Home Maintenance Advice/Thermodynamics

After just mentioning how rarely I start threads in that informal poll, here I am violating my own precedent…yet I know this isn’t something normally discussed anywhere here.

My house is only 3 years old, and it has low-E windows to minimize temp loss.
I have a serious problem with the actual thermodynamics of the windows. The glass stays cool in summer, warm in winter, it’s fine. There are no leaks or weatherstripping concerns. But the FRAMES.
The frames are a bronze color. Not painted, it’s the metal’s natural color. In Florida, in every month except Jan/Feb, the sun is harsh. It hits these window frames, raises the temp to like surface-of-Venus or so, and then the heat transmits through the metal to the interior frame.

Inside the house, through a thermal viewer, the window would look like a bright squared-off figure 8.You can literally burn your finger on the inside window frame after a few hours of direct exposure. This of course raises room temperature significantly. While the thermostat in the windowless hallway registers 77F, the master bedroom temp will be 82-85F around 4 PM on a cloudless day…regardless of having the blinds drawn.

My last house, the window frames were white. The one before, natural aluminum/stainless steel/whatever it was–silver looking. Neither had low-E windows, but both were COOLER overall in direct sun. It never occurred to me that the window frames could suffer this as I’ve never lived anywhere with this color frames. I’ve got low-E glass and worst-ever-E frames. Even in winter I notice they get freezing cold while the glass stays warm. I feel like they made them out of recycled heatsinks they conduct heat so well.

Other than make my house look awful by painting the frames white (not a serious proposal), is there anything I can do to thermally insulate the inside frame from the outside one?

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Without replacing the frames (not sure how vinyl does in hot places) then the only thing I can think of would be to triage the worse places that get hit by the sun and maybe do some sort of window awning to block the light before it reaches the windows so much? I guess that’s dependent on the house design though.

If you have to start installing insulating foam between the two layers of frame (inside/outside) then you might be getting close to just choosing another lower-absorption frame anyway?

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There shouldn’t be a thermal bridge between the inner and outer frame… I swapped a few windows two years ago. I got 2 layers, instead of the 3 layer with better thermal insulation, because I wanted sound proofing.
They managed to send me regular glass panes, and had to come and switch them after I had them installed. This showed me how the window was built, and the glass sat in a plastic frame, that then had the aluminium «shields» clipsed onto the plastic. So, no metal to metal…

Thats european quality building, amuhricans build houses out of 2cm by 4cm wooden bits and gipsum/paper sheets.

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The only thing not mentioned that comes to mind is wooden external shutters - may or may not suit the look of the house but they are really effective insulation in general - they would take the direct sun in the summer and create another thermal layer in the winter.

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Well…that’s not good. Part of the issue is proper air circulation. I assume that the thermostat and bedroom are on the same floor - both on the second floor if a two story house–and also that the bedroom door is normally open. With proper air circulation the entire house should be approximately the same temp. You have an almost 10º difference.

From an airflow point of view, I might try shutting off vents and/or closing doors in rooms that you do not use much. For example, it you have a “formal” living room but do not use it unless company comes over, try shutting the vents there. That will force the air to find other places to flow out–more air coming out of the other vents.

Probably not. But have you thought of insulation the inner frames from the interior of the house? Could be something simple like adding some type of insulation layer to the window frame…a long walk through Lowes or Home Depot may give you some ideas.

Or if you want to get fancy you might be able to modify a water-cooling system for a PC (I am being serious). Probably not on every window, but if you are having an issue in the bedroom…um…let me rephrase that…if the bedroom is the major offender in a thermodynamic sense, a few strategically placed, water cooled heat sinks on the “sunniest” windows there might work since you are only trying to lower the temp by 10º

If the significant other isn’t an issue (or they aren’t picky about aesthetics), stick on foam weather stripping will really cut down the amount of heat that comes off the frame. I

The aesthetics issue is the reason we’re in this bind in the first place. The trim on the house around every window is already white, but white painted windows get dingy over time unless you’re diligent about cleaning them. We were not (on the last house where they were) so we opted for the natural bronze metal color.

External covers aren’t going to be to hurricane code, we just got new accordion shutters for them so we don’t have to put them up and take them down every time a storm comes by (which has been a couple of times in 2016 and 2017, none for 2018 so far).

Air circulation is part of the problem as the rooms all have 9-10ft ceilings. Each room has an air return, but it’s only when the AC is running that they work, and the AC is working so well on the rooms away from the sun that it’s not running much. No room gets colder than 77F, so that part is working, it’s just the rooms that get the late afternoon sun (master and front BR mostly) that heat up rapidly while the thermostat is on the morning sun side.

It’s starting to sound like growing a large plant in front of the troublesome windows, which will only take several years :frowning: is the only reliable method that won’t look bad.

I assume you are in Florida.

Two possible approaches:

1 - Buy an already big plant. I remember seeing trucks carrying full grown palm trees n Florida, so maybe fully grown plants are available.

2 - Buy a big Yacht on a trailer and park it in from of the troublesome windows.

I recommend #1…less money. :sunglasses: