Monday, January 5, 2009

Window Swap

A fews years back I installed four huge picture windows across the north side of the house. The windows are six foot tall by five wide and really open the house up to the mountain and lake views. At the time I was not spending a lot to time there during the deep winter so I opted for insulated double paned windows with no "low-e" coatings.

Low-e coatings, which are microscopically thin layers of metallic oxide that's bonded to the surface of a window's glass, are so thin you can see right through them yet they prevent heat and ultra-violet (UV) rays from passing through glass. The result? A window with low-e glass does a better job keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer.

Unfortunately these large windows are horrible at keeping the cold out and the heat in. I could stand outside within a foot of the window and feel heat radiating through. It feels nice on a cold day but I really want that heat trapped inside. To mitigate this large fleece blanks are hung over them at night but there is still significant heat lose during the day.

I picked up 4 six foot tall by five wide windows on clearance at Lowes for the south side sunroom. They were originally priced at $489 apiece but were returned and marked down to $21 each. Really cool with top and bottom can leave the top open and close the bottom protecting the dogs and keeping unwanted critters out.

To my dismay after installing the heavy monsters I realized that they were low-e windows so efficient that no heat actually made it into the sunroom. This completely defeated the purpose. They were so effective that the sunroom was colder than standing outside in the direct sunlight.

Over the weekend we switched out the two sets of windows. Moving the clear picture windows with little insulating properties from the front to the sunroom on the south side of the cabin and replacing them with the highly efficient rear windows. A necessary pain.

I tell you I am stunned by the outcome. The low-e windows placed on the north side of the house not only hold heat but are aesthetically pleasing adding a lodge like warmth to the great and only room. It was cold outside and the new windows held the heat really well through the night. I got the temperature up to around 80 degrees at midnight and let the wood stove burn down. At six the next morning it was still 65 degrees without any heat overnight. I was very happy, this will save a great deal of money.

I am equally pleased with the clear windows now on the sunroom. The suns rays pass through and heat everything on the inside. This is gonna make the plants very happy and give an additional heat source once the large barrels of water are installed as heat sinks.

The only issue we found was that the newer windows were about 3/4 of an inch shorter than the old ones. This was easily remedied with some shimming and prying.

All windows are not created equally...use the correct tool for the job.

A great backup heating source is the Mr Heater Big Buddythis portable heater's output adjusts from 4000 to 18,000 BTU with the capacity to heat up to 400 square feet for up to 108 hours on one twenty pound bottle of propane. The Mr Heater Big Buddy also has an efficient built in fan to start warming the house when the wood stove is heating up. Great Survival Heater I highly recommend it!!!


Mrs Flam said...

That sounds quite irritating indeed.

Anonymous said...

One idea
We had many windows facing the North west, of course for the beautiful view. But when the sun went down especially in the Fall we had heating issues. So We built a picture frame, 1/2length, full width of window, that held 3 layers. One simple board facing toward the room, then refector material and then blue insulation, total thickness about 1 1/2 inch. They are all framed like a picture would be. For grins, any visiting artist (or wanta be artist)was welcome to express their art in the the petroglyph style that fit the room. As needed we pop those "frames" in and out, held by a spring rod with black enamal paint. They are better insulation than the walls. So we can randomly chose which and how many windows to cover. you dont have to clean them and they last some time. At night you can swear you live in an art gallery- It gives an interesting feel to the room. if you would like pics, let me know.
A SLV partimer

theotherryan said...

I am glad that it all got figured out in a satisfactory way.

Mayberry said...

Lookin' good Big Bear. What a beautiful place....