I’m in a dilemma. What should I do? I’m talking about windows here. Our house is 101 years old this year and still has all the original windows plus the storm windows. I think that’s pretty neat but my happiness at being able to say this is tempered with reality.
Old houses, such as the 1912 four-square that we live in, were designed to allow summer breezes to cool rooms naturally. Builders did this by installing windows in rooms across from each other so that the air could flow uninterrupted.
The problem arises when one or more of the windows is blocked which is exactly what is causing us some problems.
Two windows on the west side of the house have been blocked due to the previous owners’ decision to enclose the upstairs porch. They created a frame with sheet plywood and nailed old single-pane windows to this frame. Because these windows don’t open any cooling breezes are stopped dead.
You know that warm air rises naturally, so that, plus blocked air flow makes for a very warm second story – especially in my office which is already toasty warm thanks to the heat pumped out by my computer’s fan.
I’m afraid I am also just plain tired of the maintenance these particular windows need. Each fall we have to replace all the caulking and insulation strips with new ones. Doing this from a second-story ladder is no picnic either.
It takes a significant effort install the storm windows to get a good seal – all to no avail. As soon as it’s colder than -15 degrees Celsius the frost builds up and we can’t see out of the windows until it warms up.
We have been doing some research into new windows for the second floor only. We have no problems with the main floor windows so those we will keep for sure. Our house is not designated however it is on the historic inventory.
TIP: Before enclosing any porch consider how it will affect the air flow in your home.
Do you have any tips or experiences you’d like to share? If you replaced old windows were you sorry you did?