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How to Retrofit Existing Windows

If your current windows are in reasonably good condition, you may want to keep them and find ways to make them more energy efficient. Let’s look at some options for improving performance by exploring how to retrofit existing windows.

Retrofit Existing Windows While Improving Efficiency

Several ideas may be viable options for improving the efficiency of an existing window. Installing storm windows, window film, replacing the window sash, or providing exterior shade are excellent solutions to increase efficiency. It is always wise to seek the advice of a replacement contractor or licensed energy auditor to ensure your windows are in good repair and have maintained adequate conditions to allow for upgrades without needing replacement of panes or window frames. If conditions are in your favor, learning how to retrofit existing windows may be just what you’re looking for.

Storm Windows

Installing storm windows on either the interior or exterior of the existing windows will improve performance by insulating the windows. Storm windows reduce air leakage as well as heat loss. Storm windows should allow air to escape to the ambient environment in order to prevent humid air from becoming trapped within the window panes. When humid air gets trapped, the trapped moisture can condense on cold surfaces and cause damage. Exterior storm windows usually have weep holes for this reason. For the interior storm windows, it is important that the primary window allow some air leakage, but the interior part of the storm/window pair must be airtight.

retrofit storm windows

Photo Credit: Preservation in Pink

Solar Control Window Film

Solar control window films are a fantastic modern upgrade if you decide to retrofit existing windows. This film reduces solar heat gain through reflection and absorption. Window films have two different ratings to indicate the heat and the visible light transmitted through the film. A low SHGC rating indicates less solar heat transmitted, whereas a high VT rating indicates more visible light. There are also tinted solar films available to decrease glare. Although solar control window film is effective in improving window efficiency, be mindful to check your windows’ warranty information to confirm installation of window film will not void any warranty you may have. To find certified window films, visit the NFRC’s Certified Products Directory.

Sash Replacement

If your existing windows are in good condition, you may be able to consider sash replacement. An energy auditor or replacement contractor will be able to determine if this is an option for you based on their evaluation of your current window conditions. If you have confirmation that windows are in good condition with no moisture or air leakage, sash replacement kits are available and relatively easy to install.

retrofit sash windows

Photo Credit: Milgard Windows

Exterior Shading

Window upgrades are great for improving energy efficiency performance. The most effective way to reduce solar heat gain, however, is to eliminate the sun’s rays from reaching the windows to begin with. Planting shade trees and installing shutters, solar screens, or awnings are examples of exterior shade options that will block radiation from the sun.

Whatever your window needs are, the experts at Glass West can help. Offering window repair services and replacement, Glass West has been offering quality service to the Sacramento area for years. Call or make an appointment online today!

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