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Window Insulation

Post in 'The Green Room' started by MishMouse, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    I was looking for some type of clear insulation for my windows.
    I currently use the tape on film stuff which doesn't work very well and tends to fall off.
    I also have insulated curtains which does help, but the cold still gets around them.

    I did a search and I found 2 companies that make window inserts.
    Company 1:
    http://windowinserts.com/

    Company 2:
    http://www.windotherm.com/index.htm

    Is anybody familiar with either of these companies or have other suggestions for insulating windows?

    What I really wish I could find is 4' x 8' sheets of panel insulation that was clear instead of pink or tan that would not mold when exposed to moisture.
    Then I could cut the sheet to fit the windows.
    I don't think the wife would be very happy with me stuffing a pink panel into the window where she would not be able to see out the window. :shut:

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Moving this over the green room where you should get more response to this type of discussion.

    pen
  3. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Check out builditsolar.com. Gary, a member on this site, has some good related info there.

    If you'll do a search of posts in this room you'll also find plenty of past discussion on this.
  4. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Whats the problem you are trying to solve? - are you getting a lot of drafts or just trying to cut down the convective heat loss?

    First thing to attack is always drafts. Caulk and weatherstrip are your friends. Even the leakiest old double hung can be made fairly airtight with inexpensive weatherstrip like vinyl v-seal. Caulkaulk any gaps around the frame - inside and out.

    Once the windows are tight then you can think about better insulation value. Do you have storm windows? If not that's the best upgrade especially for old single pane windows. You can get very good quality storms relatively inexpensive - the Low-E Harvey Tru channel gets high marks for performance at a value price at places like oldhouseweb and buildingscience. Lots of other storm options out there as well like Allied (more expensive but practically invisible when installed).

    Another option if exterior storms aren't an option is to make interior storms. There are plans out to fabricate them yourself from sheets of plexiglass or clear lexan you can get at the hardware store.


    This doc has some great ideas for what to do with weatherstrip and ideas on making interior storms:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7aq8e/homewindowrestorationwork/index.html

    Builditsolar also has some ideas for DIY window treatments:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/conservation.htm#WindowTreatments

    Another DIY storm window idea
    http://www.oldhouseweb.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=13686
  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    if you haven't already, airsealing your attic can reduce drafts through the rest of your house.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    For about 12 years until I could afford to replace the windows I installed homemade storms with heavy, (8mil?) clear plastic on them. They worked fine. I put them up in fall and took them back down in spring. There are also clear plexiglass storms that attach on the inside with magnet strips.

    http://www.innergwindows.com/
    http://www.windowsaver.com/magstorm.html

    As you get closer and start pricing options can you post your findings? This info would be helpful, It's is a common problem and we still have some areas in our overglazed house that I am looking for as solutions.
  7. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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  8. zelachowski

    zelachowski Member

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    We have the original 1840 windows in our house. The interior storm window we have made has an aluminum frame and a black rubber gasket on the back. They are actually designed for the exterior, but we have used them now at two houses on the inside. They make a huge difference over triple track exterior storms. We have a small window shop named Carbone's in Keene, NH that makes ours. Perhaps, if your local window retailer can't make them they could call Carbone's for the information and have a new line for their a store. We have ordered 75 of these storm windows from them over the years, other places must make these. They are held in place with small aluminum clips and a screw. Good luck.
  9. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    My windows are 29" x 52" double pane vinyl and are the fire exit type windows, so anything that I was to install should be easy to un-install by any member of the family.
    The master bedroom, has 2 of these in it, the living room has 2 of these in it and both smaller bedrooms have 1. Since it is a manufactured home these are not the best quality windows.

    After reading some of the above links I was kinda thinking on making a double window in a similar fashion.
    Taking 2 pieces of Plexiglas and making a sandwich out of them.

    Aka: Take one sheet of Plexiglas that is a little smaller then my window size, and use the stick on foam weatherstrip insulation on it, then gluing another sheet the same size to the non sticky side of the weather stripping. Then push it into place.

