Homemade windows

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by fishhead, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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?
     
  2. gunsmithgirl

    gunsmithgirl Missin Sweet Home Alabama

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    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.
     

  3. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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!
     
  4. whistler

    whistler Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  5. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  6. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  8. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  10. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  11. Jerry in MN

    Jerry in MN Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  12. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  13. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  14. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  15. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    They fog up between the glass and you can not see out.
     
  16. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What if I were to flood the space with argon?
     
  17. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  18. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  19. Deborah Stephenson

    Deborah Stephenson Well-Known Member

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    Propane?!!!!:eek: 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?
     
  20. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    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.