So many people rely on double hung or single hung windows that many don’t even know that hinged or crank windows exist, or that there are benefits to having these types of windows. Hinged windows that open from the side are known as casement windows, and they’re good for homes in warm areas that rely on breeze for ventilation and comfort throughout the year. They’re more effective for ventilation purposes than double or single hung windows, and they’re comparable in price.
Casement windows are windows that are hinged at the side. These windows are typically split up into two different panes and have a hinge at either side of the frame. When opened they look like a pair of barn doors opening up. There are other windows with hinges at the top or the bottom, and in order to be considered a casement window, they have to be hinged at the side.
Casement windows are ideal in warmer climates when you’re trying to improve ventilation throughout your home. The windows can be opened at any angle making them great for ventilation. Wind flow is rarely coming straight at your windows, instead it flows across your windows at an angle so by opening your windows at the correct angle you can capture the breeze and improve the overall ventilation. This makes the house feel cooler, even when it’s very warm, and it can reduce the need for fans and other devices for ventilation.
Another benefit of casement windows is that there aren’t any moving parts other than the hinge. The window is one solid piece of glass instead of two. This creates a more air-resistant barrier, and offers better insulation overall than many of your double or single hung windows. If you’re looking for a simple way to boost your insulation level, while still having windows that open when you need them to, casement windows are a great option.
While casement windows are great for letting in cool air when you need it, they are limited when it comes to adjustability. They open up and close easily, but there aren’t many angle options for the window to stay open on its own. Many people add casement window stays to their casement windows. While some windows come with built-in stays, or cranks to help you adjust the position, others simply open and close without anything but a stop to keep them from opening too far. Quality stays will add $20 to $50 to the price of the window, but they will help keep the window right where you want it and they make adjusting the window to a new position easier than trying to deal with a crank.
Some stays come with an adjustable tension knob so that you can position your window in any possible open or closed position. Others have several different notches that offer predetermined positions.
The tensioner knob style stays offer more adjustability so that you can get your window exactly where you want it. Unfortunately this style tends to be more expensive than the notched style. It’s also often less durable overall. The knobs tend to wear out over time, faster than the notched variety does.
Notched stays aren’t as adjustable as the tensioner knob variety, but they usually offer enough position settings to get your window adjusted enough to bring in a good breeze, regardless of the direction of the wind. Notched stays usually have at least four different settings, and some have as many as six depending on how long they are. They are simple to adjust and can withstand higher levels of wind.
While it’s ideal to get casement windows throughout your home, you can get good ventilation by installing casement windows on the side of your home that gets the most wind. This is simple if you live in certain areas, like close to the ocean, where the breeze is almost always coming from the same direction.
If you live in an area where it’s more difficult to determine which way the wind is blowing, you might want to consider picking up a weather vane, or some wind chimes. With a weather vane you’ll be able to visually see which way the wind is blowing throughout the day and when you position wind chimes around your home properly, you’ll be able to hear which side of your home is getting the most wind. Either way you’ll know where to install the casement windows for best results.
Once you direct air into your home, any type of window that opens will help direct the air back out of your home and create cross-breeze to cool things down.
Whether you’re looking for improved insulation, or you want to bring in breeze more effectively, casement windows are a good option.