Thursday, June 14, 2007

Window Wonderland

My High Electric Bill
Thursday, June 14, 2007

If there is one thing I delight in, it is annoying my friends with my frugality. Sunday I announced how upset I was going through all my bills. I found my electric bill was higher for May 2007, than it was for May 2006. “I’m going to have to cut back even more.” I announced in a solemn voice. “My last bill was $44.29: that is 14 cents over last years bill.” This naturally brings out the predictable moans and cheap comments.

One reason I can keep this bill low is by rarely using my air conditioner. I have yet to turn it on this year. I have tested it out to make sure all is working properly. According to Google, it is currently 93 degrees outside. In my center hallway where the thermostat is located, the temperature is a comfortable 80 degrees. Having a constant air flow helps a great deal in cooling things off. The two ancient oak trees on the west/front of the house do a great deal in keeping the hot afternoon sun from heating things up in the house. The front door is open: the screen door keeps out the bugs while allowing the air to circulate. All the double hung wooden windows are open allowing a cross flow of airin every direction.

A job I have been putting off for years is installing new sash cord on the set of three windows in my dining room. Since moving here, when I opened these windows they had to be propped open with a section of lumber. Normally with double hung windows using cords and weights, there is an access panel on the side of the window frame. Not here… truth be told: this house of mine is not of the best construction when compared to my old house in New York. In all my other windows I had to remove the outside casing to replace the rotted out sash cords. That way I did not disturb the interior finished woodwork.

Outside casing removed showing compartment for the weights.

The problem in the dining room is; I can’t remove the outside casings without destroying the sill of the center window. In order to replace the cords I’ll have to install my own access panels. This will be an all day job, but it needs to be done.

The first step is to take down the wooden blinds, burglar bars, parting strip and the inside molding. Two holes are drilled in the channel of the parting strip. These are done at a 45 degree angle. Then a saber saw with a new, sharp, fine blade cuts across through the board. Once the two cuts are made, duct tape is put over the top cut to prevent the board from falling into the casing when the long cut is made to connect the two holes.

A piece of a paint stirring stick is glued to the back of the bottom cut to support the newly cut panel when it is reinstalled. A shim is glued to the top of the cut out panel. This is sanded down to make a nice flush fit when all is put back in place. A pilot hole is drilled at the top cut. This hole is enlarged on the panel and recessed. When this is screwed back in place it is barely discernable.

I’m able to remove the outer casings on the outside frames making for an easier replacement of the cords. Looking at this picture reminds me another job to be done. I realized after stripping and redoing these windows(many years ago) that Marine/spar varnish holds up beautifully for interior window sills over the normal varnish I use for the woodwork.

That was my Wednesday. I was a happy camper being able to raise and lower the windows as they were originally meant to be. I’m not a fan of burglar bars; they were on the house when I bought the place. They stop the upper window sash from opening. However, I feel a lot safer from a random burglary having them there.