Friday, January 04, 2008

Keeping The Heat (And Your Money) In

By Douglas Barnes

Winter is well upon us in the northern hemisphere, and here in Canada, staying warm is serious business. We just had the mercury dip to -25°C, and that means more energy expenditure to heat the home. Luckily I got ready back in November with a simple method to change our R-2 windows into R-10 or better windows. Well, at night at least.

The house I am currently in has good southern exposure allowing a lot of sunlight to enter and heat the home in the daytime. This helps heat the home and cuts down on the need for lighting. At night, however, that heat is allowed to escape through the same windows as the R-value of glass, even double pane, gas-filled windows is not very high (they are about R-2). This allows a lot of heat to escape making it necessary to heat the house more in the evening and at night.

The answer to this problem is simple: stop the heat from escaping. The way to do this is with insulating window covers – something that will cover the window after sundown and help hold the heat inside the building.

To do this job, I purchased some 4 cm thick Styrofoam sheeting, duct tape, and weather stripping foam.

After measuring the windows, I cut the Styrofoam to match the size of the window minus 2 times the width of the weather stripping foam, which surrounds the edge of the cover.

After that, the edge of the Styrofoam sheet was taped with duct tape to create a smooth surface for the weather stripping to adhere to. Once the weather stripping was applied, it was stapled in place with a staple gun to make a stronger bond.

When the stripping is fastened in place, the window covers are done and ready to go in the windows.


Scott A. Meister said...

I guess I missed exactly are you fastening them to the window? Are you just taping them on...and if so...doesn't that leave sticky tape residue to clean off every morning when you remove them for morning sun? Also...what is the reason for the weather stripping?

Unknown said...

Thank you, Scott, for asking a simple and very important question. The sill of the window must be suitable for holding the cover otherwise this method will not work. These covers pop into the sills at night. And this explains the weather stripping. It makes a seal with the sill and holds in the cover.

Perhaps a closeup photo is in order...

Scott A. Meister said...

Ah...I get it. Thanks.

Oh...and if people are worried about the visual appeal of the styrofoam on your windows thing, I recommend covering the whole thing with your favorite cloth/material. Perhaps something that matches your interior. We can be creative here and have fun.

Unknown said...

Indeed. The living arrangement is temporary enough that I didn't bother with decorating the cover, but it can be done!