Should you Replace your Basement Windows?

Are they rotten? Are they broken? Do you need an egress? No? Then probably not.

My house has the original "drafty old basement windows" from 1931. The previous owners stuffed insulation into the window recesses and nailed boards over them to keep the insulation in place. I had to take the insulation off a few months ago to get some of the glass replaced (note: don't paint your windows black--it can overheat the glass and break it, even on the north side of the house) and started thinking how much nicer the basement would look without the boards and insulation. I made plans to make covers for the insulation. In the meantime, I put large bubble wrap over the panes as insulation.

The basement is unheated and I've had a clock with a thermometer down there since I moved in. I check the temperature in the winter because I start seeds in the basement then, and they won't sprout if it's too cold. How much colder do you think the basement is without the insulation on half the windows? It's two degrees warmer than usual. We've had an unusually warm winter, but even with one of the windows being fairly drafty, and a newly installed pet door that doesn't always completely close at the stairway landing, the basement temperature hasn't changed much--unless the sunlight coming in has made the basement warmer.

The insulation covers turned out well and look nice from the outside.

Pick something that goes with the outside of your house.

The boho industrial look I mentioned before.
I sewed ceramic magnets into the corners, so they stay put against the iron frame (they won't work on aluminum windows). Still, I'd probably just make new curtains if I had it to do over again, and put window plastic over the drafty one.


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