    What I may have to do is put something on them that could easily pull them out. I was thinking of drilling a hole in one side and putting a screw, washer, nut combo so that the seal could easily be broken.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    zelachowski, Since you have the one piece interior storms, I wanted to ask: what you do for screens in the summer?

    We still have old aluminum triple tracks. None of them seal all that well and many are sticky as they get when they age. I'd like to replace them eventually and was thinking about the Harvey true channels so I could still have screens (Around her I can actually buy and install myself through BBMC).. but am open to other ideas including interior storms as I think they look better.
  11. zelachowski

    zelachowski Member

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    [quote author="jharkin" date="1327000903"]zelachowski, Since you have the one piece interior storms, I wanted to ask: what you do for screens in the summer?

    We still have old aluminum triple tracks. None of them seal all that well and many are sticky as they get when they age. I'd like to replace them eventually and was thinking about the Harvey true channels so I could still have screens (Around her I can actually buy and install myself through BBMC).. but am open to other ideas including interior storms as I think they look better.[/quote

    Hi, I made wooden screens using screen stock(available at smaller lumber retailers) at least it is up here in the woods of NH.
    After cutting the 90 degree angles, I put them together with screws, while being held in four corner clamps. A biscut cutter wood make a screen without screw holes in the corners, but I don't have one. They work great at keeping out the bugs. Remember I'm a real history nut and like the look of my house without exterior storms. I want it all, look and function.
  12. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    Hi,
    Some inside clear window treatment ideas here:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/conservation.htm#WindowTreatments

    We use triple wall polycarbnate glazing greenhouse glazing on some of our windows where we want light, but don't need the view.

    If you need the view, its possible to do a double glazed clear Mylar film storm that works pretty well:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/MylarStorms.htm

    You can also combine a thermal shade with an inside storm window. This is our latest venture -- it uses the double wall mylar storm coupled with a thermal shade that has side tracks to prevent air from getting around the edges. Its also a top down/bottom up, which means that you can lower it from the top and leave the bottom half of the window still insulated while seeing out the top half.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/TopDownShades/TopDonwShades.htm
    The total R value for the window plus Mylar plus thermal shade is R 8.3!

    Gary
  13. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    Gary, for that clear films how durable is it, I have 4 children (<1, 3, 5, 7) and unless I put an electric fence around everything little fingures are going to be used to poke and tear into things. How does each clear film compare to plexiglas in R value and durability.
  14. saladdin

    saladdin Feeling the Heat

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    West Tennessee
    I use bubble wrap. Spray the smooth side with water and push it on the window glass. It will stick.

    I leave a stretch of window undone so I can look at the deer. Just from touch of the hand, I can easily tell the difference in temp from the bubbled windows vs the unbubble.

    It's easier to remove then the plastic (just yank it off and no tape) and, to me, works better on a R level.


    Sounds like your wife needs an electric fence around her every 2 years. Cute kids.
  15. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    I don't think bubble wrap would last 5 mins at my place.
    Every-time I get something in the mail if it is wrapped in bubble wrap the 3 oldest fight over who is going to pop them.
    Using that would require a moat, a 8 foot high fence and razor wire to keep them out.
    Even then the 7 year old would figure a way around it.

    When she was younger around 2, she liked getting into the frig so we put one of those frig locks on it.
    She goes over to it, pulls on the frig it doesn't open, so then so pulls up on the sticky that is holding the lock in place.
    With her little figures and sharp nails it pops right off.
    We find it hidden in amongst her toys. :coolsmile:
  16. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    +1 Great idea
  17. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    Hi,
    The Mylar film is fairly strong -- I think it would be hard to poke a finger through. That said, I'm not sure it would stand up to a continuous onslaught.
    Plexiglas is pretty tough as far as finger pokes go -- more so than the Mylar film. It is easy to scratch it.

    For R value, it really does not matter what the R value of the glazing material is -- its the still or slow moving air films next to the glazing surface that do the insulating. So, basically one layer of any of the glazing materials is worth about R1, and each layer you add is worth about an additional R1. Things like low-e coatings can change that but, you are not likely to have those.

