Snug-fit storm windows cut fuel bills in home

One of the best insulations to conserve heat is sealed-in air space. Storm windows do just that.

A tightly fitted storm, whether wood, aluminum, or plastic, puts an air space between the inside and outside windowpanes to lock warm air in and cold air out.

You have a choice - wood or aluminum.

Lumberyards and home-building centers offer ready-made, unpainted, permanent storm windows that may need little trimming to fit existing exterior window frames. If you are a do-it-yourself handyman, you should find it easy to build the wooden storm-sash from the plans that building and home-repair centers offer.

Some designs allow mass production if you have many exterior windows.

Detailed instructions show quick and easy rabbets, open mortises and tenons, and how to allow for out-of-square windows. Also, instructions show glazing techniques, wood sealing and painting, and final assembly and installation.

Aluminum combination screen and storm windows are ready made for existing double-hung casements. Usually, each storm glass panel slides in a separate track in the aluminum frame. You can also buy easy-made storm sash for inside installation on casement and awning windows.

You need to take an accurate measurement for proper fit. A simple way is to remove an existing screen and measure the frame. Tin snips can easily trim the aluminum frames to fit accurately. Easy-to-follow directions are available with purchased kits.

Within the last few years aluminum manufacturers have produced do-it-yourself aluminum inside panels. The inside units are relatively easy to install and less expensive, and can be left on in summer to reduce loss of cool air.

Always remember, however, to remove and store the screens during the winter, because they can cut down as much as 40 percent of the sun's rays that otherwise could warm the rooms in a house.

The kits come with all material, including a miter box and a roller to insert the rubber splin. You will need a hacksaw, metal file to reduce burs, razor, a tape measure, and perhaps a rubber mallet for the corner locks. Explicit instructions come for assembling and installing.

Plastic barriers are another type of inside installation. This window uses a rigid plastic panel held between plastic mounting strips attached to the inside window casing with self-adhesive backing.

A plastic joiner strip reinforces extra-wide windows.

These inside storm panels are versatile and can be used on skylights, screened porches, and basement windows as well. Avoid using the plastic near stoves and open flame.

Homeowners have many options for storm insulation window-panel kits. Even heavy plastic taped securely over outside windows will do the job temporarily. If you live in a cold climate and do not have storm insulation, some type of inside-outside unit suggested here would be a wise choice for your dwelling.

Visit local hardware stores and lumber and home-building centers for additional information on how you can save energy and heating costs with the appropriate storm sash this winter.

You also can write to:

* Alcoa Building Products Inc., Department WN, Suite 1200, Two Allegheny Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15212.

* ARCO Polymers Inc., Department WN, 7001 West 60th Street, Chicago, Ill. 60638.

* K.S.H. Inc., Department WN, 10091 Manchester Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63122.


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