Homemade windows - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Go Back   Homesteading Today > Country Living Forums > Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy Sponsored by LPC Survival


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 06/04/08, 08:38 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914
Homemade windows

I'm going to replace some rotten windows in my house this summer. The ones I've looked at are over $100 and the r-value is only something like .5.

I was wondering why I couldn't just make some simple non-opening windows that would be just as efficient.I could make a simple 4 layer window in the thickness space available by cutting grooves into a wooden frame. I could also drill holes through the frame between the panes to allow filling the space with argon or some other gas and then either plug the hole with a screw or a dowl.

Does this make any sense or am I wasting my time?

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06/04/08, 01:51 PM
gunsmithgirl's Avatar
Missin Sweet Home Alabama
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 860

I think in the reader's digest book called The Complete Do It Yourself Manual there are instructions to make your own double pane windows.
I am thinking about trying something along those lines for a window in the cabin I am building.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06/04/08, 02:45 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914

It doesn't look like it would be that hard if you aren't trying to make them high tech and squeeze out that last bit of r-value or so they can be opened. For sure they aren't going to be any worse than the ones I've got. I figure I can save money on some that don't need to open and use that money to buy a better one that can be opened for summer ventilation.

I used to have a copy of that Do it Yourself manual. As I'm cleaning the house and redoing the floor this summer I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks!

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06/06/08, 02:43 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 260

I'm petty sure that you won't be able to fill the space with argon and then somehow cap it before the argon escapes.

I think the biggest problem with home built multipane windows is the moisture trapped between the glass. When it gets cold, the moisture condenses and then when it begins to evaporate the winodw fogs up.

I wouldn't consider myself an expert so you might want to do more research on this.

Whistler

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06/06/08, 03:50 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914

I think you are right about moisture in between the panes being the biggest concern. I thought if I could get an inert gas that was heavier than air I could just slowly fill it from the bottom up and let it force the air out the top. It wouldn't take much so a person could add several volumes of the gas before closing off the holes. The holes would be small and either plugged by driving in a dowl or threaded to accept a bolt.

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06/06/08, 04:01 PM
ericjeeper's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 940
Totally wasting your time

Wood alone will wick out the gases and wick in moisture. You are going to need a better spacer between the glass and edge sealant too. I do not know much. But I do know windows.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06/06/08, 05:14 PM
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: S.E. Ks.
Posts: 5,942

well many double pane windows are seperated by an aluminum spacer and sealed with asphal (basically a tar or senthetic rubber.)
Im not sure of the conductivity of halon but it is heavier than air an can be found in small fire extinguishers .
another option is to create a vaccumm between the panes like a thermos but much more difficult

an option you may not have considered is to check with local lumber yards (small family owned) they some times order replacement glass that ends up being the wrong size and can often be bought for pennies on the dollar

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06/06/08, 08:33 PM
ericjeeper's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 940
The best insulator available currently is

Krypton. But the price of it is skyrocketing. I just got a letter today from one of my window suppliers. Guess what? My cost are going up another 3%.
I try to push a very high end R-10 window. Triple pane with Krypton. I figure no sense in having walls with an R-13 or higher and then having a window opening with an r -next to nothing.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06/06/08, 11:15 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,484

Hi,
Here is a pretty detailed article on making your own double pane windows:

http://www.voltscommissar.net/docs/84doubleglazing.pdf

I think that a lot of the triple pane windows these days use a plastic film for the middle layer.

I think that some windows use desiccant in the U channel that the glass is mounted on to absorb moisture.

Gary

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06/07/08, 10:35 AM
ericjeeper's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 940
waste of time in my opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolarGary View Post
Hi,
Here is a pretty detailed article on making your own double pane windows:

http://www.voltscommissar.net/docs/84doubleglazing.pdf

I think that a lot of the triple pane windows these days use a plastic film for the middle layer.

I think that some windows use desiccant in the U channel that the glass is mounted on to absorb moisture.

