Published on June 23rd, 2016 | by Henri


Replacing inefficient windows

Q.  Our clapboard house was constructed 24 years ago with 22 double-hung, double-pane, wood-frame windows. Since then about 1/3 of the panes have leaked air with condensation building up between the layers of the glass.

I was fortunate to get 10 free replacement panes (7 with wood frames) before the manufacturer went out of business 8 years ago, but I have not replaced the windows yet. I can get future replacement panes locally with a 10 year warranty for about $55 each.

Still, I wonder if it’s worth the effort to make the changeovers. The windows appear to have low R values. Though I’ve had trouble finding actual air leaks, cold air seems to waft down from the glass during the winter months. Might it still be worthwhile to install these free replacement windows? Or, should I seriously consider other replacement windows professionally installed?

Another possibility: do the replacements but add bonafide storm windows (perhaps professionally installed). Thanks for your help.

A. The answer depends on your financial situation and how long you plan on staying in your house.

The latest models of replacement windows by several manufacturers are much improved over windows 24 years old. One brand that I specially like, because of considerable experience with their products over many years, is Marvin Windows and Doors. Not only are their products of high quality, but their prices are highly competitive and their service is tops.

The alternatives you mention are not bad ideas: Install the free windows you got years ago and have top quality storm windows installed. But be prepared for the possibility of condensation on the inside surface of the storms if they are tighter than the primary windows. To overcome this, you can slightly crack open the storms lower sashes, but this would make them less effective. The choice depends on your own tolerance.

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