Home>Discussions>DOORS & WINDOWS>historical preservation vs. staying warm
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Robb
historical preservation vs. staying warm

I have a 1715 Cape with old windows. The windows have been dated to the early 1800's. Still have old glass in them. Considering the cost of fuel oil nowadays, I want to tighten up the house. I'm curious about the thermal efficiency of putting new windows in (12 over 12) vs. reglazing the old windows and installing new storms (invisible). Also should say that I would like to put new siding on the front. Presently, there is the original Oak/chestnut sheathing with the original shakes and a layer of cedar shingles over the shakes. I do not believe there is any insulation in the wall as the interior plaster appears to be applied directly to the inside of the exterior sheathing. Any insulating ideas for the wall would also be appreciated.

Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

Repair and maintain your old windows. The efficiency of well maintained old windows with wood storms is as good as any new window. The added benefit is that you or anyone can maintain them. The real problem is air infiltration not radiant loss. Tune your windows up with brass weather stripping, re-glaze them to keep the air movement at a minimum. That is where the real savings will be. Once you replace your window you have charted a path that means when these windows need fixing and they will they will have to be replaced. This is the same for you and any new owner that purchases your house. Permanent replacement windows means you have to keep replacing them permanently.

mgrubb
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

Agree with the previous poster about the efficency of the windows. And even if the windows do cause some heat loss, un-insulated walls will cause your house to feel colder than what it is and will increase your heating costs tremendously. Think how efficient and comfortable radiant floor heat is, then reverse that. You have huge radiant wall cooling! I live in northern New England in an 88 year old home, which just like yours, lacked insulation in walls. Adding insulation to the 2x4 stick construction has made a huge HUGE difference. Even though the cost of oil and gas has went up each year that I've owned the house (4), my total gas usage has dropped enough that I've actually paid less each year. And like you, I have double hung windows with storms.

So, good luck.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

I agree with PlasterMaestro, the biggest savings people see with new windows is because they have new and tight weather striping not because of the double or triple pane glass.
Jack

k12009
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

I'm sorry, but a perfect single pane window is a horrible energy waster even without air leakage. A regular house with tight windows loses half its heat through the windows. half of the rest is through the roof[that is wh we call for r50 in the roof] The walls are just not that big a deal.

Simply tightening them up windows is not enough.

I always figured if I lived in a historic district I would have insulated storms that install from the inside, one large pane that would visually disappear and could be removed in the summer when you wanted to open the window. The advantage would also be that they would not fog as much, with the leaky window being the outer ones.

bi-glass
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

have you looked at double pane glass into your wood windows. along with glass, refitting, weatherstripping, and weight pocket insulation bi-glass would work for you. bi-glass.com

lauriceshaw
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

Hello Rob,

Just joined TOH discussions and envy your position in such a venerable home.

I live in Newport RI and have a small business restoring/repairing old windows. Don't know when you posted this (not familiar with blogs or whatever) but I hope you still have your 'old beauties'. They are worth keeping for many reasons. The efficiency related issues you mention can all be addressed without replacement.

Cheers,

Laurie @newportwindowsavers.com

lumber62
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

K12009, the first step should be to insulate the walls, that would get the best return on the investment. Then fix and correct any leaks and gaps from the windows.

taurusrex
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

Repair and maintain your old windows.

windowguyva
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm

Rob:
Many window companies off historicaly correct windows. Eagle Windows and Doors by Andersen are and have been specified on National Historical Landmark Projects across the country. Other compines have been as well. I however sell Andersen products. The difference in the windows of years gone by and the windows produced today are as different as night and day. Please do some research and you will see that you can get quailty new windows and doors that replicate what you currently have.

BungalowMo
Re: historical preservation vs. staying warm
PlasterMaestro wrote:

Repair and maintain your old windows. The efficiency of well maintained old windows with wood storms is as good as any new window. The added benefit is that you or anyone can maintain them. The real problem is air infiltration not radiant loss. Tune your windows up with brass weather stripping, re-glaze them to keep the air movement at a minimum. That is where the real savings will be. Once you replace your window you have charted a path that means when these windows need fixing and they will they will have to be replaced. This is the same for you and any new owner that purchases your house. Permanent replacement windows means you have to keep replacing them permanently.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Original windows can be maintained & kept for as long as the structure lasts.

Vinyl is polluting the air during the manufacture process. They often cannot be repaired, they are expensive & can take over 15 years of energy "savings" (this is assuming the old windows are never maintained) to actually recoup the initial investment.

Replacements NEVER FIT your home the way originals do. They pop in the replacement & seal it with calking & cover up the edges with cheesy trimwork that is totally unlike the originals in your home.

I fixed (and am still fixing) mine....you can too.

Reglaze them...your house will be happier for it. It's been there long before you came along & will be there long after you're gone. Be a caretaker...not a destroyer.

This issue is so much more than an oil bill.

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