Can I keep the look of bay windows and still stop the drafts?

A: You probably have a few options, but it depends on the details of your windows. One important takeaway to learn is that there are different types of window companies: some, like the vinyl sales people you spoke to, specialize in selling entire window units, often made from just one material. Others focus on the glass. Other companies specialize in restoring wooden or metal windows, a service you don’t need as your windows are in good condition.

If the outer recess is deep enough for the glass, you may be able to replace the glass with double pane units. This would solve the condensation problem, but it would not clog drafts around the window frame beyond the glass surface. Of all the options, this would best preserve the look of the windows inside and out, said Mark Russow, president of Hodges Windows & Doors at Falls Church (703-532-0184; Windows with multiple windows or split light contribute significantly to the appearance of a house, also because the light is reflected slightly differently from each window. Light doesn’t dance out of windows in the same way that simulates split lights by using grids to divide individual panes into smaller sections.

The thinnest two-pane glass is ⅜-inch thick, but your window cutouts would need to be twice as deep to allow room for moldings to hold the units in place. Call a glass company to have an appraiser visit and evaluate your window frames. One in the Washington area that provides this service is Circle Glass and Mirror in Fairfax (703-273-2700; John Weaver, who works in customer service there, said each two-disc unit would cost at least $ 57. It would cost more if you opted for glass cladding to make the window more energy efficient. The evaluation visit is free of charge; If you order replacement windows, the first window will cost about $ 275 to install plus $ 50 to $ 75 for each additional window, so the total cost for each nine-window window is $ 1,131 to $ 1,331. If your windows don’t have the required depth around the glass, Circle Glass can recommend carpenters who could possibly add moldings to make the cutouts deeper. However, this would add to the cost.

Another alternative is to add exterior storm windows, which Russov estimates would cost around $ 1,473 per window, including labor and paint on aluminum frames. To pick up the arch you will need five of these for each window, with each panel covering a stack of three small panes. Like double pane inserts, storm windows add an insulating layer of airspace. If the existing window covered by the storm windows is drafty you probably wouldn’t feel it, but condensation can still occur due to the air leaks. However, it would be on the inside of the storm windows, not the surfaces in your home. Small ventilation openings on the floor of the storm window would allow the moisture to evaporate when the glass and the air space warm up. And condensation shouldn’t be a huge problem as your windows are mostly repaired. It’s a bigger problem with double hanging windows that allow more air to enter.

With storm windows, you would keep your original windows and would be much more comfortable to live with – and more energy efficient. From inside you would see a bit of the storm window frame, but you would still have almost all of the light you get now. Cons: The light would be reflected outside as if your nine-window windows were made up of five tall windows. And you’d lose the ability to let in fresh air through the vents.

There may also be an option for the type of interior window inserts sold by Indow (503-284-2260;, a Portland, Oregon company, that surround framed acrylic sheets with silicone compression tubing. These press in without fasteners and seal well enough to block airflow and prevent condensation between the layers of glazing. Since you have bay windows, you will need an insert for each pane. The frame around each panel would reduce the light coming through the windows. However, because these are easy to install and remove, you can only use them if condensation is an issue. However, doing so would negate the energy savings you would otherwise get from running an air conditioner. Brandon Dau, a fit specialist for Indow, said the price is $ 27 per square foot, which is roughly $ 634 for each of your three windows. This solution requires a flat surface that is at least 1 cm deep on all sides (perpendicular to the glass) so that the hose rests against it. You would need to remove the hardware in the sections that open.

Replacing the windows, as you have already noticed, would change their appearance. Russov said that even real wooden split light windows now have much thicker frame parts than they did in the past. “You will take on a lot more bulk,” he said.

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