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Xinh Xinh
Where to start?

Thank you all in advance for any input. I'll really appreciate it.

I have bought a little house (my life long American dream), guess around 35 to 50 years old and in very bad condition. It is safe to live in but costs so much for heating and cooling. I am thinking to replace the windows but love the look of old windows. I am wondering if there is any ways to safe to old windows but improve air-tightness with a modest budget. What are the pros and cons of buying windows and installing services from places like Lowe's / Home Depot vs local window business.

Since I can't perform the work myself and have very limited resources to improve my home, I need as much of advices as I can before I make the move. So thank you for your words.

Re: Where to start?

Saving old windows is a good place to start. Most old windows are made of far better materials than newer windows, and the good news is, it takes a LOT of time but very little money to restore an old wood window.

Post a picture of your house to give us an idea of what you're talking about. A picture is worth a thousand words, except when it comes to old houses. In that case, a picture is worth a million words!

Rosemary THornton
author, The Houses That Sears Built

Re: Where to start?

I agree with RosemaryT, restoring the windows and installing proper weather stripping will give you a much greater bang for you buck than new windows.

Re: Where to start?

I'm in a similar situation. I have a home built in the 1950s that still has the original windows. They are single pane windows. My issue with them is that in the winter alot of the cold comes from the glass itself. I'm assuming this is because they are single pane windows. I would believe double pane windows keep the cold from transmitting through the glass due to the air insulation barrier, correct? If I could just clean up my existing windows vs buying all new ones, that would save alot of money. However, I really want the better insulation factor to keep the cold from transmitting through the glass.


Re: Where to start?

Would storm windows work for you?

Re: Where to start?


Exterior storm windows.

A reflective film on the glass.

Interior storm windows. Go to the lumber yard and get 1x1 lumber to make interior frames. Make these about a 1/4" smaller than the window opening. Go to Walmart's (or similar store) sewing/fabric section and get enough clear vinyl to cover the frame on both sides. Secure with staples or tacks. Put weather stripping around the edges of the frame and press into window opening.

The third option is the most efficient and not much more expensive than option 2 if all are done DIY.

Re: Where to start?

Cutting off the 'chimney effect' is a great way to go.

1- Curtains that touch the floor or ceiling
2- Storm windows on the outside
3- That shrink-to-fit film on the inside
4- Plexiglass sheets on the inside held in place with fridge style magnets.There are a number of attachment types
5- Insulate the attic, crawl space, and underside of the house

Re: Where to start?

A storm window, or any device that traps dead air between the window glass and the interior or exterior, will give a definite improvement in heating costs and comfort. New storm windows are FAR more cost effective than new windows. Replacing windows is about on the bottom of the list when it comes to payback on the investment. It can literally be decades to get your money back!

Re: Where to start?

There are already storm windows installed. They don't seem to have much improvement. I will try the window covering.


Re: Where to start?

The window treatments are all good suggestions. Also go around the outside of the house and caulk every little crack and cranny. Most heat loss in an older house is attributed to leakage, as opposed to conduction. A good friend of mine caulked his old house and it helped immensely. Also seal the electrical outlets with gaskets, and place tape over the holes for the ones that are not used during the winter. Hope that helps.

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