April 2012: Window Fixes and Attachments
Window Fixes and Attachments
Fixing, repairing or upgrading windows can be a science unto itself. Most times I believe that because of the minimal increase in R value for the cost and decrease in infiltration, it makes sense to work with what you have. If there are extreme condensation of comfort issues than an attachment or replacement may be in order. Having repaired, replaced and added attachments over the years (employed hermetically sealed interior storms close to thirty years ago) I have come to understand many of the issues contractors will encounter. The first part of the article will address fixes and the second part will distill a lot of great information I received from an ACI session led by Building Green’s Director of Residential Services, Peter Yost.
First, know that I have done my share of micro-caulking/weather-stripping and encourage those fixes that will in fact be cost effective for the time material invested. On older windows it is probably more cost effective to have someone else reglaze or repair broken glass. New double sash locks appropriately set and aligned with pre made plastic shims is good. Brown or white pulley seals are good also if the existing cords have not been painted and are in good working order (the ones at ecoREMOD were too small in diameter and caught in the pullies). Gasketing works on top or bottoms, V seal along the midrails or along the sides. Gravity hardware can be used if cords are cut and the weight pockets are insulated. Sometimes the side jambs can be installed if the units are in good shape. Be sure you check for the top of trim for huge gaps never addressed.
With regards to combining high performance elements, so far there has been very little research when it comes to the interactive nature and resultant effects between the two. Some things discovered were that you pay extra for the rails of a honeycomb blinds and the bottom piece has a huge thermal penalty. There are some external films for window now but combining them on a storm inside or out may actually cause some units to overheat and exceed tested parameters. The best advice is to plan for those attributes a homeowner is looking to add and consult the following table for existing and attachment interactions. The following are a few links that may be most useful: www.efficientwindows.org orwww.windowattachments.org. Or go to www.buildingscience.com and search window repair/rehabilitation and replacement.