Storm windows are mounted inside or outside the main glass windows to add an extra layer of protection against unfavorable weather conditions. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, exterior storm windows with low e-coating can save you 10 to 35 percent in heating and cooling costs annually. The different types of storm windows include:
Disposable Storm Windows
Disposable storm windows are a budget-friendly alternative to other types of storm windows. This type of window is made from an individual sheet of vinyl or plastic. Each sheet is applied to the primary window, adding an instant layer of insulation. As disposable windows degrade rapidly from sun damage, they must be replaced often.
These lightweight plastic disposable storm windows are effective at keeping cold drafts out. Disposable windows usually come in do-it-yourself kits that contain multiple window replacements. This window option is ideal for budget-conscious consumers with windows that are rarely opened. Advantages of disposable storm windows include:
- More affordable than other types of storm windows
- Are lightweight and easy to install by yourself
- Offers a temporary solution if you can’t afford to purchase new storm windows
- Add a layer of insulation to thin or weak primary windows
Interior Storm Windows
Interior storm windows are easy to install and remove, and are ideal for people who want to preserve the outside style of their home. They are a common choice among people who reside in apartments or multi-story homes, as you can gain access to the windows from inside the home.
As interior storm windows form a tight seal with the primary window glass, they are generally more energy-efficient than exterior storm windows. There are numerous styles of interior storm windows to fit any window size and budget. Other advantages of interior storm windows include:
- Reduces infiltration of outside air, helping your HVAC unit use less energy to maintain the indoor temperature
- Helps your home stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter
- Doesn’t generally require carpentry
- Helps reduce sounds from busy streets, loud neighbors, barking dogs, and nearby construction
Exterior Storm Windows
Exterior storm windows are mounted on the outside of the home. While they are more difficult to install than interior storm windows, they are efficient at reducing the flow of outside air into your home. The added thermal performance provided by exterior storm windows is primarily a result of dead air found between the storm and primary windows.
Storm windows are generally less expensive than new high-performance windows, and offer an alternative to primary window replacement when budget and/or aesthetics are major factors. Exterior storm windows are sealed on all sides except the bottom to allow water vapor and condensation to escape. Other benefits of these windows include:
- Offers a wide range of finish color options to complement your home’s exterior
- Lengthens the life of seals on primary insulated windows
- Protects primary windows from damage due to exposure to light, dust and the elements
- Windows can usually be installed in a single afternoon
Glass or Plastic Storm Windows
Homeowners have the options of glass or plastic storm windows that are both sturdy and easy to install. Glass storm windows are heavier and more expensive than plastic, but are more resistant to scratches. Glass can also be tinted for sun protection, which also adds an extra layer of insulation.
Plastic storm windows are more affordable and lightweight. The material performs well, offers good insulation, and is sturdy when used in combination with metal or vinyl frames. These types of storm windows generally use a hook-and-groove system, allowing them to be installed and removed with ease. Other advantages include:
- Glass offers excellent visibility and can be tinted for summer months
- Plastic storm windows are highly affordable and the construction is lightweight
- Both types of windows greatly decrease heat loss during the winter and prevent uncomfortable drafts
- Plastic is effective at covering cracks in the window frames for added insulation
Storm windows are an affordable way to keep out drafts and secure your home from rain, snow and high winds. For more information about the various types of storm window options available, contact a professional home improvement center.