Magnetic Storm Windows: Pros and Cons
Historic homes are both a privilege and a pleasure to own and inhabit. Homeowners take great pride in preserving these magnificent landmarks, caring for their structures and aesthetics in ways that respect the buildings’ storied histories.
Historic homeowners have options when updating their building: restore to a specific era, rehabilitate and update as needed, or preserve as is. However, when maintaining an old home for habitability, homeowners often prefer to keep the home’s character in mind, including its original single-pane windows.
Whether interior or exterior, storm windows are popular additions because they keep the home’s overall aesthetic and original windows intact while improving energy efficiency and blocking outside noise. Magnetic storm windows are among the several styles to explore when deciding what storm windows will work best for your home.
What Are Magnetic Storm Windows?
Magnetic storm windows are a type of storm window with a metal frame installed around the window stop, after which the magnetic storm window is placed on the metal frame and held there by a strong magnetic field, creating a heavy-duty seal. This specific type of storm window has its own set of positives and negatives to consider.
Pros of Magnetic Storm Windows
- Affordable price. Magnetic storm windows are one of the least expensive options available compared to other types of storm windows or replacing windows entirely.
- Lightweight. It is easy to move and handle magnetic storm windows since they are durable but not heavy, making them accessible and manageable for anyone.
- Ease of placement and removal. Interior magnetic storm windows are easy to place and takedown without the need for tools, thanks to their magnetic seal design. Removable magnetic window insulation is an excellent choice if you still want to be able to open your windows occasionally in the winter.
- Removes condensation. Accumulating ice and condensation on windows is a common problem during the winter. The strong seal of magnetic storm windows all but eliminates this issue.
- Noise reduction. Magnetic acrylic soundproof storm windows can block out up to 70% of outside noise when applied to a single-pane original window and up to 50% with a double-pane window (compared to replacement windows, which only reduce outside noise by approximately 25% and cost more). They are an excellent option for homes in busy neighborhoods or near busy roads. They also reduce sound exiting the house, enhancing privacy.
- Energy-efficient. The strong seal of interior magnetic storm windows increases the original window’s performance, acting as a barrier to cold drafts and helping the home retain heat in the winter. Additionally, interior magnetic storm windows are often treated with an acrylic coating, which protects the home against ultra-violet ray damage.
- Cost Saving. In addition to being less expensive to purchase and install than replacement windows, magnetic storm windows often quickly pay for themselves through lower energy bills.
Cons of Magnetic Storm Windows
- Seal deterioration. Although it will take several years, the magnetic seal can weaken with time, reducing the window’s efficiency.
- Aesthetic issues. Even applied on the interior, magnetic storm windows affect the home’s aesthetic. The metal bracket that holds magnetic windows in place is permanently attached to the window frame, remaining visible even when the magnetic windows are not in use. This is an especially problematic issue for homeowners who want to maintain the historic nature of their home.
- Single-direction seal. Magnets attract in one direction; therefore, magnetic windows only protect against airflow one way rather than fully from every direction around the window frame.
- Changing temperatures can cause failure. Most magnetic window inserts use acrylic that expands and contracts based on the temperature, while the metal bracket frame does not. The magnetic seal can break, and the whole panel can pop off the bracket when the window insert and magnets expand or contract.
- Lengthy installation process and possible damage. Magnetic storm windows often require a cumbersome installation that includes permanent adhesive, drilling, and extra hardware that needs to be measured and assembled upon arrival, not ahead of time. It can take several hours and alter the quality of your home. Due to the lengthy and complicated installation process, it is also challenging to uninstall entirely and may leave permanent damage to your window frames.
- Permanently damages window frame. Magnetic storm windows require permanent attachment of metal tracking to your window frame. When the panel is removed, the tracking remains. Even when if you remove the tracking, the adhesive and holes drilled into your window frame are difficult to remove and repair. This is a huge issue for historic, old-growth wood window frames, which are irreplaceable.
An Alternative to Magnetic Storm Windows
Another option to consider when searching for the right storm windows for your home is compression seal inserts.
Indow uses its patented silicone compression tube to keep window inserts in place instead of hardware like tracking. This saves your window frames from damage, keeping them beautiful for years to come.
