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Window Weather Stripping for Your Passive Solar House

written by: 00orange00•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 3/7/2010

Enormous heat loss can take place via leaks around windows. One of the first steps to making your house ready to use passive heating or cooling is to make sure that your windows are properly weather sealed.

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    Weather-Stripping Windows to Prevent Convective Energy Losses

    The air which tends to leak by loose fitting sash windows can account for 30% of the heat loss in your house. Weather stripping of sash windows is especially important. Sash windows can be weatherstripped with the type of weather sealing which is able to provide a pressure fit across the sliding surfaces. Felt weatherstripping can be used to stop air from flowing around the sash, past the stop and to the out-doors. Felt weather-stripping allows for the window still to be opened and closed. However, if you are just looking for a quick easy fix, flexible removable caulking can be applied before winter, and then removed in the spring time. In this case, it will not be possible to open the window when it is weather-stripped. But it would provide a quick fix to a significant heat loss route.

    Double hung and sliding windows can be weather sealed with rolled vinyl. This type of weather stripping can be nailed in place around the window and allows for the movement of the window if it is to be opened or closed.

    Spring metal, can also be installed around a sliding window. It is not as easy to install as rolled vinyl is but will not be seen once it is in place.

    The latest method devised for weather stripping of sliding windows is with application of “v” shaped plastic. Self adhesive strips of V shaped plastic fit into the channel that the window slides in and are not visible once installed. This method of weather-stripping will not work with a window that tends to stick.

    Casement of hinged windows are the easiest to weather-strip. The easiest way to weather-strip such a window is with the application of vinyl gaskets. These can be purchased in rolls and cut to fit over the lip of the window frame. A cheaper alternative is to apply adhesive-backed foam strips to the window frame where the window rests against the frame. When the window is closed tight the foam strips compress to form a tight weather seal.

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    Storm Windows: More than Just Weather Stripping

    Storm Windows:

    A variation on the weather-stripping of windows would be the installation of storm windows. Storm windows are simply extra window panes that are installed on the outside of the window frame in the fall to add an extra layer of glazing to your window. This effectively creates a temporary double paned window where a single pane window existed before. The heat loss from a single pane window can be reduced by 50% to 75% by adding a storm window to it. When you install a storm window over a window in your home, you need to caulk it well on all sides while taking care to leave weep holes free at the bottom. The weep holes will allow any moisture that accumulates between the regular window and the storm window to escape.

    Storm windows add to the effectiveness of a window's weatherstripping in lowering convective heat losses in the same way that caulking will do. Then there is the additional benefit of the storm windows in the reduction in the conductive heat losses that would have been taking place at the surface of the window's glass prior to the installation of the storm window.

    As an alternative to storm windows but in a similar spirit you might install clear vinyl shades which can be rolled up into a box. The box is installed at the top of the window on the inside of the pane. The sides and bottom of the shades are fastened tightly to the window frame with magnets or with special tracks. Whenever you need to open the window, you can release the sides and bottom of the shade and roll it up and out of the way.

    References:

    Anderson, Bruce and Malcolm Wells. Passive Solar Energy Second Edition, The Homeowner's Guide to Natural heating and Cooling. Brick House Publishing Company, Amherst, New Hampshire, 1994

    Bossong, Ken and Jan Pilarski. Passive Solar Retrofit for Homeowners and Apartment Dwellers. Citizens' Energy Project, Wash D.C. 1982. report series no.137" Home owner's Guide to Passive Solar: An Overview"

Passive Heating and Cooling

Passive Heating and Cooling Technology uses the natural movement of energies in and around a building to heat and cool the building. By using the principals of passive heating and cooling you can economically eliminate most of the external energy that is required to heat or cool that building.
  1. Passive Heating And Cooling
  2. How Does a Passive Solar Heating System Work? Direct, Indirect & Isolated Gain
  3. Home Energy Conservation: Step One to Passive Solar
  4. Save Your Heating and Cooling Energy by Controling Convective Heat Loss and Cooling Losses
  5. Window Weather Stripping for Your Passive Solar House
  6. Door Weather Stripping for Energy Conservation
  7. Save Your Heating and Cooling Energy by Controling Conductive Energy Losses