Replacing your home’s windows is not a small investment. It’s best to consider the following when deciding which window type, installation, and company you will choose to outfit the job.
Properly installed, quality energy-efficient windows can save you between 25-50% on your energy bill. Make the right decision. If you want to calculate just how much savings you may earn, you have to consider your landscaping and architecture. How light and its heat enter your home will determine this number of efficiency for upgraded windows. This may even help you consider adding some landscaping features that assist your windows in blocking the sun, such as with the shade of trees. Take note of any rooms that are especially uncomfortable, hot or cold, and at what times of the day. Maybe the sun has damaged your carpet or hard floor material and you need more protection there. These considerations will help you determine your needs in each room.
When shopping for new windows, you’ll see many varieties of double-pane windows, glass and gas filled, and before long they will seem to be all the same, but not all Energy Star double-pane windows are the same. Each one performs differently. The National Fenstration Rating Council is responsible for rating windows according to these Energy Star points of criteria: Solar Heat Gain Coefficiency (how well the window blocks heat), Visible Tranmittance (how much sunlight is let in through the window. High numbers are best), Air Leakage (self explanatory), and Condensation Resistance (Also, self explanatory. Highest numbers are best). Even each window size and configuration has their own rating so consider that while shopping as well.
Window frame materials also make a difference in cost and efficiency. Vinyl frames made of PVC are energy efficient and the least expensive of all materials, but they are weaker and deteriorate faster under the elements. Aluminum frames are strong and inexpensive, but have very little to offer in the department of energy efficiency. Composite frames made of Fribrex are durable and high efficiency, but expensive. Fiberglass frames have high energy efficiency, but are expensive and deteriorate over time, and wood frames are high maintenance and most expensive, but energy efficient and adds beauty and character to your home.
Keep safety in mind as you shop, too. If you have children visitors or residents you will want to keep them in mind when you purchase windows for your top floor. With children, it’s best to open windows on top to let air in and not have any vulnerability for accidents with children. Windows closest to the floor are actually required to be made of tempered glass, and older windows are no longer up to code as far as safety is concerned. And last but not least, don’t hesitate to replace windows that have been vulnerable to previous break-ins first!