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For a storm window to perform its duty effectively, it needs to have correct installation and quality parts. External storm windows require a higher quality of grade and attention since they take the brunt of the weather damage. What follows is a short guide to the different types of storm window parts.
An important part of the storm window is the latches. A storm window latch should be of fairly good quality as it will be used often to operate the windows. Inspecting the latch and other hardware used in the construction of a storm window is a good way to get an idea of the construction quality. If the manufacturer uses a good quality latch, it's a safe bet that their construction values are going to mimic it. A variety of replacement latches are available for a relatively low cost depending on the make and model of your storm windows.
Internal and external mounted storm windows are often held in place by storm window clips. Storm window clips are usually screw in so that they can be loosened later and the storm window removed if need be. These come in a variety of styles and installation methods, from normal weather to hurricane strength. Prices vary but these are generally inexpensive at any local hardware store.
Choosing a storm window frame can be difficult if one is not familiar with the different types. The most common materials for a storm window frame to be made of are wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Each one has pros and cons associated with it. Wood: A wooden storm window frame has the negative quality of decaying over a period of time, unlike its counterparts. Wood also shifts with temperature, so a wooden storm window frame installed in the summer might not work as well in the winter; and vice versa. The major benefit of wood is it is the best material when it comes to insulation for frames. Aluminum: An aluminum window frame is extremely strong, light-weight, and basically maintenance free. The downside is the metal is a very good heat conductor; which makes them very poor for insulation purposes. Vinyl: Vinyl storm window frames are treated with a compound to keep the sun and weather effects to a minimum. In extreme temperatures the vinyl can warp or crack, thus rendering it useless.
A storm window sash is the functional area of the window that is generally the moving part. This includes the window panes and the framing around the panes that moves with the pane. The storm window sash will likely be an area of maintenance due to the moving parts.
Storm window weather-stripping is generally a cord-like material that can be set into a channel in the window. This does not need to be replaced very often but it is worthwhile to check for weathering on it before harsher seasons. A storm window weatherstrip is easy to replace oneself and is readily available at any local hardware store.