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Insulate Windows While Retaining the Old Glass

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: We’re talking to Jeff in Montana here at The Money Pit. What can we do for you and your home today?

    JEFF: Well, we’ve got an old house built in 1899. It’s got the old, original glass and it’s all uneven glass and we want to try to retain all that but yet we want to bring it up to higher value of, you know, insulation.

    LESLIE: As far as energy efficiency.

    JEFF: Yes, we want to go with ground-source heating and they’re telling us with this kind of windows and stuff we’re not going to be able to make the house airtight enough for …

    TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to have a really efficient house to be able to get efficiency out of your heating system and so what you want here, Jeff, is sort of the best of both worlds.

    Leslie, I think that there may be a decorator trick here where Jeff could replace the windows with a thermal pane window but perhaps create another window that hangs inside of that that has some of the original glass. I’ve seen this done with stained glass; I’ve seen it done with seeded glass and with blown glass and it looks pretty cool.

    LESLIE: There are several options; in fact, Pella has something. It’s called the Designer Series window and it’s actually three panes of glass although the third pane is really sort of like non-functional; it acts more as a slider or opening – it pivots into you – that you can slip in a decorative panel from something that you can have printed from an image or some of their stock photography or textures or even colorations that offer you privacy or just change the look of the glass. I’ve even seeded glass you can get at glass stores to manufacture things for the home on a smaller scale but I wouldn’t reuse what you have; it’s just not going to give you the r value or the efficiency that you want from a thermal pane glass.

    TOM: So Jeff, there are really two options. You can buy new windows that have old styling yet give you the efficiency; or you can take some of that old glass and use it to create an insert that sort of hangs inside the newer window that will give you some of the effect of the old but still allow you to have some protection from the elements. Does that make sense?

    JEFF: Yes. Well, we would like to find someone that would be able to do that; to retain our original glass and maybe put it inside an energy e-style double-pane window or use it as one of the panes or …

    TOM: Well, Jeff, let me give you one more suggestion. Have you thought about doing something that worked well for many, many years; for 50 years in this country and that is to simply add a good-quality storm window and keep the old windows.

    JEFF: That’s what we would like to do but we want to be able to show off these windows also with all that cross-hatching woodwork …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

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