Gary
To much work and risk for such a little gain in thermal values.Air between a glass has not enough insulating properties.He is talking an r. .33 something or other. double pane with argon with single lo e is R-4.0 Krypton with triple and double Lo-E is an R-10
Something you can really notice.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06/07/08, 10:48 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NW Minnesota
Posts: 445
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericjeeper View Post
Wood alone will wick out the gases and wick in moisture.
True...I used to work for a window manufacturer. They were very careful to
make a tight seal on their insulating glass.
At that same company's retail site they have a shed full of mostly complete windows and doors at discounted prices. Probably a mix of made-wrong-size, order canceled, and product returned due to minor defects.
Fishhead, you might know who that northern MN mf'r is. If you want some details, please send a PM to me.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06/07/08, 11:04 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,484
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericjeeper View Post
To much work and risk for such a little gain in thermal values.Air between a glass has not enough insulating properties.He is talking an r. .33 something or other. double pane with argon with single lo e is R-4.0 Krypton with triple and double Lo-E is an R-10
Something you can really notice.
Hi Eric,
That article is from AU, so the R's he mentions are metric. There is about an factor of 5 difference between metric and US R values.

He should get about R2 (U 0.5), which is what an ordinary double pane window gets.
A low e double glazed argon is about R3 (U 0.33).

A single glazed is about R1, so going from single to double glazed even without the Argon or low e cuts heat loss in half. It is a lot of work, and not likely to be worth it for most people, but I thought he had a pretty good scheme and he has tested his in use.

It would be if making your own to figure out a way to get lots of layers in -- you gain roughly R1 for each layer.
We have a couple windows with double glazed low e windows, and then a double glazed inside storm window using Mylar -- its nice and transparent and not distorting, and probably gives a total of about R5.

Gary
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06/07/08, 09:10 PM
ericjeeper's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 940
The retail difference in price

Is about 100 US dollars to go from double with Argon to triple with krypton. With the cost of krypton skyrocketing it might go up to 125 extra. Do I feel it is worth it? Heck yes.
The difference on the inside of my windows in my bedroom (I have two double with argon and one large window with triple and Krypton.) This winter with temps at night outside in the 20s and the inside temps at mid to high 70s. Was 8 degrees inside glass temps warmer on the krypton.
The gas is the secret to being a better insulator. We can stack layers upon layers of glass with a small spacer and the R Value does not gain much.
I have a neat little sample kit with 8x8 pieces of glass.. You can hold each various piece over the heat lamp and feel the difference.
If I was not so lazy I would do Photo write up showing the glass surface temps at a certain time period held the same difference over each section.
One cut is single pane.one is double pane with no lo-e and no argon. One is double pane with a piece of steel inside (this piece shows how Lo_e works) next one has a thin layer of fiberglass insulation between the glass.(This really shows how the gases work) and the final is triple pane with krypton.
I like to use these pieces. My favorite two to describe why storm windows do not gain you anything is using the clear double pane and holding the single pane stacked with some space between it. The extra single layer does not achieve any sort of gain to stop the heat.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06/07/08, 10:29 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914

Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn't thought about contacting the local suppliers for misfits or cancelled orders.

I was planning on just cutting grooves in the wood just wide enough to fit the pane and then use silicon to seat and seal the glass. If I used a 2 x 6 I could fit 4 layers of glass easily. It sounds like I should put several applications of polyurethane on the wood inside and out to seal out the moisture. No matter how it turned out I'm sure the new windows will be a huge improvement on what I've got now.

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06/08/08, 08:26 AM
ericjeeper's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 940
They will be an improvement until

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn't thought about contacting the local suppliers for misfits or cancelled orders.

I was planning on just cutting grooves in the wood just wide enough to fit the pane and then use silicon to seat and seal the glass. If I used a 2 x 6 I could fit 4 layers of glass easily. It sounds like I should put several applications of polyurethane on the wood inside and out to seal out the moisture. No matter how it turned out I'm sure the new windows will be a huge improvement on what I've got now.
They fog up between the glass and you can not see out.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06/08/08, 06:19 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914

What if I were to flood the space with argon?

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06/08/08, 07:31 PM
ericjeeper's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 940
More to a window

Glass packs are built independently of the sash. Then glazed into the frame.
find something to make a spacer out of that is non conductive. make it air tight. glaze it air tight to both pieces of glass. Then drill a hole at the bottom and one at the top. Then slowly fill with argon gas.. Plug off one hole then the other. and hope for the best

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06/09/08, 08:36 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914

What's so special about argon?

Could a large molecule gas like propane be used instead? I'm assuming that a large molecule would be less likely to escape through the polyurethane.

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06/09/08, 10:12 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Missouri
Posts: 116
Propane?!!!! I sure hope you don't smoke or have a fireplace if you try that! I could be wrong, but my intuition says it probably isn't a good idea to fill your windows with a flammable & volatile gas.

