Here's what I originally posted on Escapees (and removed). So it was aimed at them. But I thought it might contain helpful info (links) for some here. Just to get your imagination going. It's really just how to build old-fashioned storm windows when you strip it down to the basics. I've noticed that the S&S bunch tend to be very limited on imagination. I found the "real world" temp reading on the bubble wrap windows very interesting. I dislike living in a dark cave all winter. I also now want one of those thermometers... So here it is, pick it apart as that seems to be all some of you are interested in.
FRUGAL ALERT! DIY "Dual Pane" Windows
For the FRUGAL folks only!
This is for frugal folks that like DIY stuff that saves them money. So I really don't care who you can buy brand new thermal triple glazed windows filled with the latest exotic gas that will add an R-Value of .001 to the standard R-Value of less than R-2. This is not whom this post is intended for. This post is MY OPINION.
There is a topic going on another thread about dual pane windows. Winter is rapidly approaching and not all of us who live 24/7 in our Residential Vehicles can leave cooler climates for warmer ones due to things like working. I thought a little info on DIY Dual pane or storm windows might be helpful to those of us who have older RV's that do not have the dual pane windows (or do have dual panes with out thermal breaks in the metal frame)
Dual pane windows are simply permanent "storm windows". I'm sure most on here are old enough to remember old-fashioned winter storm windows. If your RV does not have dual pane, it is a simple and fairly easy, low cost DIY fix (possibly a more efficient fix than replacing with metal framed dual panes without a thermal break). The "low-e" film is also available as an aftermarket fix (look on Amazon --- http://www.amazon.com/Gila-LES361-Contr ... indow+film
--- or any place that sells the aftermarket window films). No need to replace all your existing windows unless you have a burning desire to spend your money. If you have a burning desire to spend your money then you are not frugal and should stop reading this.
First off, you need to understand what insulated glass is --- http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-insulated-glass.htm
--- . Once you understand the basic principal and importance of a thermal break -- http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-thermal-break.htm
-- you can easily understand why adding a "storm window" to the interior (or exterior) of your RV is so easy and very helpful in keeping your RV warmer in the winter. Using Acrylic "glass" from home improvement stores, you can custom build storm window panels to fit every window in your RV. I would bet that you could do this for less than the cost of a single dual pane window unit. I think dual pane window units are over priced. They are not that great. Basically you are making an R3 hole in an R11 wall. If your metal framed window does not have a thermal break, then you are looking at a negative R value! Lots of info all over the internet on making storm windows. I'm fond of the Mother Earth News website --- http://www.motherearthnews.com/
---. It's handy to use their website's search engine to look up old magazine articles and the read the articles off the CD's I have of their back issues. Even the plastic "shrink with a hair dryer" storm windows will work great to reduce the amount of heat loss from your "high quality" RV windows. Using the acrylic plastic glazing in conjunction with a low-e film (from Amazon--- http://www.amazon.com/Gila-LES361-Contr ... indow+film
--- or home improvement stores) will add yet another layer of R-value (put it on your glass windows not the acrylic to reap benefits during the summer too).
DIY storm windows will allow you to cover the metal frame and create a thermal break, preventing the "heat sink" effect (ever notice that your metal frames around the windows ice up?) Even if you do have dual frames and your metal frames ice up in the winter, you still would be $$ ahead to make a storm window to cover the whole window including the metal frame. The "dead air space" is a terrific insulator. In the summer, you can remove the dual plane (to open your windows) and store the flat panels behind your couch or behind your clothes in your closet.
I see many RV's in campgrounds with Reflectix heat barrier (it's NOT insulation it's basically R-1 with a reflective heat barrier and only "R-14" under specific install) covering all their windows. While that's not so bad during sunny summer time, once the overcast days of winter set in, it's like living in a cave. Using regular clear bubble wrap, like used for packing material, can be used on windows and it still allows light in. A huge plus during the winter. Based on temp readings, you can go from R1 on single glazed window to the equivalent of a dual pane window - R2 in just a few minutes for just a few bucks.
--- http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Co ... lewrap.htm
--- http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Co ... ctions.htm
--- another bubblewrap install using "greenhouse" bubblewrap.
A Cardboard shutter that was made by the same folks who did the bubble wrap windows. --- http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Co ... hutter.htm
--- Perhaps made from some rigid inulation for more R-Value?
--- http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Co ... Treatments
--- Builditsolar's Home Energy Conservation Projects website. So much good info. Some you can use, others not.
As self converters, we had the opportunity to be able to make choices in much of our energy requirements that those that live in manufactured RV's do not (like how much insulation to use, using more energy efficient residential products, etc). There is still a lot of changes you can make to a sticks-&-staples RV to make it more liveable in cold weather as well as more energy efficient. It just takes a little knowledge (available via the internet) and the willingness to think outside the box. Insulating your windows (and their metal frames) is a simple thing to do and can save you much $$ this winter.
FYI: Clear bubble wrap on glass with a clear sheet of plexi over that on the interior side. I still need to do the huge front windshield. I frosted my glass windows on the sides for privacy. You can't see in/out so the bubble wrap makes no impact on the view or the RV's on each side of us...