Original windows matter. Don’t replace, repair!
Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Are you considering replacing the original windows in your home? Before you do anything, read this article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
Windows are the most visible, yet commonly under-appreciated components of older and historic homes and buildings.
While being very beautiful, original historic windows also serve a great purposethey impart a building’s inside-outside connection. They provide ventilation and light, and can function as emergency egress. Above all, they offer clues to a building's history because they are integral aspects of architectural design.
However, despite all of these attributes, windows are an easy target and are all too often blamed for energy loss. Commonly, people jump to replace their historic windows because companies promise that their replacement windows will not only save them time and money, but that their products and services are the “green” thing to do. In fact, a thriving industry has grown around the perceived need to replace rather than restore.
Have you ever wondered why there are no replacement fireplaces? Fireplaces with ill-fitting or missing dampers leak more heat than windows do, but salesmen don’t leave flyers for new dampers in your mailbox, do they?
One reason why it is tempting for homeowners to replace their original historic windows is because they can immediately see a difference when a window is replaced. And, even though a project like sealing air leaks will ultimately save more energy than replacing windows, there is relatively low demand for air-sealing services. As Tom Kenny, manager of C&O Conservation, has said, “I provide something that is invisible.”
The following frequently asked questions are intended not only to inform and inspire, but to demonstrate how you can keep your old windows, achieve energy efficiency, and be “green” throughout the process.
- Why do my old windows matter?
- Should I believe the hype about new windows being better?
- Should I repair or replace my old windows?
- Will storm windows help?
- How do I find someone to repair my windows?
- Are there easy, low-cost ways to make my windows more energy efficient?