Why not just make a single pane window (or double pane with vent and without gas), then buy or make an insulated shade to put over it when its cold?
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06/09/08, 11:46 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,261

Fishhead,
Forget the sealed exotic gas filled route and make or buy two windows for each opening. A single double hung window with a complete second window as a storm window is more energy efficient than a double sealed glass window of the best manufacturer. The separation between the two window panels is insufficient. Pella windows have just a large air space between the 2 panels and they have a decent reputation. You can replicate that and improve upon the feature by having a larger air space.

__________________

Agmantoo
If they can do it,
you know you can!

Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06/09/08, 02:06 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914

So a larger air space gives more insulation?

Normally I just staple clear plastic over the outside of the windows each fall but since I'm replacing the windows I thought I might as well try to improve them a bit.

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06/09/08, 10:09 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,484
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
So a larger air space gives more insulation?

Normally I just staple clear plastic over the outside of the windows each fall but since I'm replacing the windows I thought I might as well try to improve them a bit.
For just plain air between the panes, the best airspace is about 3/4 inch, but the Rvalue does not fall off fast if you make it more than 3/4 inch.

For Argon and Krypton the best air space is less.

Gary
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06/09/08, 11:24 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NW Minnesota
Posts: 445

Fishhead, after seeing how insulating glass (IG) units are made in a factory I'd definitely not try to make one at home.
If you use low emissivity glass the coated surface needs to be on the proper pane and the proper surface to do the best job for your climate.
There is no such thing as a non-conductive spacer as all IG spacers are thermal conductors and bridges for heat transfer (read heat loss in MN). IG mfr's typically use desiccant beads within the typically metal spacer too.
Even if you could figure out how to inject an IG unit with argon (IG mfr's do this in chambers full of argon), the sealant materials such as polyisobutylene would probably have to be heated before they're applied in order to form a tight seal.
Maybe you could at least buy the IG and do the rest yourself.
As another option, maybe some used windows can be had free or cheap from contractors who replace windows? Or from a demolition landfill? Or from a Habitat for Humanity warehouse? (there's one in Moorhead, MN)
I hope you find a good solution...Let us know how this turns out.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06/10/08, 08:46 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,914

Thanks for all the suggestions!

As dry as we get in winter I'm thinking that I could just forget about filling them with a specific gas and figure out a way to let the moisture escape to the outside. Maybe put a vent on the bottom so the moist (heavier) air would drop out as the outside temperature drops and then plug the vent once I think it's done.

The first thing I'll do is try to track down some returned or used windows. If that fails then I'll try to build something. The worst that can happen is they'll frost up during the winter but I'm putting plastic over them anyway. I might even put bubblewrap over some of them since I don't want anything more than the light coming in those windows.

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06/10/08, 09:29 AM
ericjeeper's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 940
I totally disagree

Quote:
Originally Posted by agmantoo View Post
Fishhead,
Forget the sealed exotic gas filled route and make or buy two windows for each opening. A single double hung window with a complete second window as a storm window is more energy efficient than a double sealed glass window of the best manufacturer. The separation between the two window panels is insufficient. Pella windows have just a large air space between the 2 panels and they have a decent reputation. You can replicate that and improve upon the feature by having a larger air space.
Totally way off on your prognosis. Pella windows are some of the least energy efficient windows in todays industry period.. This is a fact. You can go to the nfrc.org website and see for yourself.
Krypton gas performs best in a narrower space such as a triple pane 7/8 glens. Argon works well in a 7/8 double pane glens. But krypton is a heavier INERT gas therefore it is superior as an insulator.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06/20/08, 07:24 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 41

Here is the cardinal rule:

Water vapour does not want to be a vapour, it wants to be a liquid. Vapour will ALWAYS travel from warm to cold.

That's why you can get moisture condensing in improper house insulation and moisture condensing inside non-sealed windows.

Having a vent opening between two panes of glass will not let the moisture out. In fact, the opposite is true. Vapour will get inside between the panes, condense on the coldest surface and revert to water. Not only will this fog the windows but the liquid qill drip down and rot the frame. Not good.

You might think that if you seal with something like silicone, moisture will not get in. Somewhat true, but, how about the moisture that's already trapped between the glass panes. Unless you are building in a zero humidity environment, there will be moisture that is trapped and you will see it when the temperature drops. Plus you will get vapour slowly permeating thru a wood frame.

Without specialized equipment and sealing techniques, a DIY window will be nothing but problems and will most likely need replacement in a few years when the frame rots out.

