Storm Windows Vs. Replacement Windows

If the windows in your home have a tendency to leak or are drafty, you might weight the prospect of replacing the window entirely or installing a storm window. A storm window is a multi-layered window that can be installed in addition to the previously existing window to stop the leaks.

How Do Storm Windows Work?

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Window Curtain

One of the most common types of storm window is the triple rack, which features two glass screens and an additional screen that can slide up and down. This type of window is installed on either the interior or exterior of the current window. The interior is considered a superior placement option, particularly in older homes, because it allows the home to retain its look. These windows can be removed during more temperate seasons.

How Do Replacement Windows Work?

The term replacement windows refers more to cutting a new window that fits within the existing frame. This term is generally considered a catch-all phrase for any type of window that is designed to replace a previous window that is leaking or broken. Compared to storm windows, these windows serve as a permanent fixture in a home.


Because a new window must be cut to fit and installed, replacement windows are generally more expensive than storm windows. Replacement windows must be strong enough to stand and protect a home on their own, but storm windows can vary in price because of cheaper inputs, which can range from plastic sheets and films to more substantial three-windowpane systems. Storm windows are more easy to install as well.

Energy Efficiency

The amount of energy efficiency and insulation provided for each window depends on the type of window purchased. Replacement windows are generally more energy-efficient, particularly if they have an energy-efficient seal as designated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Storm windows do not add as much to a home's insulation as they are often installed to serve as temporary solutions to leaking windows.

Weighing Your Investment

Whichever window you choose to install, consider a cost-benefit analysis: Will the benefits reaped through window installation be worth the money you spend? If you do not anticipate staying in your home, live in a temperate climate that does not require much insulation or prefer to employ a cheaper method, storm windows might be for you. However, if you need a window that is longer-lasting, replacing the existing window is your best option.

About the Author

Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.