Did you know that around 20% of your home’s heat can be lost just through the windows?
You might say that installing double glazing is too expensive or unsuitable for your home if you live in a conservation area, for example.
Help is at hand, though, as there’s a smart cheaper energy saving alternative – and that’s secondary glazing.
What is secondary glazing?
First up – secondary glazing isn’t the same as double glazing.
It does use the same principle, by adding a second layer of glass or plastic to your window frame, but the crucial difference is that it doesn’t involve replacing the whole window unit, making it much cheaper and easier.
So what is secondary glazing good for? First up, you’ll get improved heat insulation. You’ll also get better sound proofing – with up to 80% less noise* – and will reduce condensation to boot. More permanent and specialist secondary glazing can also help your home’s security.
And while secondary glazing isn’t quite as efficient as double glazing it could save you more than £100 a year on energy bills** – definitely not to be sniffed at.
There are three main types of secondary glazing, some can be bought from your local DIY store and fitted yourself, while others might need professional installation:
- a fitted panel containing the glazing – the panel could be aluminium, wood, UPVC or acrylic with often with glass glazing, and screwed into place or fixed with a strong adhesive
- semi-permanent rigid acrylic panels that can be put up just for the colder months – often attached with magnet strips or velcro
- plastic film fixed to your window frame with tape – cheap and easy, but only good for one winter
Secondary glazing sash windows
If you live in an older home, then secondary glazing sash windows is a really good move. Sash windows are notorious for letting in draughts, so that’s where vertical sliding secondary glazing units come in.
And if planning restrictions mean that you can’t fit other glazing solutions to your sash windows, then this is your best bet.
They work with strong spring balance which mean the sash window can stay open in all positions so you can ventilate the room. Some also tilt to help you clean the windows and you can get units to suit all sizes of window. So even if you’re in large period property with very big sash windows, there’s a secondary glazing solution for you.
Aluminium secondary glazing
Probably the most effective type of secondary glazing is aluminium secondary glazing panels with proper glass glazing. The aluminium is strong, light and long-lasting and you’ll get extremely effective home insulation.
Fitting aluminium secondary glazing is a job best tackled by a professional. The panels will need to be either screwed or sealed into place, or for bigger windows you can get sliding tracks fitted, so you can move the secondary glazing and open your windows as normal.
DIY secondary glazing
Robust semi-permanent secondary glazing is best fitted by a professional, especially if you live in a period property with fiddly sash windows.
DIY secondary glazing is possible with the temporary type though if you’ve got half-decent DIY skills. Acrylic semi-permanent secondary glazing can be installed relatively easily, and the materials can be bought at larger DIY outlets and hardware suppliers.
If you’re not quite sure what you’re doing it’s probably best left to the professionals though – you don’t want to fork out for glazing sheets then muck up the job.
Even if you’re not much of a handyman, however, you can still buy secondary glazing film from hardware stores and install it yourself in minutes. It’s also simple to remove, although you might need to do a bit of touch-up painting afterwards where the adhesive has been.
Secondary glazing film
The cheapest and easiest option is secondary glazing film. It’s a thin plastic sheet which you can install yourself using double-sided tape to attach it to the window frame. It looks a bit like cling-film, and you seal it tight using hot air from a normal hair dryer.
Secondary glazing film might not be as efficient for home insulation as glazing panels or permanent glazing units, but it can be put up in minutes. The downside is that it’ll only really last for one winter, and, while saving you energy, isn’t as green as other glazing options.
Secondary glazing cost
So how much does secondary glazing cost? Of course, it all depends on the size of your house and the types glazing you want to go for.
Semi-permanent secondary glazing costs
Durable permanent secondary glazing could costs several hundred pounds for materials and professional installation. The benefits should outweigh the costs, however, as this is the most effective type of secondary glazing. Talk to a professional glazing installer to find out the cost for your home.
Acrylic sheets costs
Acrylic and polycarbonate sheets are cheaper, starting from around £60 for a 6-pack of 0.6m by 1.2m sheet with a 2mm thickness.
Thicker, and therefore more insulating, sheets, cost more. A pack of the same sized secondary glazing with 6mm thickness, for example, could set you back around £180.
Film secondary glazing costs
Cheap secondary glazing film should be available from your local DIY store. It really is a cheap and easy option – you could cover an entire bay window for about £10-15.
Secondary glazing – the cheap, easy choice for a warmer home
If you’ve not already installed secondary glazing, then have a good look at the options – it’s quick and easy to fit and makes a real difference.
Image courtesy of Flickr – Transition Ed Uni
* Secondary glazing http://www.secondaryglazing.org.uk
** Windows – Energy Saving Trust http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/In-your-home/Roofs-floors-walls-and-windows/Windows