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Nicole
Storm Window Woes
Nicole

Last year, our contractor replaced our 60-year-old storm windows with Larson Performance 3-track storms. We encountered several problems: the windows not operating smoothly, rain leaking into several of them, condensation/frost forming on the storms upstairs, and, when the temperature dropped to single digits, condensation/frost forming on the inside of the primary (wooden) windows both upstairs and downstairs. We had none of these issues with our old storms. We're not sure if the rain leaking in is from poor window construction or improper installation. The contractor fiddling/replacing some of the sashes and screens solved SOME of the poor sliding issues. Adding more caulking (around screw holes, etc. where it should not be needed) MAY have solved the rain leaking issue with a couple of test windows. The condensation on the storms seems to point to tighter storms than we had before (and leaky primary windows). However, the condensation/frost on the primary windows seems to point to colder temperatures between the primaries and storms, which would indicate leakier storm windows than we had previously. We tried covering our upstairs windows with plastic (inside), which greatly reduced the condensation on the storms on the south and west-facing windows, but had no effect on the east-facing windows. After a few months of winter heating, the condensation/frost on the primary windows reduced. 

Our options at this point seem to be 1) to keep our current frames, patching them with extra caulking to try to prevent rain leakage,  and ordering replacement low-e glass in the hope that it reduces the condensation problems; 2) to replace the storms with Larson's L203E model (2-track Premium system)--however the air infiltration rates on these windows seems to be only slightly better than our current storms, despite the extra weather stripping, according to the Energy Star website (0.7 versus 0.8); or 3) to go with a different manufacturer, such as Harvey's 3-track storm, which claims a 0.05 air infiltration rate--a rate which seems to be based on testing done with no weep holes. (Harvey is not Energy Star rated/tested, so we don't have a true comparison.) We are at our wits' end, and at a loss as to how to proceed. Switching manufacturers would likely be much more expensive and may not actually solve our problems. We're not happy with Larson, either, though. At this point, we really wish we'd left our 60-year-old storms that didn't open in place. Only one of those leaked rain, and we had no condensation issues!

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