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Acceptable temp. Loss/Gain at Windows - Replacement?

Acceptable temp. Loss/Gain at Windows - Replacement?


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Old 12-07-22, 07:19 AM
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Acceptable temp. Loss/Gain at Windows - Replacement?

I have original 27 year old Pelle windows at my house in Northern Jersey. The wife is pushing for replacement so I picked up a thermal gun (BLACK+DECKER Thermal Leak Detector (TLD100) - - Amazon.com) to check for loss/gain. What's an acceptable amount? Should I be checking in colder weather for more accurate readings?
 
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Old 12-07-22, 07:39 AM
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For all intents and purposes your windows are probably just as efficient now as they were when they were installed 27 years ago. However weatherstripping can get old and flat, then it lets cold air in on windy days.

Not sure what you are trying to do with a thermal sensor. If the perimeters are abnornally cold (in one area and not in another) it might identify a lack of insulation around the rough opening of the window, or identify where you have air infiltration, but that's about it. You might find the same readings on a new window if it was poorly installed. But glass is cold, and it gets even colder behind curtains and blinds, or when furniture is blocking a heat register... so don't be surprised if the glass is cold on a cold day. Bottoms are always colder than tops, because cold air sinks as warm air rises. Your wall is probably R13 or R19. Windows are more like R3. Even the best window will be somewhere around R4. (Windows are generally marked with a U-value, which is a converse decimal of R value) If anyone tells you any different they are a slick salesman that's blowing smoke.

There have been some improvements in the window industry in the last 27 years, but the improvements are largely minor.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 07:43 AM
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She has a point as some don't close without a ton of force and there is some air leaking but as you mentioned -- it could be weather stripping, etc. I am having a hard time justifying $50K without some sort of 'proof'. Is there any value in checking temp?
 
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Old 12-07-22, 08:01 AM
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Not really, about all it will show you is where you might have some air leakage... on a windy day... on the windward side. On the leeward side, warm air will be leaving those same areas so they won't be as cold... until the wind changes direction.

A piece of insulated glass will always be colder on the edge and colder on the bottom than it is in the middle of the glass. You don't need a thermometer to tell you that. A new window is going to be basically the same. "Warm edge technology" is a phrase commonly used in the window industry. Leads you to believe it's superior, and it is... but "warmer" would be a better term. It's warmer than the old alternatives, but it's not warm, just less cold. Kind of like how something R-3.5 is warmer than something that is R-3.4. But the difference is pretty miniscule.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 08:04 AM
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So, how do you determine when/if new windows need to be replaced? In my case where I do have leakage, could it just be tons of weather stripping replacement? And how would a difficult window closing be repaired? I literally have to slam them down and use my weight to be able to lock them.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 08:37 AM
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So the first item is to confirm that the window IGU's are all intact and not fogged, that is the primary defense of the window itself followed by window sealing/weather stripping/fit.

After that it's all installation. You can have the best windows in the world and if not installed correctly they can be less energy efficient compared to a cheaper window that is installed correctly (relatively).

$50K, I feel your pain but I'd also be using that new tool to investigate the entire house for cold spots and doing the candle test for air leaks. You can do a lot of repairs for a fraction of that amount.

Also we have fabricated internal blankets for our door walls that we install every night, just those couple windows make a huge difference in the homes overall efficiency during the really cold snaps we get.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 10:39 AM
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I am still not clear when it makes sense to replace. I don't think I have fog at the windows just the issue with some leaking air (perhaps weatherstripping) or difficult to close? The wife isn't happy they are single pane and that there are no 'ledges'. I personally don't care but I get her point about not being able to close it.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 11:09 AM
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I highly doubt they are single pane. Would need some photos to confirm. We don't even know what style of windows you have. "Pella" is not too descriptive since they have a half dozen models... both wood and vinyl. The "ledges" (I assume she means window stools, which are often called sills) have nothing to do with the windows. That is trim.

Hard closing is harder to say what's causing it. I'm certainly not going to be able to diagnose that from my living room. But often it comes down to lubrication, and clean tracks and interlocks. 27 years of bugs for example could clog up the interlock on a double hung, making it hard to shut.

Windows are often a case of if it isn't broke don't fix it. Some people open and close their windows every day. Others never open them. If they are rotten or broken, or don't stay up, or fogged glass, or horribly installed... those are all reasons to replace them.

But cleaning and lubricating is all diy stuff that doesn't cost you hardly anything, and might make them easier to operate. But it's possible the hard operating is something being warped or pinched, which can happen to vinyl eventually... and the only fix for that is usually replacement. Bad glazing is another one, and you usually see water infiltration or fogged glass with that, which you said is not an issue.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 11:29 AM
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Interesting. This is going a different route than anticipated. If you don't mind, I'll take a few pictures to provide a bit of context and see if anything jumps out.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 11:50 AM
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That would be good. An overall pic inside and out, and then a closeup of the glass edges. One other thing it could be, if these windows tilt down to clean... they probably have spiral balances and they can get stiff and hard to turn. Raise a window up, tip the window down and take a picture of the side of the frame.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 05:33 PM
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Not too sure how to take picture of the edge. What else should I do?












 
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Old 12-07-22, 06:12 PM
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Good photos... and those are nice windows. I installed a ton of those back in the 90s.

First, those t handles on your casements aren't very conducive to cranking the windows open unless you have bionic fingers. I can see women hating them, they usually lack the strength to do it. Plus, casement tracks get dirty on bottom and that often prevents them from opening easily. So on the casements (bottom photo) you could crank them open and get all the dirt out of the bottom tracks, then lube them up with some silicone spray. Do Not use oil. And then you could consider getting actual crank handles for them. You can often find used ones on eBay for about $15 ea if you are lucky.

