Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Storm windows offer protection against bad weather and provide your home with an extra layer of insulation. If you live in Southern states, it’s best to keep storm windows on through hurricane season, but it’s not uncommon for people to leave them on all year since inclement weather can happen at any time. But what about everywhere else?
It’s best to remove storm windows after winter to let the spring breeze circulate in your home. However, if you always use the AC during spring and summer, it’s best to keep them in place because they serve as insulation, trapping the cool air inside your home and saving you money on energy bills.
This article will discuss the main things to consider before you take your storm windows down so you can decide when the time is right for you.
Factors To Consider When Removing Storm Windows
Storm windows are typically made of glass or see-through acrylic panels mounted on aluminum, wood, or vinyl material. Their primary purpose is to protect your windows from strong winds and flying debris. Add to that; they help insulate your home, which is beneficial in warmer climates where air conditioning is needed.
The two types of storm windows are:
- Interior – easy to install and usually last longer as they’re not directly exposed to the elements.
- Exterior – placed on the outside of your home to protect the existing window.
Exterior storm windows are prone to condensing, so they’re not ideal for year-round use. This can lead to warped window frames and even rot in the walls.
However, you can buy them with ‘weep holes’ to help prevent this from happening.
Regardless of the type of storm windows you have, your decision to remove them or not will come down to a few key factors. So let’s take a closer look at these below.
The change in seasons is one of the reasons why you need to install (and uninstall) storm windows.
They are usually installed during the winter since they add a layer of insulation to your home. In addition, they help seal the window gaps and prevent drafts.
Cold air can easily seep into unsealed windows. So even if you turn the heater way up high, it’ll be more challenging for it to heat your house.
Although storm windows serve a lot of purpose during wintertime, it’s best to uninstall them right after.
Storm windows, by design, will keep most of the outside air from entering your home, which is great when it’s freezing, but not ideal during the warmer months when you want a natural breeze in the house.
Not only that, but storm windows need to be cleaned, which is tricky when they’re in place.
Instead, it’s better to remove them once the temperature becomes more moderate. Clean and dry them thoroughly, and then store them flat or in an upright position. Cover them with a plastic or blanket to keep the dirt away.
Important: place them in a dry area where the temperature is constant – you don’t want moisture to seep in and oxidize the metal parts.
Apart from the weather, another factor you need to consider is if you’re going to use air conditioning or not.
You might want to go au naturel during the spring – relying entirely on the breeze to cool your home. If this is the case, then, of course, you should remove your storm windows.
But if you want to run your air conditioner, it’s best if you keep the storm windows in place.
As mentioned, they act as good insulators and can reduce air leakage by as much as 10%.
You don’t want the cold air to just spill out – or the hot outside air to go inside.
Another good thing about storm windows is they can reflect radiant heat by as much as 35%.
Heat, for one, can easily penetrate traditional windows. So even if your AC is on full blast during the summer, it won’t cool your home as efficiently. After all, heat is constantly trickling in.
Sadly, it means higher cooling costs on your part.
So if you’re looking to save anywhere from 10%-30% on cooling costs, then it’s best if you kept your storm windows in place.
As established, storm windows do a great job keeping air out. But did you know that they can help keep the noise out (or in) as well?
Sound, after all, is a form of vibration that travels in the air.
If you live in a noisy area, you may want to keep your storm windows in place. Without them, the sounds of honking horns and chatty neighbors will end up disrupting your sleep.
That said, using storm windows is a way for you to repay the favor. If your family is noisy – or you play loud instruments – these windows will trap the sound inside your home. In effect, they may keep you from disturbing your neighbors.
Storm windows are, well, made for storms. So if you live in typhoon-prone areas such as Florida, Alabama, or Louisiana, it’s a must to have them installed. Such is especially the case during the storm season, which runs from June to November.
The best time to take these windows down is after the stormy season for cleaning. But since storms occur unpredictably in these areas, it’s better to leave them on for safety’s sake.
Storm windows provide insulation, as well as noise and weather protection. Given these benefits, you need to think hard before uninstalling them.
Ideally, they should be routinely removed for cleaning after winter to let the spring breeze cool your home. But if you prefer to use the AC, it’s best to keep them in place. They can help bring down cooling costs, after all.
Apart from that, the noise in your area – and potential brewing thunderstorms – are other things you need to consider when keeping or removing storm windows.
- US Department of Energy: Storm Windows
- Advance My Home: Storm Windows for Winter Weather Protection
- 4FeldCo: What is the Purpose of a Storm Window?
- Lifetime Aluminum: Benefits of Installing Storm Windows
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