Built from silicone tubing that provides a seal from all directions, Indow compression seal inserts are stronger than magnetic storm windows. The inserts are resistant to changing temperatures that can cause failure in track-based systems. They absorb the expansion and contraction that comes with temperature shifts and provide excellent resistance to unwanted drafts and noise.
Every Indow compression seal insert is custom made to each window’s specifications. This makes them particularly well suited for historic homes where each window will have a slightly different size due to the homes settling over the years.
Indow inserts were easy to measure, order and install. They've provided great insulation for old single-pane and stained glass windows in an antique home. We can significantly feel how much better the home holds heat.
I ordered two Indow inserts for my home. They are doing a great job, entirely happy with them and the ordering process.
I can't say enough good things about this product and company. Our house is 101 years old and the sidelites next to our front door are single pane ancient wavy glass which means when it gets very cold (Chicago temps) we can have an inch of frost covering the INSIDE of our windows. I was desperately searching for a solution so our front vestibule was not so cold and a friend recommended Indow. The process could not have been simpler and the temperature difference it has made is off the charts.
I have several historic single pane gridwork mullion windows. They're beautiful but have almost no thermal protection. Indows proved to be the perfect solution to preserve these windows while getting the thermal comfort we need. They were easy to install and work perfectly!
Amazingly easy to install even the safety chain holders. I. Noticed an immediate sound level difference and the room atmosphere became more solid feeling and pleasant. They also gave an insulating feature to the window drafts are non existent! The house is 50ft off a State highway that is heavily traveled in warmer months I'm confident the indows will handle it. I'm very pleased!
We ordered the acoustic inserts to help with road noise, and we've been sleeping so much better with them!
We used the windows inserts in our skylight. They are great! They the horrible drafts and noise out and were cost efficient. My only comment would be to provide better measurement and installation instructions for skylights specifically. It took us a lot of guessing and research to measure and install because skylight directions were not provided and the windows install guide doesn't always apply to skylights. Other than that though great product and I would buy again!
Our home was built in the late 1800s and we have spent a lot of money over the last 20+years restoring it.We did not want to replace the windows with modern windows because of the cost and originality. But the single pane windows come with a price also. the main reason we purchased the Indow window inserts is because of the condensation on the inside of the windows.We would literally have a take a towel and wipe them down every morning in the winter. There would be a puddle on the sill,and wood and water dont get along to well. SO we looked into the best solution to our problem and found Indow. Was reluctant to spend that much money but am super glad we did!! They have been installed now for over two months and our condensation problem has been virtually eliminated.!!! AND our furnace does not run as much as it did before. Over all it was money well spent!! The process was a little scary at first but they have a simple formula. And our contact person,Reed was awesome. Answered any questions i had and was always available.
Used to block interior side of a garden window in the the kitchen. Without insert, cold air literally poured into the kitchen making a winter jacket almost mandatory when preparing meals or washing dishes
Highly recommend! The team (Brian) took time to help me figure out the best solution. They were made and delivered faster than expected. It was very rewarding to install them because I could feel the cold air get squeezed out as they went flush against the single pane of glass. Solid quality and great fit.
My inserts fit beautifully into my 125 year old windows - many of which were 5 feet tall. Easy to unwrap and install. Great product and even better service! I liked the process of measuring the windows with a laser measuring tool which was easy to use and precise. The product came in good condition after shipping across country and was well marked. The customer support was excellent.
Received our Indow Windows and can tell they are blocking a lot of the noise we could hear. Right now the weather is mild, but hoping to notice a big difference when the summer heats up. Our house is in a historic district and we cannot change our windows. They are very drafty and thin glass. We only ordered two, but we are in the process of ordering for four more. Love that we don’t need to drill holes or anything and they just pop right in.
Every thing arrived in perfect condition, thanks to the very secure packaging. Windows fit as expected, although quite tight. After installation we noticed that the cold drafts were gone and the room felt a lot warmer. We are very satisfied with the product and the result.
Great customer service! Super satisfied with our windows.
Indow service and product is good. Reduced outside noise considerably.