Probably the best you could do is to build a frame seperately. Then build a 3/4" spacer from some non-permeable plastic and attach the two (or three) panes of glass with a small hole on the bottom and top as previously indicated. Make sure everything is sealed. If you live in a very coild winter area, the humidity when the temperature outside is drier than the Sahara desert, so take your glass unit outdoors. Get some compressed CO2 at a welding supply store and carefully and slowly purge the space with the CO2. The reason use compressed gas is because the comporession process causes all the water vapour to condense out.....the bottled gas is essentially pure dry. When the gas has purged the space, seal the openings with silicone and mopunt the window unit in the frame.

Hope for the best and keep your fingers crossed. It may not give you a super-high R value, but it should be a lot better than just a single pane.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06/20/08, 01:50 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,072

the simple of it is you will have a very difficult time trying to make a double or triple pane window With or with out additional gas, I have tried to make with a silicone and wood coated silicone divider, and I have tried to reseal commercial double pain with silicon, with out vacuum and special equipment to remove the moisture, and we live in a very dry climate, and the windows were etching and fogging up in a few months,

if your panes are any wider than 3/4 maybe even 1/2 inch the air will circulate and you lose any efficiency of the double pane window,

years ago Anderson made a storm pane that was to be put in a rabbited edge on some of there windows leaving about 1/4 space, it actuly worked fairly well for it day, and had little plastic fasteners that one could twist out of the way for removal and washing of the insides of the glasses and they did not fog up and etch, If one made a solid glass in a frame and then made a inside and exterior pane one could remove to maintain it, I think would be the best your going to do on a "home made window" unless you buy the double or triple pane window insert and then jsut frame it in, we did a lot of that as picture windows when I was first building.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06/22/08, 07:05 PM
highlands's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
Posts: 7,563

I made some of my own windows about 17(?) years or so ago. They're great. Far better than even the best argon and other exotic windows. What I did was sandwich multiple layers of shrink film between two layers of glass creating a many paned window. The shrink film is so clear it doesn't cut the transmission by even as much as a single pane of glass would yet it keeps the frost out even when it is -45°F and windy outdoors. The normal windows in the house are solid with frost by then. In our new tiny cottage I'm doing that all over. It is also much less expensive at only about $20 a window for materials.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org

__________________

SugarMtnFarm.com -- Pastured Pigs, Poultry, Sheep, Dogs and Kids

Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06/22/08, 11:37 PM
Defending the Highground
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by highlands View Post
I made some of my own windows about 17(?) years or so ago. They're great. Far better than even the best argon and other exotic windows. What I did was sandwich multiple layers of shrink film between two layers of glass creating a many paned window. The shrink film is so clear it doesn't cut the transmission by even as much as a single pane of glass would yet it keeps the frost out even when it is -45°F and windy outdoors. The normal windows in the house are solid with frost by then. In our new tiny cottage I'm doing that all over. It is also much less expensive at only about $20 a window for materials.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
OK...my interest is piqued. Are your windows mounted inside or outside? Did you just 'sandwich' several layers of window film between two single panes of glass? Did you have to build out your window frames to accept the storms?

Just curious as we have some old Andersen windows that are simply awful in the winter. Although I'm planning on replacing the weather strip around every one of them this year AND covering them all with shrink film, I sure would love to just put up a storm and be done with it! Then when the nice weather shows up again, I like the idea that I could remove and store them.

Thanks for any help.

RVcook
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06/23/08, 06:53 AM
highlands's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
Posts: 7,563
Quote:
Originally Posted by RVcook View Post
OK...my interest is piqued. Are your windows mounted inside or outside?
I'm not quite sure of the question. These are outdoor windows and doors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVcook View Post
Did you just 'sandwich' several layers of window film between two single panes of glass?
In one case I simply added multiple layers of film to an existing window of the house and then an exterior hard glazing of acrylic. That worked. Not pretty but warm.

In other cases I built my own window frames, put the hard glazing on the inside and outside and then put multiple layers of the shrink film between. These are much better.

One of the windows is in a door which I made extra thick to insulate better. Frost still comes through on the hinges and handle at very low temperatures but the rest of the door and the window in the door blocks the cold.

In all cases I sealed very carefully with silicone.

In the new tiny cottage I salvaged many large single pane windows from an office building. I mounted one window inside and one window outside. Between them we're putting the many panes of shrink film - still to happen.

On the windows that I didn't replace with my own kind I simply put a layer of the toughest shrink film I could find on the inside and the outside. That has lasted for well over a decade and also works - less effort, not as pretty.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
__________________

SugarMtnFarm.com -- Pastured Pigs, Poultry, Sheep, Dogs and Kids

Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:58 AM.