Improve Old Windows with Window Inserts

Written by Anita Alvarez
Updated September 10, 2015
Replacement window, older home
Windows on older homes can often use an energy efficiency boost. For owners concerned that replacing the entire window and frame will take away some of the home’s architectural integrity, window inserts can be a good alternative. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Greg E. of Flossmoor, Illinois)

How can you keep the look of your old windows while improving their energy efficiency? Window inserts are an innovative alternative.

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Up to about 15 percent of your home’s energy can be lost through older windows. While replacement windows are a good investment, the upfront cost can be high – and the payback period can be long. And new windows often don't have the unique look that enhances an older home’s charm.

Window inserts are a way to greatly boost window efficiency and keep the charisma. But first, let's consider your options.

Window Replacement Alternatives

Savvy homeowners investigate all their options before proceeding with a window upgrade. Here are a few alternatives worth checking out.

Storm windows. Using custom storm windows can give old windows a big boost in efficiency. While they add an extra layer of insulation and reduce noise, they aren't without challenges like window condensation problems and changing the look of the home's exterior. They can be costly, too.

Window replacements. While this investment can average as much as $700 per window, new windows do a good job of insulating the home from heat loss and heat gain.

Window-sealing kits. You can buy these inexpensive kits at almost every home improvement or big box store, but they can damage paint when removed, alter the view from inside the home and are unsightly. Plus, you have to reinstall them every year.

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Window Inserts

Window inserts are a cost-effective, attractive alternative to the three options above. Think of them as modified interior storm windows. They fit next to your current windows, creating an air pocket that increases your original windows' insulating power.

The insert is comprised of a layer of energy-efficient glass in a compression frame. The insert pops into the interior frame of the window and easily pops out. As a result, you can leave the inserts in the windows year-round. When you need to open a window for fresh air, take the insert out. Reinstall it when you close the window.

The compression means you don't have to drill holes into or permanently compromise your current window frames or use an adhesive. The tight fit also helps eliminate air leaks around the window frame.

Benefits of Window Inserts

In addition to energy savings, window inserts:

Control condensation. The insert controls condensation on windows, limiting the mold and rot that moisture can cause in a frame.

Maintain the home's integrity. Inserts don't alter the appearance of your home, so you can have more energy-efficient windows and retain your home’s charm.

Offer a custom fit. These inserts are available from manufacturers in standard sizes, or you can custom order the inserts to fit different window dimensions common in older homes.

Reduce noise. The window’s insulation cuts heat transfer and increases energy savings. It also muffles noise, so your home's interior will be quieter.

Endless options. Choose the perfect style to match your windows. Your options are early endless from garage door window inserts to window grille inserts and more!  

For more information about upgrading your home's windows with inserts, contact a provider recommended by the Angie’s List community.

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