My Green Home Doors and Windows: a Mix of Old and New Plus Many Tubes of Caulking
When builders talk about home doors and windows, what they usually mean is new doors and windows, or replacement doors and windows.
House window replacement is BIG business and a lot of money is spent trying to persuade us that our old windows are just holes through which our hard-earned cash flies out faster than we can earn it!
Prudent consumers should take all that hype with a grain of salt. Although it's true that Energy Star windows are a wonderful invention, did you know that in terms of energy efficiency new doors and windows may not offer the best return for your investment?
When I purchased this house, one of the elements that I scrutinized was the condition of the doors and windows. I had a limited budget and didn't want a big chunk of it to go on something that wasn't that important to me. For me, a window is to open and close, and look through, not look at; and a door is for entering and exiting, and keeping the cold out.
Yes, it's possible to make old windows look new.
The result was that of the 16 existing windows, I figured that only 3 needed replacing. All the remaining 13 needed was a bit of TLC in the form of repairs and improvements – and a lot of caulking.
Right now, I'm looking into interior storm windows. I'm more and more convinced that they are the most direct route to energy efficiency. I'm looking at homemade permanent ones for my sunroom-office, where six of the windows don't open anyway, and at custom-made ones, which are designed to be removed during the warmer weather.
I will report my findings here, so keep checking back!
MOVE THE STAIRS Moving a staircase? It's easy! Watch this step by step stair project how-to from top to bottom. (All puns intended!)
PILE ON THE INSULATION Looking for ways to save energy? Home insulation should be high on your list of priorities. Get the facts.
ANOTHER STAIR STORY We took out the stairs to the second floor, so now how do we get up there? A folding attic ladder supplies the answer.
TAP THE EARTH FOR WATER We prospect for water by ancient means and lo! water appears. See it happening, step-by-step.
DOWNSIZE YOUR LIFE Are you serious about reducing your impact on the environment? Start by downsizing your home! See how I did it -- and why.
LEARN ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY If you thought solar energy was only about solar panels, think again... and read this article by solar energy expert Michael Martinez.
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Dean Prague, Czech Republic
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Steve United States
Thank you so much for sharing your exquisitely well-told stories! I have spent the last 2 hours reading the whole saga, and I appreciate all of the detail that went into your decision making. I hope you are enjoying your green home with cozy surroundings and energy efficiency.
Candice Unites States
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Rajiv United States
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A few years ago, I bought this fixer-upper for $10,000.
It had been vacant for six years, had no water supply, needed a new roof, and was likely to conceal an unsuspected number of nasty flaws.