1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Monday, April 24, 2006


My relationship with our triple-track aluminum storm windows is kinda rocky. It reminds me of my relationship with a boy in high school who one day I'd think was the bees knees (you know, when I was a teenager in the 1940s) and then the next day, or hour, I'd think he was the biggest jerk on the planet.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about the storms.

I hate them because they are ugly. Many of the screens are dry-rotted (can metal rot?) or something to the point that they're in shreds, some with big holes gauged or cut in them. Then there are the shiny aluminum frames and the pinchy things you have to push in to open them and the big sheets of dusty glass hiding my pretty old windows.

And yet I love them because they let me open the windows without letting bugs in and the cats out. Ok, that only applies to the ones without shredded screens. Also, they allegedly reduce the amount of cold air gushing into my house in the winter, and they protect the old wood windows from the elements.

So what to do, what to do? Around here, cold is a factor from late November through February. Nuclear-level heat takes over from June to September, so we have to keep the A/C on and the windows shut.

That leaves four months of the year (March, April, May, October) when window-opening is a priority. So far this year we haven't opened them much because the outdoors have been hotter than the indoors. And one night when we left the window open in our bedroom, a mosquito got in and woke us up whining in our ears and biting our shoulders.

If we're willing to forego the cold-prevention thing, we could take off the storms and get screens only for the lower halves of the windows we most commonly open.

The front half of the house (the part without aluminum siding) already has no storm windows, and I haven't noticed any significant difference in temperature.

The usual This Old House-ish suggestion is wooden storms that can be changed with the seasons - glass for winter, screen for summer. That would N-O-T work for us. We are way too busy (and yet also lazy) to make that switch twice a year. If the Christmas tree is any indication, we'd finally get the glass up halfway through the winter and the screens up halfway through the summer. And then what's the point?

Part of me would love to just impulsively take them all down and figure out a solution later. The other part (the one that has a voice remarkably like Darwin's) says "Don't you already have enough to do without worrying about this right now?"

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halloweenlover said...

We have the kind where the screen and the glass are both attached, and you just have to slide them up or down depending on the season. We also forget until we're halfway until the season, but it'd be easier.

I am laughing about the whining mosquito, because do you know that Josh NEVER hears them??? One mosquito can keep me up ALL NIGHT, but he can't hear a thing!

2:56 PM  
Jordana said...

We don't have storm windows at all, but we do have screens for our windows. I think we might have taken them off and put them in the attic the first winter we were in the house. Last summer we took the screens off, scrubbed them and since they sit on the outside of the window, we painted them to match our window trim color. We haven't moved them since. We never have time and even if we did, we'd be too lazy.

3:11 PM  
Carol said...

Our bungalow has the original storms on all 40+ windows. It definitely helps keep the outside weather out. Eight storms around the house are on some sort of hinge that allows us to push them out on an angle. We have simple screens that slide open to fit the window opening. They're only a foot to a foot and a half tall, but they allow a decent amount of air in. We like not having to take our storms off!

10:42 PM  
Chris said...

Our neighbors have the wooden kind that they put up in the winter and take down in the summer. They look so beautiful, but yet also impractical. I like to be able to open my windows in the winter too if I want. And I am WAY too lazy to have to do the switching.

We have the triple track, but ours are white. Living somewhere that is cold 9 mos out of the year means storm wondows are a neccessary evil.

7:40 AM  
Annie said...

Hey There,
I just redid all my triple track window screens last summer - totally easy breezy, just get a rolly wheel tool and a roll of screen. Maybe $15 and 2 hours later, i had 15 new windows. The trick is not to cut the screening down until AFTER you've rolled the bead of rubber rope into the groove. Or you could always do those expandable screens that thw windows rest on top of, but my cats are way too smart for them, and they're like $10 a piece. Good luck!

3:03 PM  
HomeImprovementNinja said...

I won't say to replace them with energy-efficient new windows that look close enough to the original wood kind that I wouldn't mind having them. I won't say that 'cuz I don't want to get lynched the old house purists. But I'm just saying that if I weren't not saying that, that's what I would be saying. See what I'm sayin'?

8:08 AM  
C&C said...

We have the same problem. Our windows need washed badly, but so far I can't find a bribe good enough to get my husband to take the top floor ones down! We were tempted to go with the new ones that look like the old, but at $300+ per window? Maybe we'll just deal with what we've got.

4:55 PM  

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