Storm Windows and Energy Efficiency


Energy costs are on the rise and many consumers are looking for a way to save money on their heating and cooling costs. One way to gain better control of these home energy costs is by installing high-quality storm windows.

When temperatures drop during winter, the heat loss in the home through single pane windows can be a major problem for energy saving and utility bills.

Not only do they lower your energy bills, but depending on where you stay, storm windows may be your only option to protect your home and its content in the event of a storm.

Types of Storm Widows

Storm windows can be classified into two main types with several different options to choose from. This includes:

  • Interior and exterior mounted storm windows
  • Fixed, two, and triple track storm windows
  • Glass type
  • Frame type

Interior vs. Exterior Mounted Storm Windows

An interior storm window is mounted onto the inside of a home’s normal window frame or sill. Interior storm windows are best suited to homes and high-rise buildings where the window’s exterior is inaccessible. Only in some cases is an interior mounted storm window the best application.

Generally, exterior storm windows are the best choice. An exterior storm window mounts to the outside of the window sill and offers significant energy efficiency benefits. They can also update the home’s curb appeal with the latest designs installed.

Fixed, Two, and Triple Track Storm Windows

Also known as casement or picture windows, a fixed storm window does not open. Created with one large piece of glass, a fixed window is ideal for protecting decorative windows, stained glass, or any window which does not open.

The two track storm window is one of the most common types of storm windows. Designed with two panes of glass which each have their own separate track.

The first track houses a window pane inside the top half of the frame and a window screen on the bottom half. The inside frame houses the bottom pane of glass. The bottom track can be raised up, exposing the exterior screen. This allows for free air flow when desired. By lowering the interior pane the window will close.

Triple track storm windows operate in much the same manner as the two track,  except that the two panes run along the outside of the tracks while a third track is completely made of screen material. This allows you to achieve air flow from the top and bottom window areas. The triple track storm window, therefore, offers the best air flow.

In general, the triple tracks have the most expensive price tag when compared to the two track. Fixed pain windows which cannot open will have the lowest price.

Storm Window Glass Types

There are many types of glass options available when installing storm windows. The most common glass used is the standard 3/16″. This is available in:

  • Tempered glass
  • Laminated glass
  • Low-E glass
  • Plexiglass

Storm windows are conveniently obtainable in a multitude of options, making them extremely versatile and flexible. Costs are always a major influencing factor when it comes to your choice of glass.

Storm Window Frame Types

Storm window frames are available in aluminum, vinyl, and wood. The most popular storm window frames are made from aluminum. This is partly due to its incredible strength.  Wooden storm window frames have died out, and vinyl frames are still available.

The choice of window frame material can have a dramatic effect on the energy efficiency of a home. A well constructed and correctly installed storm window frame will reduce airflow through the window panes and air pockets.

Reducing air flow is what will help to control the climate within the home. This keeps indoor temperatures stable during the hottest and coldest months of the year.

An added benefit of proper sealing storm windows is it gives homeowners more control over things like dust, allergens, and noise pollution. These are, however, dependent on the style of storm windows chosen.

Weighing up the costs of a storm window installation with the goals for your home in mind will help you budget on a price. To some people, noise reduction is more important than dealing with severe pollen or dust allergies.

Choosing a frame

Will your storm windows be required to open for ventilation or can it be a fixed pane?

Choosing frame designs are one of the most important factors in the process of creating storm windows for the home.

Check the Energy Star Certification

The right contractor and some careful planning will speed up the installation process significantly, but most important of all is to get the genuine product. This is the only way to ensure your investment will be worth it.  Whether working on a budget or focusing on a specific need, storm windows are unlikely to break during a violent storm if they have the window replacement cost right.

Whether working on a budget or focusing on a specific need, storm windows are unlikely to break during a violent storm if they have the ENERGY STAR certification.

Always check for the label on the product and never accept a verbal certification. Windows are an investment in your home and you want to make the right choice, first time.