With storm season almost upon us, it might be time to start thinking harder about your home’s windows. Whatever the season, storm windows are a great way to make your house more comfortable and save money on heating or air conditioning. Better yet, storm windows are becoming cheaper and easier to install than ever before. If you suffer from problems with draft, high utility bills, or exterior damage to windows due to weather, storm windows might be just what the doctor ordered. However, knowing how storm windows work and the different options available is vital to making the right decisions for your home. Below are some of the essential features of exterior storm windows that you need to know before you buy.
What are exterior storm windows?
Storm windows are not a replacement for your current windows. In fact, storm windows are placed in the window frame of current windows, either inside or outside of the existing pane, in order to add a second layer of insulation, either to keep conditioned air in or keep cold air out.
Exterior storm windows are some of the most common because, unlike their interior counterparts, they are more complex and allow for more options in terms of opening, closing and layering for optimization depending on the weather conditions.
Benefits of exterior storm windows
There are a lot of benefits to storm windows, ranging from the practical to the aesthetic. Here are some of the most important:
- Lower heating and cooling costs
This is one of the main reasons why people install storm windows. Extreme temperatures in the summer and winter can cause utilities costs to skyrocket. Adding an extra layer of insulation greatly increases the efficiency of windows—especially older ones with only a single pane.
- Protection from extreme weather
Unsurprisingly, this is why storm windows are called storm windows. Extreme weather can damage windows, which can be costly. Additionally, some older and more complex windows can be difficult to replace. Traditionally, storm windows were put in during winter or during extreme weather seasons, and replaced with screens during milder parts of the year, but modern multi-track storm windows can remain comfortably year round because they come equipped with window screens.
- Retains original style
This is where curb appeal comes in. You might be in love with the original or antique design of your windows, even though they are not the most cost-effective or durable. Luckily, there are many models of storm window that are unobtrusive or near-invisible that allow your windows to keep their classic charm without sacrificing comfort or cash.
- Protects original windows
On the same note, if you love your current windows, it might be worth investing in storm windows to help preserve them and make them last longer. Even if your area is not known for extreme weather, everyday wear and tear like heat, sun, wind and rain can degrade your windows bit by bit until you have no option but to replace them. Exterior storm windows are a simple and cheap alternative.
- Simple installation and cleaning
While historically storm windows were made out of heavy wood or metal, and difficult to install and remove, newer models are lightweight and often simple to disassemble, making them easy to switch out with the seasons or clean as you see fit. They also often come with pre-placed holes for easy drilling.
- Noise control
If you live in a noisy environment such as on/near a major road or construction site, storm windows can make your day-to-day life quieter and more peaceful by adding an extra layer of protection from irritating sounds.
Common types of exterior storm windows
Exterior storm windows come in a few different models, depending on the needs of each individual home:
Two-track storm windows include a stationary glass pane on the top half, a sliding glass pane on the bottom half to allow ventilation, and a stationary screen behind the bottom section to allow fresh air while preventing bugs from entering the house. This model fits with most vertical, double-hung windows.
- Two-track slider
The two track slider is just like the two-track model, except horizontal. Naturally, this model is for use with horizontal windows, instead of vertical windows as is the case with the regular two-track window.
The three track storm window adds to the two-track by offering more potential configurations and the ability to cross-ventilate if needed. Like the 2-track this model is for use with vertical, double-hung windows.
Basement storm windows are one simple pane, and typically do not allow for ventilation. They can be attached using thumb latches.
Invest in high quality windows
Not all windows are created equal. If you are looking to replace your windows or add storm windows, investing in quality products is always the right move. This is particularly true because windows play an essential role in home heating and cooling efficiency, which means that poor quality windows can cost you more money in the long run by allowing air to escape from the house and degrading quickly. If you are looking for the best of the best when it comes to windows, take advantage of Vinyl-Lite’s quality, affordable windows, doors, and other exterior products.