. 

The U-factor of storm windows will also impact the window's ability to resist thermal heat flow. Look for storm windows that are made with low-E glass, thereby helping keep harmful UV rays out as well as provide ample insulation. 

What are Insulated Glass Windows?

 

Insulated glass windows, also known as Insulated Glass Units (IGU), are made up of multiple panes of glass with a fixed gas in the frame. They work to act as a barrier between the temperature in your home to the outdoor elements. The multiple layers of glass, non-toxic gas, and insulating frames help to resist heat and cold transfer.

Insulated Glass Units are Built For Energy Efficiency

  • Argon or krypton gas is used to fill the space between multiple panes and improves the thermal performance of windows. 
  • The glass can also combat conduction by being treated with thermal or chemical coatings or laminations. 
  • For strength and safety, windows can be made with tempered glass.

Do I Need Storm Windows For My House?

Modern constructions usually make use of multi-pane insulated glass windows. Check your windows, are they multi-pane or single pane. If your home has single pane windows, consider upgrading your home with replacement windows. If replacement windows are out of reach, get some bids for storm windows. Remember single pane windows are just window frames with a bit of glass—they don't have nearly the energy efficiency that can be provided by multi-pane windows with insulating gas. However, there are older historic homes that lose value when you replace or make changes to the original building elements, in this case it's worth exploring the possibility of adding storm windows. 

If your budget allows, and you are planning on staying in your home long-term, then replacing your single panes with multi-pane insulated glass will be a better solution. Make the best choice for your home by calling on a trustworthy window retailer and contractor for advice.