How to choose and install storm windows
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, leaky windows can account for 10–25% of your heating bill. If your windows are in good shape—or if you’re on a tight budget—adding storm windows is far more affordable than replacing the windows.
Types of storm windowsTraditional storm windows go on the exterior of your house, and interior storm windows are installed on the inside of your primary windows. Either type will add extra wind protection and weather insulation to your home. Any storm window (including low-E) can be custom-ordered to fit over your current windows. If your windows are in standard sizes, you may be able to buy stock storms.
Low-E storm windowsLow-E (low emissivity) storm windows have an ultra-thin, nearly invisible coating of metal. The metal reflects heat back to its source, keeping your home warmer and saving you energy and money. Like all other storm windows, low-E storms create an insulating air layer between the storm and the existing window, while also reducing how much outside air can seep in. As an added benefit, the low-E window coating limits damage from ultraviolet rays, reducing color fading on window treatments, floors, and furniture.
Steps to installing storm windows
Before installing a storm, caulk the tops and sides (jambs and head) of the original window to ensure it’s airtight (avoid sealing it shut with caulk, however).
Take accurate measurements for every window in your home—windows may appear to be the same size, but it’s best to measure each one.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install your own storm windows (it may take as little as 30 minutes per window). Alternatively, follow these step-by-step instructions from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Check your work. Windows and screen sashes should move easily and have a tight seal when closed (also check for a tight seal around all outside window edges).