Do you feel a draft near the windows in your home? Is your energy bill during the hottest and coldest months of the year unusually high? You might be losing as much as 25-30% of your heating and cooling energy through your windows.
Luckily, modern replacement windows can give you huge energy savings. However, investing in new windows can be an expensive upgrade for homeowners, especially if they don’t understand the different window options on the market today.
Are you looking to upgrade the windows in your home? Read on to find out what you need to know about before you buy.
Do You Need Replacement Windows?
What indicates a window in need of replacement? Many homeowners with old single-pane windows choose to upgrade for efficiency, but that isn’t the only reason.
Are your windows are drafty, hard to open, hard to lock, or showing significant wear? Are the frames deteriorating? Do they seem to sag, or are there gaps or condensation in your windows?
If so, you’re seeing signs that it’s time to replace your old windows.
When it comes to window replacement, you can choose a sash-only or full replacement.
Sash-only window replacements are great if you have existing frames that are in good shape. The part that is replaced in this renovation is the sash, or element that holds the glass panes in place. This is minimally invasive to your existing home.
For damaged window frames, a replacement will include the sash and frame. Sometimes referred to as a “prime” or “construction” window, this renovation includes removing the exterior siding and interior molding of your window area.
New windows will be installed with updated flashing and sealed with expanding foam to close off any gaps. This process is more costly than a sash-only replacement but provides more options for window choices.
If you’re replacing your entire frame, your next choice will be which material your windows will be made of. Wood and vinyl windows are the most common options, but you have a variety of choices depending on your needs.
Wood windows are still very popular but require some maintenance and painting. Wood tends to deteriorate faster over time, so you may choose to have vinyl or aluminum cladding installed to reduce wear and maintenance.
You can choose to have different surfaces on either side of the windows, for aesthetic purposes. Some homeowners prefer the inside frame to have a natural wood look, with a more durable cladding on the exterior.
Vinyl window frames are very low-maintenance. These frames are hollow inside, which increases structural resilience. This air pocket also provides some insulating properties, but there are options to fill these cavities with foam or other insulating materials as well.
Fiberglass and composite frames are other low-maintenance options. A final choice is an aluminum frame, but this material can be a poor choice for high heat or cold climates due to how easily it conducts temperature.
Choosing the Glaze
Window glazing is just another term for the glass of the window, and the components of that glass. Many advanced window glazing options exist on the market today. Homeowners might choose a combination of these features to better compliment their needs.
Modern windows can have two or three panes of glass that are sealed inside the sash. The more pockets of air, the more insulation a window glazing can carry. Different properties can be sealed inside of these panes to improve glare and energy performance.
Some styles of windows trap inert gas between the panes. Common gasses are argon, krypton, xenon, and nitrogen. These gasses insulate better than oxygen and don’t carry condensation like oxygen is prone to do.
Low-E coatings on window glass are additions that can help insulate and prevent sun exposure from heating the interior of your home. These coatings reduce the penetration of solar, visible, and ultraviolet light through the glass.
Other options include suspended films between panes and window tinting. Each of these features adds another layer of thermal value to the windows of your home.
Depending on the climate of where you live, there are different factors to consider with your window purchase. You can use window ratings to guide your decision-making as to the appropriate window type for your home.
For cold climates, your goal is a window that keeps your heat contained inside the home. Windows with lower U-values are more efficient in reducing heat loss. For colder environments, the recommendation is a U-value of 0.27 or lower.
The lower the U-value, the more cold-resistant a window is.
For hot climates with high air conditioning costs, your main value is the SHGC or solar heat gain coefficient. This value starts at 0 and goes up to 1. The lower your SHGC, the better a window is at preventing heat gain from the sun and reflective surfaces.
Energy Star provides recommendations for window ratings based on the region you live in. Window rating information should be readily available from each window manufacturer.
Let the Light In
Replacement windows can bring a whole new appearance to the interior and exterior of your home. Depending on your aesthetic preferences and budget, the options for new windows are nearly endless. Not only will you approve the appearance of your home, but you’ll also reduce your heating bills and enjoy a more temperate interior.
Whether you prefer the natural look of wood or the sleek and easy-care feel of vinyl, Penny Window of St. Louis can help you choose the perfect options for your new windows. Offering unmatched quality and performance, we pride ourselves on offering top of the line products at a discounted price.
Contact us today for a free estimate on your window replacement!
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