One of the most common problems found in older homes is a window that leaks air. In the winter the cold air comes in, condenses on the window, and in some cases freezes. In the summer, your precious air conditioning is sucked out into the warm atmosphere causing your compressor to go into overdrive. What do you do? Here are some options that will not only stop that whistling noise, but save you money as well.
Loose windows – some older homes are not properly weather-stripped. Applying the proper type is the least expensive fix. For some homes, a spring bronze weather-stripping can be used, which is a strip of brass that is inserted between the sash and the jamb. If this is not available, you can also buy a vinyl strip that does on the outside and inside of the window sashes.
Insulation – it might come as a surprise to you, but some older homes are not properly insulated around the windows or in the exterior walls. Fixing this problem might take some time and cause some headaches for you will have to take off the window trim or some of the drywall (maybe even plaster if your home is old enough). The best advice is to call in a professional insulation company who can do the work right and give you an estimate of cost.
Worse case scenario is you might have to replace the window. Vinyl windows are the norm today, but if you have a historic home with double hung wood windows, finding a company that manufactures them could prove difficult. Either shop salvage companies that specialize in old home fixtures, or call someone like Pella who can custom make the window. In one of the Victorian homes we rehabbed, Pella custom made 4 floor-to-ceiling windows for us as the original ones had been destroyed by previous owners. It cost a little more than normal, but the aesthetic value of having new “old” looking windows was well worth the cost.