Owners of older homes and buildings don’t have to choose between maintaining the historic integrity and conserving energy. It’s possible to have both. Most everyone understands the importance of energy conservation for our earth and our pocketbooks, but energy saving improvements can be accomplished while saving a building’s historic materials and construction. Such energy efficient enhancements can include:
Weather Stripping – stopping air leaks around the sash, the operating part of the window, is the most cost effective energy enhancement. We use different weather-stripping techniques, depending on the window system and the condition of the windows. These materials are of the highest quality and recognized for their use in historically significant restoration projects.
Caulking – if there is air leaking around the pulleys this indicates the exterior wall and window frame should be caulked. In some cases, we will remove the interior window casings and caulk the weight pocket joints. We certainly don’t recommend caulking a window shut, or caulking the window jambs where the windows slide, but any place around the exterior window frame and joints should always be sealed.
Insulation – another upgrade we offer to help make original double hung windows more efficient is to add insulation to the window weight pockets. We have done this using insulation board to line the interior weight pocket if space allows and doesn’t obstruct the movement of the weights. The more effective technique is to fill the weight pocket with fiber glass insulation to slow down and absorb air movement in the pocket. This requires replacing the weight & pulley system with a ‘hidden’ block & tackle channel balance system.
Glass Upgrade – original “wavy” antique glass is absolutely beautiful, but there are many reasons why it could make better sense to replace this glass. Energy efficiency, safety, outside noise reduction, privacy, reducing condensation, less maintenance, building code requirements, and filtering ultraviolet sun rays are many of the reasons why our clients request replacing the original single pane glass. We offer a wide range of glass options, and always install these with a sensitive eye for the historic character of the window.
Storm Windows – historically accurate and very affordable, we also specialize in fitting vintage windows with custom exterior wooden frame storm windows. In addition, we offer a unique wood frame storm&screen combination so the frames don’t require changing with the seasons. Standard wood storm windows can achieve closer to the same energy efficiency as insulated or double paned windows, allowing the original wood windows to be retained. However, Phoenix Window offers a patented “high efficiency” wooden storm&screen product unique and exclusive to our company. Go here for more information.
For maximum energy saving performance, you must first keep traditional sash and frame properly maintained. That means the glass must be sound and putty glazing intact, the sashes shuts and fits snug in their frames, and the hardware locks properly to hold the sash tightly closed. Once a window is operating properly, the first upgrade to consider is weather-stripping.