Drafty Windows

Cellular Shades vs. Window Inserts (storm windows). Living in a old Victorian home in Hackettstown with big, beautiful, drafty windows. Looking into options to keep the house warm and also from losing heat. Stopped by Lowes and I am considering Cellular Shades. Levolor, energy shield. Does anyone have any input on these? Also....Came across an accredited website called windowinserts.com that sells push-in indoor inserts with stripping to completely block drafts and is also a less costly method but need to be removed in the summer months. Any experienced input would be appreciated!! Thank you

Allison Allison
Jan '19

Allison, I'm in the same boat. Also live in a old Victorian with original colored glass windows. I put up plastic sheeting in the winter months on the inside of the windows. I buy it as a big sheet at Lowe's and cut it to fit, taping it along the sides. I found this method to be cheaper than buying the window kit and the plastic is a bit thicker. Air insulates well, so creating a layer of air between the window and inside is a good idea. I am probably going to replace my outside storm windows once I have the cash though. I am trying to see if they make storm windows in low-e glass. That would be ideal. I don't have any experience with either product you mentioned. Let me know if they work for you if you try them out.
Good luck!

Dancicus Fighticus Dancicus Fighticus
Jan '19

I made some inserts very similar without knowing these existed. My homemade ones work so I imagine these would work well with the seal. I take them out and store them in a closet in summer.

i have four of the window inserts.this is my fourth year using them.they fit in very snug and keep out the drafts and add to the insulation factor of the room.i put them in around the first of January when it starts to get cold.after four years I would say im very pleased with them.well made,easy to put in and take out.

Wouldnt the inserts work to keep the conditioned air IN in the summertime?

ianimal ianimal
Jan '19

Amazingly iman; in old houses you feel the cold. Ac leaving just shows up on your electric bill :-(

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
Jan '19

Definitely a good option. Gives you a nice large area of dead air to insulate and isolate drafts. Best part is, you get to keep your fantastic old victorian windows that your house was MEANT to have.

Eperot Eperot
Jan '19

"your house was MEANT to have." Gotta love the classics. My take: if the farmer was here today, he would replace those windows in a heartbeat and probably use a lot of vinyl.

FYI --- more important than windows, probably, and certainly for AC as well --- be sure your attic insulation is massive. R-49 to R-60. I would go 60...or higher.....If you are below R-49, you will notice this change I think.

For windows, we used Marvin slip-ins to replace. Reason was their ability to match including custom-building a couple of specials at a similar price to the stock version. Over 20 years later and I still can get support and parts. They were all wood, full divided lights, and matched my existing sash work EXCEPT the depth of the mullion was a tad thinner. You would have to press your face to the glass to know..... I asked God. She did say, but I had the feeling she wanted me to be warmer. (not sure that's a good thing :>)

Whatever you do, please be sure to leave the ability to let the sun in from any southern, western views. I get a lot of heat from passive solar in this way. 30-degree sunny day and my furnace can shut down for hours. If the plastic is not crystal clear, you are losing sun btu's and a warmer quality of life.

For shades, I tried the hollow-fill or cellular; loved them but they fatigue over time and the replacement is never plug n play. So I went to Country Curtain insulated roller shades complimented with cheap, simple sheers. Believe it one not, the sheers, being polyester, stop a lot of draft (although they don't stop the cold). The combination of shade and curtain reduces the cold a lot more than either by itself. So, I have full open, sheered off for the light or full bomb bays close with the roller/sheer combo for all sorts of different days and temps.

Country Curtains is out of business. The insulated they had were second generation. The problem is the cloth is thick, So normal rollers and springs did not last. The version I have has no springs, the string is a loop that you rotate to raise and lower. Call it a "sidewinder." Much better losing the main point of breakage --- the spring. Work great, look unique. Will have to find replacement some day and I say: no springs.

After all that, or when you put in the inserts, be sure to check you trim and molding edges where it hits the plaster or drywall. All my plaster is gone and there were some gaps between trim and drywall. And their is a lot of trim --- seven piece.

The frames are not insulated, so they can have gaps and air pockets within, all producing drafts IF they can get through the trim. So I dapped (dap in a tube) all the trim cracks, especially where it meets the drywall. If you have this, and you dap, you will see a difference I think. I certainly did to the point of an intolerable room with three windows and a space heater no longer needs the space heater.

Next, on every cold day, it's your chance to find the biggest drafts. Hands, candles, smoke, or heat-sensor tests all good at that time. Now I am chasing issues stemming from balloon construction where cold air can get in your wall close to the attic and have a clear path to your first floor. There are no drafts per se, just some cold areas. This may take the rest of my life!

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jan '19

Ianimal I went back to the windowinserts.com website and read through the FAQ page and you actually can leave them in year round. They will help with cooling in the summer.

Allison Allison
Jan '19

Another trick is a direct-vent your furnace (or pellet/wood stoves) If it is not direct vent, you are sucking in air from the basement for combustion. Ultimately, that air must come from the outside, either upstairs, in the basement, or both.

When you direct vent the combustion air from the outside, you no longer have to replace warmer air inside with colder air from outside and you lose those drafts making your heat more even and consistent.

You need to be able to divert this venting system though and go back to inside air at your discretion. I ran inside during that big blow. What I notice is my first floor, floors, get colder, faster, when I do this. Only pull that at 0 or below or with huge winds.

Another trick is incandescent lights. Used to run only in the winter. They put off a good amount of their light energy as heat. Before I hardened my living space, I used lights in the corners; they actually again made my heat more level, more consistent, and less drafty. Best was the lava lamp ---- those little 40W viscous tubes of heated fluids can really put off some heat. So I was warmer and well lit.

Sounds stupid but anything to reduce the furnace intervals and run times.

With better windows, I went to led's and cfl's.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jan '19

Back to the Top | View all Forum Topics

Leave a Reply

To comment on this topic, fill out the form below. If you would like to comment directly to one person, you may click on the envelope next to the posters name if they provided their email.

Re: Drafty Windows
Name (Required)
Email (Protected)
Add Photo (Optional)
By pressing Submit Comment, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions.