Tyler Ludens wrote:New windows are so expensive. If you can't afford them, I suggest making insulated covers for the windows in the cold rooms. We do this in our bedroom every winter. Bubble wrap is easy to put up on the windows, and lasts multiple seasons. Other insulated covers can be used, but bubble wrap has the advantage of admitting light.
Troy Rhodes wrote:A very cheap double pane window, with a "bad" aluminum frame will perform at about r-1.23. A really good double pane with insulated vinyl frame will be r-2.94, or 2.4 times better insulation. That would cut your heat loss through the windows by 2/3.
This site lists typical insulation values for various kinds of windows. Note that they list u-values, not r-values. The u-value is just the inverse of the r-value, and vice versa. To conver, it's just 1/u = r
If the u-value is .46, the r-value is 1/0.46 = 2.17
https://www.energyguide.com/info/window2.asp (this link stopped working, here is another)
A "bad" aluminum frame means no insulation between the inner aluminum frame and the outside part of the aluminum frame. The aluminum goes all the way continuously from the inside to the outside. There's probably a manufacturers name on the window somewhere, and you can email them or find the product specs online. A "good" aluminum frame has insulation in the middle, so the highly thermally conductive aluminum doesn't suck the heat out of your house and send it to the great outdoors. They refer to the good kind as, thermally broken.
Cutting your heat loss by 2/3 is meaningful. But r-3 is still terrible. You could add a 1" rigid styrofoam insulating panel and jack it up to r-6 or r-7, which is better than the thousand dollar, best of the best, replacement window.
Adding a layer of bubble wrap adds about r 1.5 and you still get light through it. Just cut to size, spritz a little water (with a tiny bit of soap) on the glass and it will cling nicely with no fasteners. This guy does a nice how to video:
You might scrounge enough bubble wrap to do it for free. The big 1/2" bubble wrap is more effective than the cheapo small bubble wrap.
If you want to do a whole house, it's not that expensive to buy new from ebay. Here's one example:
The general consensus is to put the bubbles toward the window and the flat sheet toward the room.
John Wolfram wrote:In terms of bang for your eco-buck, new windows seem to have a rather poor return because they have a high level of conspicuous conservation. In other words, they look nice and you can show them off to your friends when they come over. Check out the less noticible improvements (mastic on ducts, attic insulation, looking for drafts/air leaks) before spending the big bucks on windows.
One suggestion would be to run your gas furnace's blower to help equalize the temperature differences in the various parts of your house.