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Greater Denver Urban Homesteading Group Message Board Propose Meetups - Volunteer to Host › Energy efficient old windows - demo and myth busting

Energy efficient old windows - demo and myth busting

A former member
Post #: 5
While this topic isn't specifically a homesteading topic per se, I think it falls well within the category of sustainability by using existing materials rather than consuming new to achieve maximum energy effieciency.

I am restoring our 1920 bungalow and am planning on refurbishing the old double hung windows this summer. Most people believe a myth that new windows are more energy efficient than those old windows. I have found, through research and experience that they are NOT but that most people don't understand how old double hung windows are intended to work and be used. I would be happy to have people over for a mini seminar on old windows. I'd cover information on energy efficiency as well as demonstrate the steps in refurbishing, use, & maintenance.

This would be geared toward people with older homes though it would be useful info for anyone who lives in a structure with windows. Even if you hire someone to do the refurbishing, knowing how to use and maintain them is key to taking advantage of their energy efficiency potential. I'd like to know if anyone is interested and how many might want to come. I have a small house so if there's lots of interest I'd set aside a few windows and host multiple meetups.
user 8969396
Denver, CO
Post #: 8
Hi Tim, I have double hung windows in my house and I would love to learn more about them. This sounds great. Count me in!

A former member
Post #: 16
Hi Tim, I work in housing mainteance, and would be interested; let me know if you want me to bring some of my tools to help out. Patrick.
user 6885302
Denver, CO
Post #: 1
My husband and I just bought a 1925 bungalow with the original windows and storm windows. We have been told that we should replace our windows with new energy efficient windows (spending money to save money right?) but would love to just learn how to make our old windows more energy efficient and how to properly care for them so they continue to last.
Thank you!

Denver, CO
Post #: 327
count me in, Tim
A former member
Post #: 12
Well then, I will save at least one window for a meetup on the subject. I think I'll do one sometime in August but will have to work out my own schedule and make sure we've enpacked enough to fit people in our house before I throw dates/times out. Hopefully, more people will come out of the woodwork by then and join us.

Patrick, I think I have all the tools I need. These windows are VERY basic to maintain and pretty easy to repair. A prybar and good putty knife are all the tools one really needs on the maintenance end but I have some other cool (cheap) tools that make life with old windows even easier. However, if you're well versed in glazing I'd be glad to hear your input at the meetup.

Leigh, don't believe them. They're just trying to feed their families. In all things there are trade-offs and most new energy efficient new windows trade a lot off for the sake of being easy (money, that is). I can go into more detail later but a perfectly good energy star window of today will provide less cold insulating value as any old double hung in basic working order with a wood storm window. The new energy efficient window will likely also contain glass which filters out-of-spectrum energy meaning that on those cold winter days you're not getting any help from the sun through there. During the summer, storm windows come down (I have screens that I put in their place) and both sashes can be opened allowing natural convection to draw the warmer air out the top of the window and cooler air in from below. (That's why all those old Victorians and bungalows had cool shady gardens right outside the south wall.) You don't need special glass for the sunlight because your nice big old fashioned eaves keep most or all of the south facing windows shaded from the summer sun.

Your old wood windows have minimal working parts leaving very little that might wear out in your lifetime and will last indefinitely needing only occasional reglazing (every several years) which is sinfully easy to do yourself. However, new windows have lots of fancy working bits that WILL wear out or break in relatively short order. If they are vinyl they WILL deteriorate under unavoidable UV exposure and have to be replaced within a decade or two. If they are wood they definitely are not all wood and those not wood bits will break, wear out, or deteriorate. New wood windows are also made from new farmed trees meaning that it will have much wider grain than those made from old growth forests and thus provide inferior insulating qualities and deteriorate faster. The glazing of your double pane glass is just as susceptible to UV light as the rest and will need to be reglazed (read: thrown away and replaced) by a professional about every 5-7 years to maintain their energy efficiency. Talk about job security!

I will refrain from embarking on my architectural integrity rant. That belongs in a different group. Suffice it to say that I believe that old houses with new windows just look silly and forlorn, adding insult to injury.

I hope I've given enough information to help anyone considering replacing their wonderful old windows to at least put it off a while, think about it, and maybe come to the meetup before doing the dastardly deed. (c:
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