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Question DetailsAsked on 6/29/2016

I need to change a nonfunctional window, vinyl, in a bedroom to a functional window to allow a cross breeze.

This window is small a 4 x 2 ' on the second floor in a bedroom. This room stays hot because it has an eastern and partially southern orientation. All of the house windows slide from side to side with insulated doubled pane glass encased with vinyl/aluminum. What types of suggestions do you have?

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3 Answers


a slider or an awning plus low e glass

Answered 3 years ago by the new window man


I would match the materials/ of the other windows as much as possible, for consistency at resale time. The type of window makes little difference in the cross-flow you will get, except if awning-opening type (tilts out hinged at top and only opens 30 dgrees or so) - any near full-opening window should give adequate ventilation.

If you go with the awning suggestion it would have to block sun from much of that room to have the effect you need, without an opening window in the room.

If you have an opening window in that room and are looking at converting a SECOND non-opening one to cross-ventilate within the room (as opposed to from another room and window in the house), instead you could just open the bedroom door (or undercut the door more to provide more free flow, though that does cut privacy and increase extraneous transmission while sleeping) and open another existing window at the opposite end/face of the house, for cross-ventilation.

In some cases, with bedrooms with master baths attached, you can just open the bathroom door and use the bathroom vent for the cross-ventilation from another window elsewhere in the house - some will crossvent fairly well even when turned off, others have to be running to get any measureable airflow - you could put a thermostatic or timer switch in place of the usual switch for it to turn on automatically or to run it for a specified time when it is hot. Of course, don't have this fighting with your A/C if you have air conditioning. And with ventilation WITHOUT the fan running, the airflow direction has to be from the other window to and up through the bathroom fan - will not flow the other way due to built-in dampers in the system, so generally only works if the bathroom roof is on the downwind side at that time.

One other thought - if most of the heat seems to be coming through the window, you can buy solar-reflective films you can apply to the outside of a well-cleaned window (or have it done professionally), or perhaps even white drapes or curtains would block enough to help a lot.

New double-paned window that size probably $400-600 range installed - because of the narrow width probably would be a vertical slider or a casement type for an opening window, casement tuype obviously has about twice the open area of a slider. If you want to go to a larger window probably more like $600-1000 range because the wall needs to be opened up and a new higher and/or longer header (overhead support beam) put in, depending on which way you expand the window opening.

Another possibility - if those windows are same brand and and size, sometimes you can pretty easily swap out a non-opening for an opening window elsewhere in the house, if you have a same-sized unit openign unit that does not need to be opening - like maybe a second window in a bedroom or such. Can avoid the issue of finding a unit the matches and is same rough opening size.

Some windows, mostly wood though, come built with "window inserts" - the actual glazing unit (glass and metal frame around the double panes) is inset into a wood frame which then fits into the outer window frame, and the outer frame has the cutouts for casement window unit replacement - so you can just take out the fixed window with its frameand replace it with a casement opening unit and the operating hardware and lock. Hurd and Anderson I have seen that option with - of course, your existing unit would have to be that type AND still have the inserts and hardware available.

Another approach - there are through-wall ventilation fans, including quite quiet ones (for sleeping time) which would, if placed where there is easy access to power (like right above an outlet for instance) could be cheaper than a replacement window. Basically like a bathroom fan, go right through the wall to an exhaust vent on the outside of the house. For a meaningful airflow typically in the hundred something range for the fan, installed cost typically $300-400 range if easy wiring access. Has the advantage of ventilating on windless days, disadvantage that it uses electricity and is not silent when sleeping.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


OK - can you clue me in on why the down-tick - I thought that was a pretty fair answer, with several options - where did I go wrong or miss hitting the target, so I can know for future answers ?

Oh - one other option - there are passive slot-type wall vents designed to go through the wall right above or below the rough framing for the window opening so above/below the 2x4 blocking which the window frame "sits" in but right-sized can go between studs pretty much anywhere within standing reach to operate the mechanism. Have a slide mechanism under the louvers like the slide blocking plates on fireplace insert door units, or tilting louvers, so you can manually adjust from full open to full closed, and come from a few inches high and abourt a foot wide (not big enough to be meaningful for your case) to several feet square - commonly used to ventilate commercial buildings and pool enclosures and greenhouses and such. Basically like a central air duct register but made to be totally airtight when closed - some come with ducting to go through the wall and outside screened opening vent, some come in two inter-nesting pieces so from outside and inside the back flanges nest to provide an airtight passage through the wall (to avoid getting humid air in the wall), others you provide your own ducting and vent cover. Totally passive, so will work only when there is a slight breeze same as with open window - or when there is a significant heat differential between the vent and where the cross-draft window is, like downstairs. Generally suitable for warmer climates only, because they get pretty darn cold on the inside in real cold outdoor temps - can frost up on the inside register below about 10-15 or so degrees.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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