Thursday, November 20, 2008

A film I really like

I knew the basement window was drafty. I just didn't realize how drafty it was.

It's an older aluminum casement window, of the type with two single panes of glass on either side with an air space in between. And both sides can open, making them easier to clean. But the frame around one of the outer panes is coming apart. To get through the winter, I applied a generous bead of clear exterior silicone. It helped a bit.

What really helped was the plastic film I applied to the interior. To apply it, one must first warm the window frame with a hair dryer. I hadn't noticed any major leaks, but when I turned the hair dryer on, I could see a cobweb inside the window moving. Not a good sign. And I'd noticed it was cold around the window.

The whole process of applying the film -- I used a ClimaShield kit from Canadian Tire, which cost about $4 -- takes about half an hour. This is because you have to let the double-side adhesive set on the warmed frame for 20 minutes before hanging the film. And the film is a bit unwieldy. For a more complicated job, I might want an extra set of hands. But I did this one on my own with no problems.

It worked like a charm. No more drafts, and I could immediately notice a temperature difference around the window. I have no doubt that, on this particular window, the film will easily pay for itself this winter (almost on cue, it started to snow just after I finished getting it on).

We'll see how it lasts as the winter progresses, but right now, all indications are that this product is very worthwhile, cost-efficient and a really easy way to conserve energy, save money, and make a house more comfortable. Oh, and in case you're wondering, when my son came in, I asked him to look at the window and he couldn't see the film at all.


pfairley said...

Definitely handy stuff. One problem I had, though, was humidity getting trapped inside and rotting the window frame. Something to watch out for, especially if you're at risk for termites.

Craig Saunders said...

A very good point. I have aluminum window frames, and most windows installed in the last couple decades will have aluminum or vinyl frames. This makes termites and rotting less of an issue.

I haven't had any problems with moisture buildup. But I live in Ontario, which is much drier (especially in November) than Victoria. Your moisture buildup likely points to high indoor humidity. I had problems with this when I lived in Victoria. More ventillation or a dehumidifier would likely help.

In my case, the plastic film has actually reduced condensation on the window, as it's kept warm, humid indoor air away from the cold surface of the window.

Oh, and if you're worried about mold, a bit of Concrobium provides good, non-toxic protection. I've used it in a few houses with good results.