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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vinyl Windows

I work in historic preservation, yet own a new house. I want an old house, but even in a recession we couldn't afford one.

People come into my office every day trying to find information about replacing their historic wood windows with vinyl. They talk about the tax credits, energy savings, etc. Here's the deal: vinyl windows are more efficicent and better for weather savings is BS. The National Trust for Historic Preservation offers excellent information about the pros and cons of replacing old windows. The most interesting for me? Replacing windows has a 40 YEAR PAYBACK PERIOD. Thats right, with all the energy you'll save it'll take you 40 years to recoup your "investment" on new windows.

I had to berate my mom into keeping the old windows at the shack this fall. Instead of tearing them out, I finally convinced them to restore the windows and build storm windows for additional insulation and protection. A well fitting storm actually can be more efficient than a new window.

If you read yesterday's post about drapes, you know I utilize curtains, blinds and drapes to further insulate our home in the winter. Our "energy efficient" vinyl windows still get ice on the inside of them in the winter. Let me show you how we try to keep our north-facing bedroom warm in the winter:

First, insulated drapes, again.

Then, our double-cell blinds:
Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to rotate the photo!

Here's what our "energy efficient" vinyl windows look like on the back of the blinds:

Huh. Ice. And this is on the top rail. The ice on the bottom goes up half of the window.

 I'd hate to spend $6,000 in new windows for that.

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