    Gary
  18. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    I build 2 of those interior storm windows over the weekend.
    The first sheet I had them cut to the size of the window, the other sheet I had them cut about 4" longer and wider.
    I used the 1/2 foam insulation strips to place in between the two sheets.
    Then used a silicone glue to glue the 2 pieces together.

    I was unable to find any foam insulation > 1/2" so I used Velcro on the top/bottom of the sheet to make sure it is held in place.

    It has made a difference in heat loss through the 2 windows where I have installed them.
    I will need to wait for a couple of those below zero days to really check the deference.

    While installing I ran into some issues:
    My initial thoughts were to get 1" > foam insulation to hold the 2 pieces together. The wider the space in between the 2 pieces the better the insulation value and the less likely chance it would have of falling out of the window. This is why I needed to use some Velcro along the top and bottom to ensure that it will not fall out.

    Something else I ran into is that the molding/frame around my windows is in no sense of the matter straight or flat. The molding around the window is a such an angle that it is around 1/2" difference from the wall to the window. On the first one I installed I used 1/4" insulation around the edges of the larger piece and it didn't even touch the wall. I also over lapped the 1/2" foam insulation around an 1/8" around the sheet to get a good tight seal, this caused the window to not fit the opening, after I removed it I was able to get it in place but now there are gaps.

    The next window I installed I placed the foam against the window and it did go in without issue but at the top of the windows there is from a 1/2" to a 1 1/2" gap. I will be putting extra foam insulation on this windows to cover these gaps.

    Lessons learnd:
    1) Check the internal piece against the window size first before adding the foam insulation, this will alow me to make sure that where the window will be sitting is the right size and that adding the foam along the edges will make a tigher fit. Depending on where on the sill you measure this is around 1/2"-2" off.
    2) Trying to drill a hole through plexigals with a regular drill bit does not work up to expectations.
  19. franktank232

    franktank232 Member

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    I built interior and exterior "storm" windows this past fall. I used both thin window kit plastic and thick 3 mil sheet plastic you can buy cheap from Menards. The problems I ran into. Making a good seal against the wall. For the most part I did pretty good with that and the way I can tell is condensation. My biggest problem has always been condensation on my windows when the temperatures get low (0F or below). After putting up these interior storms I had no issues.

    I used regular white pine and just ripped 1.5 inch long boards and connected them using Kreg jig. On the back I used some weatherstrip and on the front i used double sided tape and window kit plastic. Other then not getting a super tight fit with the plastic (more practice was needed), they came out ok. I just made them to go right around the window trim...the trim hold them tight to the window. They've been up several months now and still haven't come down.

    The exterior windows I thought were going to work great (same system, but I made the wood frames to fit inside the window (double hung) where the screens go). While i got a decent fit, getting a seal was tough and getting the plastic (3 mil) to stick was even tougher. You have to use tape that can handle cold weather (the plastic just started coming off after a few weeks) and even the weatherstrip starting falling off over time. I ended up taking them all out. For the exterior I'd have to use plexiglas or something and figure out how to get the weatherstrip to stay sticky when the temp goes subzero.
  20. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    Wonder if you could use the "peel-away" weatherstrip caulk to seal them better
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I used Mortite caulking cord to assure a good seal for our temp storms on irregular exterior surfaces. It worked great.
  22. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I was thinking of this product.

    Attached Files:

  23. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    assuming it is already air sealed.
  24. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    Had to make a modification to one of my windows, due to one of them falling out of the window sill.
    The original plan was to use to Plexiglas sheets and connect them together with a 1" inch foam insulation.
    Problems:
    1) I couldn't find 1" foam insulation to connect them so I had to go with 1/2"
    2) The window sill is no where near rectangular in shape

    The new plan is to create a frame using 1" x 2" boards and use them to connect the 2 sheets of Plexiglas instead of using the foam insulation. The one that fell out was over 1/2" larger on the top then on the bottom. Also towards the center it is around 5/8" larger then the bottom.

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