Once temperatures start going down, insulation becomes increasingly crucial. One area that needs it more than others is the window. What if you have glass block windows in place? If you need insulation ideas for this type, you've come to the right place! Let's examine some quick and easy solutions.
Glass block windows are decent insulators compared to the other types. If you need to insulate it more, there might be air leaking somewhere. Of course, it might take some time to find the culprit.
In the meanwhile, here are a few ways to insulate the glass block window:
- Thermal Curtains
- Cellular Shades
- Insulation Kits
- Rope Caulk
There aren't many quick and easy ways to insulate your glass block windows. But, the few available should be able to do the job just fine. You might already have some of the materials at home.
In any case, let's go over the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. To learn more, keep reading.
Insulating Glass Block Windows
Before we go over the options, let's clear up some concerns. The first issue that comes to mind is your goal with this job. Is the area with glass block windows colder than the rest of the room? In addition, are you trying to find a permanent way to insulate it better?
If the area near the window is colder, there might be a deeper issue you need to address. Glass block windows are one of the better-insulated window types you can have.
They offer better insulation than single pane windows. Modern glass block windows fill the middle of the block with pressure-controlled argon gas; this gas reduces heat transmittance.
Additionally, it's held in place with mortar. The mortar forms a tight seal between the pieces of glass and the window frame. It's yet another way glass block windows provide better insulation than other types.
It should be able to keep up with the rest of the home in maintaining comfortable temperatures. If it's not, there's air leaking somewhere in that area. Find out what's causing the air leakage.
Afterward, you can try to insulate it a bit more. In any case, let's go over some insulation ideas.
1. Bubble Wrap
If you need to insulate the glass block windows immediately, look around your home for some bubble wrap. It's one of the better ways to provide more insulation for two reasons.
First, you may already have it lying around in your home. Therefore, it might not cost you anything to use. Secondly, it's transparent. Although it might obscure your view, it will still let the light come through.
This aspect is essential for an area like the basement. Of course, you don't want to make it darker than it already is down there.
Applying the Bubble Wrap
If you'd like to try this, you'll need three items: a spray bottle, water, and bubble wrap. Start by measuring the dimensions of the glass block windows. Then, cut the bubble wrap in those dimensions.
Next, mist the windows with your spray bottle; you won't need too many sprays. The water will be our adhesive to hold the bubble wrap. Finally, attach the bubble wrap to the glass with the bubble side facing the window.
That's all there is to it! Here's a video demonstrating how to do it:
2. Thermal Curtains
What if it's the light you're trying to keep out? Hot summer days are worse when the sunlight is beaming into your home. In this situation, the bubble wrap would still do good. But, it won't do enough.
There's still light coming through. So, what can you do? You could look into getting thermal curtains. Thermal curtains work by using thick fabric as a thermal boundary.
It doesn't necessarily eliminate the heat from sunlight or the cold from outside. Instead, the fabric traps it. The hot or cold air won't enter your home unless you open the curtains.
You can consider it as moveable insulation. It does raise the question, how effective is it? Good thermal curtains can have an R-value of 3-5. They're not the best insulation, but they could pair well with bubble wrap.
3. Cellular Shades
Insulated cellular shades are the upgrade to thermal curtains. They contain air layers in a honeycomb cross-section. As the DOE (Department of Energy) suggests, insulated cellular shades have the highest R-value of all window coverings.
The only problem with this solution is the price; cellular shades can cost up to three times more than thermal curtains. However, it costs more for a reason. Tightly installed cellular shades can reduce heat loss through windows by 40%.
Additionally, it can reduce unwanted heat from sunlight by 60%. Insulated cellular shades are pricey, but they do the job well.
4. Insulation Kits
What if you don't want to install shades or curtains to insulate your window? Sure, the bubble wrap alternative might work. But, it makes the glass block window stick out like a sore thumb.
That's where insulation shrink kits come into play. It's usually a plastic film installation kit. One concern comes to mind with this solution; does it work?
Energy Star says it does. However, the benefits aren't too substantial. Plastic film can reduce drafts and help the house feel warmer. But, you can't expect it to save you a bunch on heating or cooling bills.
In any case, it's something worth considering. Plastic film is transparent. Thus, it won't affect the looks of your glass block windows.
5. Rope Caulk
As mentioned, there might be a more significant problem you need to solve if you need to insulate your glass block window more. More precisely, there's air leaking somewhere around that area.
Plastic films and window covers are only a temporary solution to this problem.
A more appropriate solution would be using rope caulk. Using rope caulk is better for two reasons. First, it's easy for any homeowner to use. You don't need to know how to caulk. Instead, you cut out a piece and apply it to the area with cracks.
Once you can call someone to fix the problem, it's easily removable. It's a temporary solution, but it can be permanent if you'd like. Secondly, it's inexpensive.
You don't have to spend tons on thermal curtains or cellular shades. Of course, it all depends on the situation. It's just one more tool to consider!
Are Glass Block Windows Energy Efficient?
The main reason we're here is because of energy efficiency. During the wintertime, most windows need additional insulation. Do glass block windows require the same?
They shouldn't! Glass block windows are as energy efficient as thermal pane windows. As mentioned, they're also twice as efficient as a single-pane window. In addition, glass blocks can reduce the heat lost through the window.
Call a professional if you suspect the window is not performing as it should. This way, you can be sure it's not a problem with cracks. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time insulating it with temporary solutions.
Is It Better To Put Plastic on the Inside or Outside of Windows?
As you're looking through the insulation ideas, you might have one thought come across your mind. Should you put plastic film on the inside or outside of the window?
Typically, you only need to use it inside. However, you can use it outside too. But, it needs to be strong enough to withstand the environment.
It needs to be strong enough to withstand strong winds, snow, blizzards, and heavy rains. If you're looking to use plastic film outside, check if it's rated for that.
Should I Use Caulk or Silicone Around Windows?
If you're not looking to use a temporary tool like rope caulk, it's crucial to use the correct sealant for the job. Caulk and silicone are not the same. They're both sealants, but they're good for different situations.
Silicone sealant caulk is the one you want to use for glass block windows. You can use it to seal the joints of the blocks.
It's essential to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout any season. Fortunately, it doesn't cost a lot to insulate glass block windows. You might even have some of the materials in your home already. In any case, we hope you found this informative.
Before you go, do you need help insulating other areas? How about a fireplace? For more information, check out:
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