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Give Old Steel Casement Windows an Energy-Efficiency Overhaul

Many older homes have metal casement windows that were installed decades ago that now need replacing. Old metal casement windows usually were made with steel frames, and although they were built to last, they are among the least energy-efficient windows ever built. Steel conducts cold much more than other window frame materials, such as vinyl or wood. It also gathers moisture in the form of condensation, and as a result the steel frames can rust.

The Problem with Steel-Framed Casement Windows

Rust can prevent the window handles from working well, making it difficult to crank the window open. Often the windows are drafty because they don't shut tightly--in this case, make sure to remove the years of built-up paint, dirt, and rust so that the window seals snugly against the frame. Tattered weatherstripping can be another cause of poor insulation with metal casement windows. It is far less expensive to recondition older metal-framed windows than to purchase replacement casement windows, but if the window is too far gone to be re-worked into a healthy state, then it is time for new windows.

Replacing Old Metal-Framed Casement Windows

New casement windows not only add pizazz to your home, but the increased energy efficiency--and a federally sponsored tax credit through December of 2010--can help offset the cost of purchasing new windows. Most new metal casement windows are made from aluminum, which is both relatively inexpensive and durable. Vinyl casement windows also are a popular choice for replacement windows.

Because replacing your home's windows can be a significant investment, it's wise to work with your window contractor, or window repair specilalis,t to identify the windows in greatest need of repair or replacement and agree on a timeframe for completing all the work within your budget. If you are a capable do-it-yourselfer, you can discuss minimizing costs by removing some of the built-up paint yourself.