As for the other double hung windows, they may be single pane on the exterior, but the interior panel that clips in was called a double glazing panel. (DGP). It's effectively a double pane, without the IGU. It's a good proven system, and you will never have any IGUs fogging up or going bad.

As for needing to hang on the double hung windows to get them to lock, I typically hear things like that from older folks (no offense) who just lack the strength to do it. Pretty sure there is a bulb seal on the bottom of the window sash, so the wider the window is, the harder that would be to compress and lock. And when it's cold, they get stiff. I don't know that there is much you can do about that.

The casement windows have a sash seal weatherstrip that the sash closes against... and they "can" be replaced but if they are leaking or drafty I would advise you to have a Pella Service rep do that work for you, because its slightly tricky. You can only see it from the outside when the window is cranked open. It's usually a grey vinyl.

Unless you have recently won the lottery, my advice would be to live with and learn to love those windows.. . If you were to replace them today, the windows alone would be over $1000 each. That doesn't include installation. (you could easily add another $1000 for that... maybe more in Jersey.) They look great and your house is obviously a pretty nice one. Replacing that trim and getting a painter in there would be quite costly. I'd say you'd be better off taking the wife out to eat every night for the rest of your life, and make her happy that way. Doubt that would add up to $50,000.
 
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Old 12-07-22, 10:23 PM
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I could replace the broken screens and do some DIY to make it close better but the wife said the issue is that the frame isn't square. The screens don't sit properly and there are gaps causing bugs/etc. to get inside. They can't be cleaned from the inside (e.g. they don't pivot to get access to both sides). I am not sure why the screens wouldn't fit right unless they are warped and not the window as she claims.
 
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Old 12-08-22, 03:14 AM
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The double hungs do tilt in from the inside to clean. You raise the sash slightly, then push in on the vinyl track while pulling the top corner of the window toward you... do each corner one at a time. Casements must usually be cleaned from outside.

I don't see a photo showing a screen problem. As for screens being out of square, I assume that is only on the double hungs? If so, open a window just a crack and see if the gap under the sash is straight or not. My guess is that if there are gaps, either they got bent or someone who is not mechanically inclined took the screens out and didn't put them back in correctly.

I am surprised that your double hungs only have one center lock. Usually sashes that are that wide have 2 locks and 2 lift handles.
 
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Old 12-08-22, 08:08 AM
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I added a few better pics of issue and Iím not sure they tilt given the track





 
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Old 12-08-22, 09:49 AM
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Well that screen is missing its clip so it's no wonder there is a gap. Might not be an original screen either if it seems the wrong size. As for tilting them in, I already described how to do it.
 
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Old 12-08-22, 07:32 PM
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I wonder if I just need new screens and weather stripping all around for the wife but I can't see a way to remove the window nor without yanking it out. The sash is embedded into the channel.
 
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Old 12-08-22, 07:37 PM
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Just reread the directions regarding how to tilt the double hungs in. I installed hundreds of them and I know for a fact that they tilt in. You push in on the vinyl jamb right above the top of the sash while you pull in on the corner of the sash. One side at a time.

If you need a video, go to youtube and search for "how to clean pella double-hung windows".
 
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Old 12-08-22, 08:13 PM
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Casements are the ones that I have with a crank, correct?

Looks like I need to pull a bit harder.


 

Last edited by XSleeper; 12-08-22 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 12-08-22, 08:46 PM
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Yes.
 
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Old 12-08-22, 08:47 PM
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Apologies for link.

I MIGHT get lucky and just need weatherstripping and new screen all around along with some cleaning/oil.
 
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Old 12-08-22, 08:51 PM
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As I said earlier, do not use oil. It only attracts dirt.
 
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Old 12-08-22, 08:53 PM
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Yes, silicone. Should I be looking to talk to a Window company for this? Or is this a typical handyman/contractor?
 
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Old 12-08-22, 08:57 PM
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If you want new screens, you can call the Pella Service department. They will need the exact size of the exterior of the window. Not the screen... the entire window. You measure it on the outside from tip to tip... (edge to edge).
 
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Old 12-08-22, 08:59 PM
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It needs to be "Pella"?
 
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Old 12-12-22, 09:03 AM
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Thanks for your help in this. My contractor confirmed all of this. Mainly, why spend $50K? He suggested replacing all of the bent/ripped/etc. screens and then replacing the stripping under the window sash that is probably preventing the window from closing. My wife is convinced the window are no longer square but I suspect is the former issues and this isn't a huge deal. The contractor doesn't think weather stripping will make a huge diff but is that something I should consider for all or just those windows with a bigger temp. loss? How would I make a decision on the stripping to identify where I have a real leak. Or should you not touch it unless you really feel air.
 
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Old 12-12-22, 11:19 AM
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One other thing you could try that I didn't mention. It's possible your double hung could be hard to lock if the top sash has slipped down a little bit. So see if you can push the top sash up a bit before locking the bottom sash. Try that first before anything else.

Other than that I can't add much to what I already said. You have to open the window a crack then look at the gap of light under it.. if its straight, the window is most likely square... and if it is, you should just put that idea out of your mind.

If you want to check for air leaks, wait for a windy day and take a smoking incense stick around and watch where the smoke goes. All windows have some air infiltration (if they didn't you couldn't open them) so don't be surprised when the smoke blows. Some of that is normal. It can just be a clue, such as if one window does it and the one right beside it doesnt.
 
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Old 12-12-22, 12:13 PM
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Sounds good. Many thanks.
 
 

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