Choosing Exterior Storm Windows for Your Home

Choosing Exterior Storm Windows for Your Home

What are Storm Windows?

Storm windows are windows mounted in addition to existing ones. They can be internal or external, but this article is about externally mounted storm window choices. Installing an exterior storm window entirely covers the existing window and frame such that it adds a barrier to the outdoor climate in addition to the existing frame joints.

Storm windows greatly increase the efficiency of the window through their construction, efficient glass and frame materials. They are less expensive than removal and complete replacement of the existing windows.

Benefits of Storm Window Installation

Storm window installation results in several benefits that most homeowners find great enough to justify the costs of installation. They include:

  • Savings on energy costs

  • Add insulation effect for more comfort with less heat going in and out around and through windows

  • Add rooms for use in transitional seasons

  • They protect your existing windows from weather damage

An installation professional can provide you with an analysis of your home’s current heating and cooling load and costs and an estimate of the payback for your choice of storm windows installed.

Types of Storm Windows

For most homes, there are four primary choices for storm window types:

  • Two-track – two-track windows are for use primarily with double-hung windows. They are a two-panel window, with glass on the top and glass and a screen on the bottom. The bottom panel can be raised to let air circulate through the window when desired. These windows vary in features, but you will want to check for these:

    • Holes predrilled for faster installation

    • For easier cleaning, removable glass and screen

    • Good weather stripping to reduce air infiltration

  • Triple-track – the triple-track window type has two separate tracks for the top and bottom glass and another for the screen. This allows the top glass to be lowered, the bottom to be raised, and the screen to be raised into the top position with both glass panes at the bottom. This allows for top or bottom ventilation. These are also used with double-hung windows. Features you’ll find on triple-track windows:

    • a stabilizer bar will add extra strength

    • pre-drilled holes speed and simplify installation

    • glass and the screen can be removed for easy cleaning

    • quality weather stripping

  • Two-track Slider – These are the same as regular two-track storm windows except that they open horizontally instead of vertically. This makes them the right type for installation over slider windows. The same features you look for in the regular two-track slider window would apply to these as well.

  • Basement Storm or Picture Window – This is a single pane window. They are constructed with thumb latches for easy removal. They should have a built-in screen if you plan on removing them at times. The same features you look for in the other window types apply to basement storm windows.

Features like low-e glass and color choices make shopping for storm windows rich in choices. You can improve the energy efficiency and the look of your home with this one renovation.