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Condo Windows Leak Like Sieves - Help!

Hi there ... Recently bought a condo, my first, and I knew the old single-pane historic district windows would need replacing eventually but I did not expect them to be SUCH air-leak factories. Storm windows are already installed, but I'm not sure of their quality.

What especially concerns me is that not only do the windows leak all around the frame but the walls on both sides of the frame are cold and feel hollow -- this suggests that there is no insulation at all in there and even if I can caulk/weatherstrip the windows effectively, the walls will still be a problem. The side of the condo is concrete and brick, so spray-in insulation from the outside isn't an option, and I don't have the money to pay for someone to rip up the wall and put in new foam brick insulation from the inside. Can anyone advise on short-term fixes that I can do myself? Is it particularly important to reseal the glass to the frame if it looks shaky?

Thanks in advance for your help. Building dates to 1890, renovated in 1984, if that helps. Windows are sash, single-pane, with wide bay-type sills (that also absorb the cold).

Re: Condo Windows Leak Like Sieves - Help!

"Can anyone advise on short-term fixes that I can do myself?"

I'm afraid not, your choices are limited by the type of wall you have there and by the way your window frames are installed. Most insulation projects are better when done by insulation contractors.

The only cheap short term fix is to dress more warmly when you're inside and to sleep with 2 blankets.

Re: Condo Windows Leak Like Sieves - Help!

In my fair state the condo owner does not own the shell of the building. Any "repairs" or "improvements" you make may need board approval.

There are interior systems made to block the air flow, sheets of clear plastic that heat shrink to a perfect fit and plexiglass panes with a magnetic edge that stick to an L metal strip around the inside of the opening.

Re: Condo Windows Leak Like Sieves - Help!

You can't do anything to the outside (which includes the windows) without authorization from whoever controls the Condo (management, HOA, or building owner). If that is not forthcoming (which it probably won't be) then you may have legal options which your lawyer can explain. From the inside you may take measures to seal the windows, but they must be operable for fire egress reasons so it's unlikely that you can effect a good seal there- just do what you can. Plastic can be placed on the inside but this isn't aesthetic and it won't help missing insulation in the walls.

Condos are rarely a good deal save for cases where you won't be there too long and the buildings are relatively new where the resale market is hot. I've never seen one I'd want to own if I could do better, and I've worked on many where I wondered why the buildings weren't condemned already due to structural faults which no inspector would pass. My advice is to get out while there is still some value left in it. There will never be a TV show called "This Old Condo" because none of them will last that long!


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