Experimental Storm Windows

Only three windows in our cabin could be considered to be “finished” – in that they have frames completely around them.  The two large upper windows in the main area, where Papa framed them in a year ago, and the bathroom, which, incidentally, Papa framed in two years ago.  Makes me feel very guilty just typing that.

I’ve got a few experimental ideas for framing in the remaining windows, but for now I’ll keep them to myself until I have a chance to try them out in practice once the weather warms up.

In the meantime, I have been covering up the windows with the clear film that is so common in these parts when the weather turns exceptionally cold and people start to notice frost appearing.

This film is far from clear, especially since I have very limited success getting it to stick completely, and even less success trying to use a hot air dryer on it to make it shrink tight and smooth.  Interestingly, the two large patio doors, once sealed up with this film, tend to billow inwards to a significant degree, indicating that there is a large loss of hot air from elsewhere (higher up?) in the cabin.  I will have to begin investigating this also when the weather gives me greater leeway to work outdoors.  I have a significant plan for another area of the cabin that may go a long way towards dealing with this possibility.

In any case, with the bathroom window being the smallest window in the cabin (tied for that honour with the pantry window), I decided it would be a good candidate for my first “storm window” experiment.  In this case, I have decided to put up a piece of acrylic that could cover the entire surface of the window.  A quick call to Surecraft and a few days later I had a piece in my hands sized to cover the opening, plus about 3/8″ on both sides and top and bottom.  I had already worked hard to clean off any residue from the previous temporary plastics.

Protective layer removed, ready to install.  Looks clear!

I put a fine bead of “Draught Attack” caulking on the acrylic, and then took it into the bathroom and pushed it against the window.  I smoothed out the caulk around the edges – it didn’t have to look perfect, just not horrible.  Anything would be a step up from the disposable stuff.

Ready to test out this stuff.  Very hopeful!

After holding it a few moments, it seemed to stay up on its own.  I went to get the camera, and when I returned it had already slid down about a half inch.  I pushed it back up and tried to affix the top edge with some painter’s tape.

Nearly slid off the top edge!
The tape!  It does nothing!

Returning about fifteen minutes later, it was once again sliding down too far to work, so I pushed it back up and wedged a knick-knack under it for the remainder of the day and to the next morning.  It now seems properly affixed.

Inside the edge of the upper pane, I put a desiccant bag to help keep out any condensation.  I usually put a small thimble with dry rice in the frames of my windows for just this reason, but I had some silica from electronics items, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Tiny silica bag to help alleviate fogging.

So far it seems to work as expected.  I don’t feel any breeze, and it’s much clearer to look through.  I will have to see how well the “Draught Attack” peels off in the spring, and then figure out a good system and place for storing the acrylic sheets.  I think it will work well, but it may need to be adapted for some of the larger windows, or especially the patio doors.

I’ll try to give follow-up in the spring when it comes time to remove the panel.

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