Thoughts on my Acrylic Storm Windows

When I first conceived of my storm windows, it was without question that they would be mounted on the inside of the existing windows.

The past two years that I’ve done this, I noted how the acrylic (or in some cases, thin poly plastic) was always billowing inwards.  I assumed this was because the woodstove was pulling outside air in to heat and send up the stovepipe.

This problem pane constantly pulls away from the frame, luckily the clothes dryer rope holds it in place.

A handful of times so far this year, I’ve caught a whiff of woodsmoke and it really, really, REALLY upsets me to have that in the cabin.

I mostly feel it has been on cold days with a wind that must just hit things the right way while the fire is running low.

Twice though it’s been suggested that another possibility is that there is an alternate chimney effect in the cabin due to air leaking out upstairs and coming in on the main floor.

I was pretty sure not much was escaping through the attic, as it was spray foamed for the most part, and when I examine it from outside, I can see no places where snow is melting faster than any other locations.

I hadn’t (and don’t intend to) install an acrylic storm on Kenny’s bedroom window.  In case of an emergency, I didn’t want him to have to try to quickly remove a hard, large sheet of plastic before opening his window and exiting out onto the porch roof.  So far this winter, I hadn’t done anything with his window.

Finally I put on some thin poly that would be easily torn, and was immediately struck by how it was pushed OUT – against the window itself!  Here was a clear chimney effect going on in the cabin.  I wonder how much air has been escaping from his room all this year?

It’s hard to see, but the poly is being pressed against the glass here.

In any case, this put me in mind of our front door – due to design restrictions, I had had to put the acrylic on the outside.  Sure enough, it was being sucked in towards the cabin too.

I remembered that I had an extra piece of acrylic sized to the pantry and bathroom, so I braved the extreme cold and taped it up outside the bathroom, which made an immediate difference to the amount of frost that was building up inside that window.

I think it doesn’t look half bad!
Still a bit of frost in the corners at thirty below.
A bit of staining from frosty condensation melting.  🙁

The worst spot for frost remains the pantry, but I’m tempted to remove the interior bathroom storm, move it to the OUTSIDE of the pantry and then see how things work.

The pantry gets frost between the storm and the glass – mustn’t be a very good seal.
And loads more frost on the mounting tape itself too!

One ongoing problem I’ve been having this year is the constant negative pressure on the main floor is causing the storm windows to pull away from the window frames and this dramatically reduces their effectiveness.  I think putting the storms on the outside would help greatly with this issue, as the positive pressure there would actually serve to press the acrylic against the frames, instead of away from them.  Next fall I think I will see how challenging it would be to mount them outdoors.  Even if they did tend to haze or discolour over the course of a few years, I’d accept that issue to have a warmer, less frosty cabin.  Aesthetically, it would also mean the lime green painters tape I use to mount the storms would be outside the cabin, and not visible to the occupants.

As for the large window constantly pulling away from the frame?  After using them to help create the portable indoor shower, I realized that spring loaded shower curtain rods could have multiple uses around the home or homestead, and in this case, installing one in the frame to run vertically and hold the acrylic in place was just the ticket.  Even leading Donna to the window and telling her I had “fixed” that problem failed to get her to immediately notice it – the two whites blended in so well.

My solution to the “problem” window?  A spring loaded shower curtain rod in the middle of the window!

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