Can You Install Energy Efficient Windows Yourself?

Can you install energy efficient windows yourself? Installing an energy-efficient window is no different than any other window. "Installing an energy-efficient window is no different than any other window....

"Installing an energy-efficient window is no different than any other window. If you are comfortable installing a window, you can just as easily install an energy-efficient window. It is not especially hard or difficult. If you can install kitchen cabinets, you can install a window," says window expert Steven Poitz, a mechanical engineer who works for Thermotech in Canada.

Your first step in installing energy efficient windows will be choosing the right windows for your home. You should plan for as many windows as possible on the south facing side of your home to increase its energy efficiency to the highest level possible. South facing windows automatically help heat up a home in the winter, but do not increase the heat load in the summer. Therefore, these windows do not have as much need for low solar gain coatings as other windows do. The east and west facing windows are where you should concentrate on low solar heat gain, or low-E, coatings to increase energy efficiency year round. The important factor for north facing windows is adequate insulation in the framework.

The process of installing a new window involves either removing an old window or creating a new opening and framework. If you are removing an old window you will begin by removing the window sash, which is the outermost trim around the window. You can use a pry bar to loosen the sash and then remove it carefully with your hands. Next you'll use a pry bar to remove the casing from the frame. Then you'll remove the nails holding the jamb to the frame with either a saw or pry bar. At this point the window should easily pull out of the opening. If you are dealing with vinyl siding, you will need to remove any siding that overlaps the window opening.

If you are creating a new opening for a window, you will want to begin by obtaining the window manufacturer's information about how large the opening should be. The framed opening creates an anchor for the window and should be slightly larger than the actual size of the window, usually ½ to ¾ inch depending on insulation purposes. You'll want to cut frame pieces from boards to the appropriate dimensions. Next, you'll remove the wall panel and drywall from ceiling to floor using a utility knife. Then you'll cut the studs in the space the window will sit. You'll want to use a circular saw and then a reciprocating saw to ensure a clean cut. The previously cut frame pieces can now be nailed to the exposed studs. The sill piece should be laid crosswise across the trimmed studs to better support the window. Now you are ready to cut away or remove the exterior wall inside the framework for your new window.

Once your opening is ready, you can place the new window in its opening. Make sure it sits level using a leveling tool. Your next step will be to drill holes and nail in the jamb pieces first on one side and then the other. The last edge to fasten down will be the top.

Some windows will come with flanges that will be installed around the frame. You will nail the flange to the exterior siding and to the frame of the window. From inside you should place foam insulation in the openings between the jamb and the frame. From here you are ready to replace any interior wall finishing and attach the casing around the interior frame.

© High Speed Ventures 2011