Fill la la la la

It’s the seasonal rituals that fill me with joy—hanging the wreath, gathering photos to send with the holiday cards, cramming caulk into every cranny so I don’t feel like I’m skiing every time I walk by one of the vinyl windows the previous owner installed upstairs.

Thankfully this year we were aided in this wintry rite by the battery-powered caulk gun we’ve got on loan from my father-un-law (sic, cuz we’re happily unmarried).

seasonseal.jpg

It’s a Ryobi, and I love it—though I will admit I’ve not tested other power guns. After caulking a magnificently painful mile in the last few years, this thing makes me feel like a slacker. A slacker who doesn’t have a cramped, flaming arm and hand.

Now I also love the Seasonseal caulk because it sticks tight when you need it but peels right off in the spring when you want to fling open that sash. Though I love it a little less after the tube you see up there burst its casing and started chugging out the side of the tube. That made neat work tricky.

But I don’t care anymore. The new vinyl windows are ugly, and they don’t keep the chill out, and I can’t even ignore them by looking through them because their surface is foggy and impossible to get clear. I just need to save up so I can replace them with something that won’t be useless like they are in 10 years.

Here’s some comparison info from the October 2007 issue of Old House Journal that I hope will inspire you to think twice before dumping your old windows:

Assumptions for all examples: 3×5 window; gas heat @ $1.09/therm

Storm window over single-pane original window
Cost for storm = $50
Annual energy savings = 722,218 Btu
Annual savings per window = $13.20
Simple payback = 4.5 years
*Nothing sent to the landfill

Double-pane thermal replacement of single pane window
Cost $450.00
Annual energy savings = 625,922 Btu
Annual savings per window = $11.07
Simple payback = 40.5 years
*Original window in the landfill

Low E glass double-pane thermal replacement of single pane window
Cost = $550.00
Annual energy savings = 902,722 Btu
Annual savings per window = $16.10
Simple payback = 34 years
*Original window in the landfill

Low E glass double-pane thermal replacement of single-pane window with a storm
Cost = $550.00
Annual energy savings = 132,407 Btu
Annual savings per window = $2.29
Simple payback = 240 years
*original window in landfill

Now, I know there are a lot of pressures in the world, and the personal timeline, that make it seem better to buy new windows. I respect each person’s assessment of the state of his or her house and ability to restore various parts, but I feel the need to point out that those new windows you think are solving your problems may just be the start of a whole new, expensive set of troubles. It may be slow going, but at least you can fix the old ones.

More testimony can be found from the Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Lakewood Heritage Advisory Board and Gail Wallace of Restoration Works Inc.

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This entry was posted in caulk gun, mistakes, windows, winter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fill la la la la

  1. bayandgablevictorian says:

    I recently finished my own post lauding the value of original windows and wordpress provided an autolink to your blog.

    Thank-you for “doing the math” on potential window choices and energy consumption. I decided on a new storm window after having rebuilt the original window. It just made sense to keep the original windows given the cost, appearance, loss of historic character and on-going “replacement” of thermopaned vinyl windows.

  2. n54th says:

    Thanks for stopping by, and humongous kudos for rebuilding your window!

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