Except for the years from 1982 to 1986, our time in Taiwan was spent in “vintage housing”. In 1987 we moved into a “once luxury” place in Kaohsiung, but its “luxury” days were long past by then. We stayed there until 2007, then moved onto the campus of Tainan Theological College, where the housing stock was late 50s to mid-60s. So long as things are kept reasonably clean, painted and leak free, older houses in Taiwan can be rather pleasant. They have character lacking in many of the things built in the 21st Century. BUT window technology has improved considerably over the years.
Our 20 years in the same building in Kaohsiung included a lot of window-rattles and leaks during typhoons. And THOSE windows had aluminum frames. When we moved to Tainan, the house’s windows were large, heavy, and wood-framed. Frequently in windy seasons I had to fold up newspaper to stick between the places where frames slid across frames. The problem was noise. Whether wind blew in or not was a minor thing.
Not so where we now reside. It’s winter here. The temperatures this week hovering around 1 degree C. When wind blows it finds the cracks. Last Spring we had the other major cracks in the house sealed up, but replacing windows is an expensive deal, so we’ve foregone it. Our bedroom faces north. The upstairs bathroom faces south. A few weeks ago we purchased some shrink-wrap plastic film to tape up over them. That required purchase of a hair dryer (to shrink the wrap) and then we were busy with this and that. Yesterday we began installing in the bedroom. We covered 3 of the 4 windows there. This morning the storm windows furthest out from the plastic were clear. On the one set we hadn’t covered there was condensation inside.
The bathroom on the south-facing side changed more dramatically. While putting up the sheeting, with top and sides taped down, the amount of air coming out where the bottom wasn’t yet sealed was amazing. Now that everything on that end is “tight as a drum”, midnight runs to the toilet won’t be as chilling.
We’re certain that shrink wrap plastic sheeting is used all over Taiwan, for products in stores, but not for windows. Maybe there’s money to be made.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.