If you own a historic home, you're likely reluctant to "upgrade" your original leaded or stained glass windows, even if they've begun to feel a bit draftier than usual. With advances in glassmaking technology (along with scientific evidence of the potential health effects of lead and other heavy metals), these windows are becoming less and less common in most homes—however, their durability and charming appearance often remain unparalleled by newer models. Read on to learn more about improving the efficiency of your historic leaded glass windows without compromising their character.
What should you do to clean and maintain your leaded glass windows?
To prevent the seals around your leaded window (as well as the glass itself) from becoming damaged, it's important to avoid the use of harsh chemical solvents or cleansers. For routine cleaning, distilled or purified water and a microfiber cloth should be sufficient to remove dust and grime without leaving streaks or residue. Tougher dirt or stains can be tackled with a diluted mixture of white vinegar and distilled water.
It's also important to quickly patch or repair any small cracks in your window or its frame, particularly wooden frames. These cracks can fill with moisture from condensation or outdoor precipitation and may quickly widen when temperatures fluctuate enough to cause the wood to expand or contract. Most minor crack repairs to a wooden window frame can be made with wood putty and a bit of sealant or paint, and will help provide protection against permanent damage for years to come.
How can you make drafty leaded windows more efficient?
Fortunately, lowering your utility bills won't require you to replace your classic leaded glass windows. In many cases, you should be able to create a barrier against both heat loss and air transfer by applying an "invisible" insulating film to your windows. This film is available at hardware and home supply stores and is made of a thin, weather-resistant polymer that can transform the feel of your historic windows into those straight from the factory.
Because this film can be removed easily and doesn't change the appearance of your windows, it's an ideal solution for homeowners who either don't have the funds to replace all the leaded glass windows in their home at once or who live in a historic preservation district and must jump through multiple regulatory hoops in order to make any exterior modifications or improvements.
Talk to a company like Port Orchard Glass about other ways to improve the windows in your home.