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Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

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  • Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

    This winter my open concept kitchen/family room in my "new" house has been very chilly while the rest of the house seems normal heat-wise. The room, which is an older addition to the back of the house, is hampered by only having one HVAC vent, a sliding door to an unheated sunroom and 2 of these odd windows which face east and are quite large - at least 50"x 50". As you can expect we spend a lot of time in this room.

    When I moved to this house last summer and immediately noted this style of window. I find them odd because they seem "old style" yet they look newish from an age perspective. Anyways as you can see by the condensation they leak. The funny thing is the exact same style and size of window is installed in the living room and they do not leak. Note that I have not fiddled at all with them.

    Also; While the room has a wood fireplace with those electric fan vent thingys installed in the raised hearth I am not overly fond of this kind of setup and have yet to have a wood fire in the WB fireplace, though I now understand why the previous owner had such a setup. While some folks like such a WB setup dragging firewood around, in and out, etc. is not really my thing.

    Any views, insights, opinions on the odd windows, alternatives to the WB fireplace (gas?) in order to make the room more liveable would be welcome.

    Cheers, Gregwindow1.jpgwindow2.jpg
    "every man is the maker of his own misfortune"
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  • #2

    Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

    Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

    Is that frost on the window or between the panes (if the seals are gone they will radiate cold)? I've had to replace a number with seals gone. If just on the window then a small fan to move the air around and keep it from stagnating against the window.

    You said this is a room at the back of the house with only one hvac duct - is there a return air at the farthest end that takes cold air back to the furnace? If not, perhaps a small fan (for the interim) to move the air around a bit.

    Some folks I know use plastic film to isolate the windows from the room - not on the window but more the frame to produce an air gap between the window and the room. Seems to keep the cold out but looks strange.

    I'm sure others will have much better suggestions.
    Nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

    Glenn from Winnipeg

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    • #3

      Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

      Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

      First thing is you need more air movement in and out. You need a heat run in front of every window and return air sized to do the job.

      To me the windows look like a single glazed unit with a clip on panel or something. What are those clips for if not holding in a panel.

      Better pics might help and a pic of the rooms.
      "Do it Right!"

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      • #4

        Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

        Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

        Thanks Glenn, it is in between.

        Yes Rusty, I believe the interior window pane is actually designed to come out? Note the little catches. They seem to be like those you find to hold interior screens in place? Seems weird hence my funny window title and asking for some input. Do you think these are old single pane windows which have been altered?

        Yes I thought about installing, as a trial, temporary seasonal the plastic film on the windows to help. I may still try this winter but thought I would stop and get some input first. Of course the cats like getting up close to the window and even put their paws up on the pane. Murphys law says that I would install the plastic film and one of the cats would put nail holes through and ruin the whole effort

        I am coming around to the idea of a natural gas fireplace to replace the WB one. My finance brain tells me natural gas will be cheaper than wood for the foreseable future (well my foreseable future anyways LOL) This might be the lowest cost solution to making the room more liveable; plus it has the option to turn off/on at will. But of course the gas source coming in to the furnace is on the other side of the house and the basement is fully finished so I don't know about running the gas line etc. Sigh, nothing is easy eh?

        Basically it is a compound problem as the room faces east, has the biggest (inefficient?) windows, the poorest HVAC service, and is used as a primary space. It is complicated further by the fact that I do not know whether I will remain here long term. Natural Gas is cheap. Even with this crappy cold winter I would estimate any potential heat savings at not much more than $500-$700 per year and I probably only have 20 years left in my life. I mean do the math, thats only about $15,000; not much of a reno budget !!
        Last edited by Greg in Caledon; 03-05-2014, 02:20 PM.
        "every man is the maker of his own misfortune"

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        • #5

          Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

          Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

          One thing to watch out for- our natural gas insert lets a lot of cold air into our family room when not in use and is probably the worst source of cold air in the house. You may have a different set up if you have a WB stove (ours fits into an existing fireplace) but whatever you do make sure that it is well insulated against drafts.
          Be careful when you follow the masses...sometimes the 'm' is silent.

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          • #6

            Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

            Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

            Pella windows. I did some houses with them in the 1990s. So expensive, yet so pedestrian in design and quality. Their success at the time was a testament to the power of advertising on the ignorant. I think there was even a class action lawsuit.

            You need more heat or less heat loss. Choose your poison.

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            • #7

              Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

              Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

              Your right Bender they are Pella ! Your assessment is also succinct. I think that after consideration more heat is easier and cheaper than less heat loss. So.... any ideas on...
              reducing heat loss?
              improving the seal on these windows?
              gas fireplace?
              "every man is the maker of his own misfortune"

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                The Film does work , I use it here on the old house I'm renting , stops the condesation and hence the mold ,with the added benefit for me it stops the drafts from the leaky opening sashes etc too.

                if the seals have gone in the dbl glzing you will need to repace the glass panels ...or the windows .....


