Vinyl Storm Windows
Vinyl storm windows can cost almost seventy-five percent less than vinyl replacement windows. The energy savings created by blocking the cold of winter months can be a lifesaver when you are not ready for the price of a full, new set of windows. They are fantastic for apartment dwellers too, because they tend to be more portable, and easily removed and replaced when winter has ended, or when you change residences.
Storm windows made from a vinyl window screen frame were traditionally used to help fend off cold air in the Northern climates, especially when single pane glass was the norm. It never created insulation, it always was more of a barrier, that worked by nature of stopping air movement between the storm panes from the single pane. While they would work to create a sound barrier and reduce condensation between panes in sun-drenched, hotter climates in the nation, they would trap heat inside. However, installing storm varieties on historic homes is ideal, to rid the older structures of drafts, because they have little effect on interior or exterior architecture.
The U.S. Department of Energy set up strict criteria, Energy Star ratings, to help residents of all the different climates around the country find the most energy efficient products for their homes and offices. Even for for vinyl storm products, the following are some helpful numbers to know, as DOE does rate these products too. The U-factor measures how much heat escapes or is allowed inside your home. The lower the U-factor, the less heat that is transferred.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures how much of the sun's energy comes through the window. It tells you, actually, how well a window deters the sun's heat. A lower value indicates a lower amount of solar heat entering your house, for instance.
Vinyl Storm Windows Block Cold Air, and Save Money
Vinyl storm windows can save money over replacing your windows because there is less material to buy, and less work for an installation expert to put into place. Yet, you still reap the benefits of vinyl, which is very resilient, scratch resistant, rust resistant and not conductive of heat or cold. In addition, vinyl is extremely low maintenance, requiring no painting or staining (like wood does) and will not bend or warp like other materials might do over time.
An added bonus is that you may notice additional sound proofing to outside noises, and an added layer of protection against break ins. Specifically, polycarbonate plastic or laminated glass are most resistant to break ins and to storm damage. Plus, sashes are easy to clean on vinyl storm windows, because they are removable. The glass cleans easily with a simple solution of soap and water.
Types of Vinyl Storm Windows
Vinyl storm windows can be installed externally or internally. There are plastic kinds, all the way to the higher end, some even with low emissivity coatings on glass for further insulation savings. Vinyl storm windows that are installed in the interior often grip more securely than exterior counterparts and are easier to maintain because they are inside and not exposed to the elements. Of course, if you live in a multi-level building, internal vinyl storm windows may be the best choice.
Glass inset may be easier to break, but is more durable than the plastic storm windows, whose panes are prone to scratching, and discoloring or yellowing over time.
Wood, aluminum, and vinyl are the most common frame materials. Aluminum is resilient, lightweight, though it conducts heat too well, making it a poor insulator. Wood insulates well, but weathers with age, changes with the weather (expanding and contracting with the temperature and barometer). Because of this, wood variety needs to be removed in the winter, because it will get stuck because of swelling in the summer heat. Likewise, if used in the summer, they will shrink, and come loose if used in the winter. Wood is heavy and thicker than metal frames, which makes them more cumbersome and higher maintenance.
Installation involves frames that must be hung square with the primary fixture and sealed to the opening's jamb. Those set to the outside, must have weep holes at the bottom of the frame for moisture to drain. Without these weep holes, moisture collected will cause the frame to rot or warp, irreparably damaging them. While there are kits out there for self-installation, a dealer or contractor can ensure proper installation for proper working order throughout the season.
Vinyl storm windows are great for warming up for less in winter. At a fraction of the price for fully new replacement sashes, it makes sense for anyone who dreads drafty glass. Consider this less expensive alternative.