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Do It Yourself: Storm window can substitute for double-hung

Q. My older house still has a lot of double-hung windows with only one pane of glass. I got a couple of prices on replacement windows, but I can’t swing it right now. A friend suggested storm windows. Would they really help at less cost?

A. Good-quality storm windows, properly installed, can be fine energy savers, and in some cases are equal to many double-glazed replacement windows.

Some experts estimate that storms can save more than 10 percent of energy costs; so-called low-e storms will save even more. Most homeowners prefer triple-track storms, which let you keep the screen stored in the window and allow each of the components in double-hung windows – two glass panes and the screen – to be moved for cleaning or ventilation.

Storms are also rather simple to install, at least on first-floor windows. They are generally fastened to the stop molding inside the window opening, but sometimes overlap the outside molding.

A bead of caulk is run along the sides and top of the chosen molding, then the storm fits against the caulk and is screwed into place. The window’s bottom is not caulked to allow moisture to escape from the cavity between the storm and the main window.

Installing storms on second-story or higher windows is a lot more difficult and dangerous because the windows are rather awkward and heavy to carry up a ladder. Storms are considerably cheaper than replacement windows, but generalized cost comparisons aren’t practical because of the many sizes and variations in quality of different windows.

As with replacement windows, correct measurements are critical when ordering storm windows. If in doubt about how to measure, ask the dealer for a demonstration.

Despite their good qualities, storm windows lack several of the advantages of replacement windows.

One is the convenience of tilt-in sashes in replacement windows, making them simple to clean. Another is that replacement windows can be installed from inside the house, eliminating the need to carry big loads up ladders.

Finally, replacement windows generally have low-maintenance frames of vinyl or fiberglass, while storms often have painted aluminum frames.

Q. A couple of my wood dining-room chairs wobble because of loose joints. I know they need to be glued but I don’t know how to go about it. Can you help?

A. There might be a simpler way than gluing to solve this problem.

Buy a small bottle of Chair-Loc, sold on the Internet and at some hardware stores and home centers. Put the chairs on a pad of old newspapers and dribble some of the liquid into the loose joints.

Position the chairs so the Chair-Loc seeps into the joints. You must get the liquid into the joint; wiggle the joint, pull it apart slightly if you can, or even drill a small hole so the liquid can enter. Wipe off excess and wait about 24 hours, then see if the chairs still wobble.

The liquid is designed to cause the wood in the joints to swell, eliminating the loose fit.

If this doesn’t work, the best bet is to separate the loose joints if possible, clean off old glue by scraping and sanding, and apply strong wood glue like Titebond. Hold the joint firmly in place until the glue dries with clamps, weights, or a tight loop of rope.

You can also buy glue injectors to get some glue into loose joints without disassembling the chair. The glue is injected with a hypodermic-type needle poked through a small hole drilled into the joint.

Simple glue injectors sell for about $5 at Woodcraft (; enter Glue Injectors in the search space).

If you must partially disassemble a joint to glue it, label each part with masking tape so it can be put back in exactly the same position.

Questions and comments should be emailed to Gene Austin at Send regular mail to 1730 Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422.

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