In the depths of a New York winter, few things are as uncomfortable and uneconomical as drafty, rattling windows. Icy wind howling around your building is one thing–you can always appreciate the austere beauty of the drifting snow from a cozy perch on a window seat or armchair–but icy wind howling around inside your apartment is another matter entirely. Aside from the heartbreak of chilly feet and goosebumps, rickety windows can drive your heating costs through the roof. After all, it’s costly enough to heat the inside of the building without paying to heat the courtyard and sidewalk as well.
Heat loss through deteriorating windows is of particular concern if you are fortunate enough to live in one of New York’s stately, pre-war buildings. The charm of hardwood floors and crown moldings is sometimes offset by the maintenance problems afflicting older buildings. Old wood-and-glass casement and double-hung windows are beautiful, and can actually be more fuel-efficient than newer, metal-frame models when properly maintained, but keeping them in working order is a full-time job. Occasionally, even the best-built windows succumb to the City’s harsh environment and must be overhauled or replaced entirely.
Repair or Replace?
Drafty windows mean energy wasted and money burned–so how does a board determine whether their building’s windows need to be completely replaced, or just refurbished? Most window contractors offer consultations to determine just that. Mickey Ross, owner and president of Mount Vernon-based Ross Windows offers prospective customers an initial consultation to assess their needs and requirements. "We go in, survey the building, and size up what’s necessary. We then recommend various different products and materials that will increase both the building’s appearance and fuel efficiency."
Michael Fishman, president of Historic Window Resources in Plainview, New York recommends an initial consultation, followed by an extensive survey of the property in question. "We examine every window in the building," says Fishman. "We assess its size, its type, and what’s wrong with it. Surveying each individual window gives us the opportunity for an accurate assessment."