Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Storm windows

Our house was built in 1924, which is on the old side for the Pacific Northwest.  It's a Craftsmen style bungalow.  When I first started looking at homes my realtor talked about how great vinyl windows are, and many of the listing took pains (hehe... panes) to point out that the windows had been replaced.

Vinyl replacement windows are not all that, and here's why:
  1. You will never, ever recuperate the cost of replacing original windows through reduced energy costs.
  2. Windows today are built as modular units and are meant to be installed as a single piece.  If a part of the window fails, you have to replace the entire thing.
  3. The lifespan of replacement vinyl windows is proving to be relatively short, with many vinyl windows installed in the 1980s already requiring replacement of their own.
  4. The average homeowner can't work on a vinyl window without highly specialized tools & know-how.
My house has the original windows, those that were installed in 1924.  The glass has bubbles and ripples in it, and it's perfectly lovely.  We adore them.  In the 8 years since I moved in (Gene moved in with me about 2 years after I bought the house), I've done quite a bit of work on the windows.  I'm a pro at reglazing a window, having done it probably half a dozen times.  The nice thing with old windows is that they're easy to work on and replacement parts are still readily available.

Despite having single-paned, old windows, our house is not drafty in the winters.  Our secret?  We have storm windows on all but one of the windows (and hope to get one made for that last window this summer).  People always ask me if storm windows are hard to manage. 

In short: no. 

Our house is a single story and I can reach any window with a plain old 6' ladder.  The only tool I need to install or remove the windows, besides the ladder, is a phillips head screwdriver.

(And yes, I detest this color for this house.)

Just use the screwdriver to loosen the wing doohickey.  Then you can use the screwdriver, if necessary, to pry the window gently out of the frame.  I've got weatherstripping around the edges of the windows, which helps prevent drafts.

Sometimes a chicken will come to supervise.

It helps to label to windows, especially since we only handle them twice per year.

Store the storms somewhere where they'll be safe until the fall.  We used to take the storms down in mid-May and install them in mid-October, but with the cold springs we've had these past few years we haven't taken them down until June or even July.

I didn't even break any of my gorgeous pregnant-lady nails.


  1. Love your "pregnant-lady" nails. Very nice. Also, first time to your site and I have to say I love it. So informative and your canning efforts have me inspired to try it also. Keep up the great work!

  2. I remember having storm windows in our house growing up in the Sixties. Can you get any ventilation in yours?

  3. I never knew storm windows are easy to manage. The idea of labeling all windows is nice. And I find the chicken surprising you funny! LOL!

  4. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.