                M.

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                • #9

                  Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                  Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                  Thanks Mick. I think I will try the film. I was at the habitat store recently and noted that they had the large kits for quite cheap.
                  "every man is the maker of his own misfortune"

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                  • #10

                    Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                    Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                    Greg:

                    I know you said it was a newish window, maybe before you bit the bullet on a Gas insert, see how much it is to replace the two offending windows in question with the best that you can by?

                    Glen

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                    • #11

                      Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                      Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                      Thanks for the Input Glen. Here are some more pics of the space and windows. As you can see the window area is quite large. If someone here could ballpark a an educated replacement cost for similiar sized windows of medium quality I would be appreciative. My uneducated guess would be a minimum of $3,000+. Of course as Rusty has noted (thanks Rusty, I appreciate your experienced input) this only solves part of the issue. Hence my thoughts that increasing the heat via a gas fireplace is the more cost efficient and more liveable soution to address the problem.

                      In the meantime I am also thinking that I could somehow improve the seal of the inner removable pane to the frame ? Other identical windows in the house show no signs of leakage so it must be possible though I have no experience with this.
                      window3.jpgwindow4.jpg
                      "every man is the maker of his own misfortune"

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                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                        Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                        Have Pella come out and look at their "problem" windows ...free advice and no doubt a quote to replace......

                        dont think i have seen these particuar windows with removable inner panes , not sure how they would seal to give you true dbl glazing?

                        are the windows all wood sashes ? do they open ? I have replaced glass only in wooden sashes like this before and made a few myself for different clients, in the existing windows I removed the old glass , then used a router to make the rebate deeper (if needed) + 1/16 for glazing tape and add a trim peice to the outside to hold the new glass in the sash.

                        M

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                        • #13

                          Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                          Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                          I wonder if it wouldn't be worth your while to try checking with smoke to see if its the window panes or the frame/sealing/wall & window interface insulation? If the temperature is still quite cool, the smoke may show you actual leakage paths that you can attack (vs. it being just the windows, since you have other windows in your house that don't show the same effects). At least that might show some simple items to evaluate for decreasing heat loss before you get in a vendor to give you a quote.

                          John
                          Shut up, wretched cricket of doom...

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                          • #14

                            Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                            Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                            Our house that was built in 1979 had mostly Pella windows with the frames constructed of cedar. After 30 years, we were looking at replacements - 9 windows of varying sizes, and a patio slider. A quote from Pella for aluminum clad windows was in the $40K range, 3 years ago. After I picked myself off the floor, my SO started looking at alternatives, particularly after seeing news of class lawsuits. In the end, we ended up with fiberglas windows from a Canadian manufacturer (Inline) in Toronto. There are other Canadian manufacturers as well - just Google it. All told, we spent about $10K on the windows, and $4k for a local company to install them. This wasn't our preferred way of replacing windows, but we saved about $4k this way as compared to buying from an 'authorized dealer/installer out of Kingston.

                            I don't have a breakdown by individual windows, but the largest was the unit in the living room (106 x 64) which consisted of a center fixed window flanked by 2 casement windows (21"x64") that opened. The second largest was the dining room (74 x 64), again with a center fixed and flanked by 2 casements. These 2 windows were white inside, while the outsides were painted slate grey. All windows were double glazed LOE 180 and were delivered from Toronto to Belleville.

                            We picked fiberglas for a number of reasons over viny: the coeffecient of expansion the ability to have dark colour painted on, and durability.

                            You can certainly spend less as suggested by Mick by just replacing the thermal pane, but in our case, the maintenance on the cedar was too much upkeep, and we were seeing some rot in some windows.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                              Re: Chilly Room, Funny Windows, and a Fireplace

                              Thanks Don that is very helpful. I believe that my frames are also cedar or pine. They are definitely wood. The $15k for 9 windows is also helpful as I believe I have the same approx number if I were to replace all the windows of this type in my house. I understand you had to replace due to rotting but most of the windows in my house are under a deep overhang so the weathering doesnt seem so bad but yes a better investgation is warranted.

                              I don't see the financial payback for replacing the windows so I am back to minimizing the loss and increasing the heat. I guess I could replace just the windows in the family room as a middle ground solution. But even that would probably be ~$5k and in my mind is a questionable use of $$.

                              Of course house resale in the future could be an issue. As realtors say potential buyers always double the cost of repairs they view as "necessary". But I could deal with that then. My experience tells me granite counter tops and some other kitchen upgrades would be a better use of $5k and more interesting than better windows.

                              Thanks to all for the input I appreciate it.
                              "every man is the maker of his own misfortune"

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