Your home will be easier to cool and heat when you choose the right windows for your window replacement plans. You might be looking for ways to improve your current windows or a full replacement. This article will help you choose the correct type for your project.
Assessing your Windows for Replacement
When it comes to assessing your homes windows, there are a number of elements for you to consider. Like most homeowners, your interest in windows goes past just looking for the appropriate window coverings. See our article on Window treatments for more on that topic.
Today's energy-conscious consumers want to minimize the costs of heating and cooling their homes. Whether you are building a new home or planning to replace your existing windows. It is a good idea to understand what will bring you the biggest return on your investment.
For ideas on cooling your home this summer, see our recent article: Air Conditioner: Buy, Reduce Use or Live without, we can help!
The style of your home, the purpose and function and the current condition of the windows are some of the considerations when it comes to replacement windows. Since this is such a big investment make sure you are focused on the right aspects to begin your search. You don’t want to shell our thousands of dollars for a replacement when all you need is some additional insulation and to replace the caulking around your current windows.
Situations that may warrant window replacement
• Windows with single-pane glass or frames and sashes that not energy efficient. Most construction experts agree that homes with poorly-performing windows can almost always benefit from window replacement.
• Windows in poor condition. Beyond efficiency concerns, windows in poor condition can contribute to water leaks, humidity problems in the home and even pest infestations. Cracked windowpanes, non-operational windows and rotting frames, sashes or sills on wood windows are all good reasons to consider replacement.
• Windows that are safety problems. Windows that don't open or shut completely or that are weak because of improper maintenance or damage are good candidates for replacement. And if your home has upper-floor rooms with windows that don't open, consider replacing them with operable windows.
After your inspection, if you decide on replacement units there are four major components to consider. These components will help you make the right choice in your new energy efficient windows: The frame, glass, design and installation.
It is generally known that a wood frame is less prone to heat and cold transfer than an aluminum one. Metals conduct temperature much more easily than wood. But that doesn't mean wood is always the best choice. A variety of materials are available for window frames, and each has positive and negative aspects, let’s review these types:
• Vinyl: This is sometimes a less expensive material but that doesn't mean it is cheap. A well-constructed, properly installed vinyl window can be a practical choice budget. They offer excellent energy efficiency measures through insulated glass and tight construction that reduces air leakage. At one time Vinyl windows were limited in color choices and styles. Today most major manufactures offer cost effective, energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing alternatives.
• Wood: Wood windows typically have good insulation value, though they also require more upkeep than vinyl, wood-clad or aluminum frames. Because of the potential for rot, they may not be the best choice for extremely humid or rainy climates. A well-built wood window will stand the test of time. Many original wood windows in older homes are still in good shape thanks to the high-quality cut and species of wood used.
• Aluminum: While not the top-performing material in terms of heat transfer and loss, aluminum windows are practical in rainy and humid climates. They also meet stringent coastal building codes in hurricane-prone areas thanks to their strength.
• Wood-clad: Wood-clad windows seemingly offer the best of both worlds: a low-maintenance exterior (usually vinyl or aluminum) and a temperature-transfer-resistant wood interior. Proper installation of wood-clad windows should include use of waterproof rubber membranes around the cladding as well as a stand-alone flashing assembly.
• Composite: These windows, made from wood particles and plastic resins mimic the look of wood but are virtually maintenance-free. And because the resins used in the window manufacturing process are often from recycled plastics, they're an eco-friendly choice.
• Fiberglass: These windows are typically more expensive than other similarly equipped window units. Their selling points are many: They’re extremely energy efficient thanks to their low thermal conductivity. They’re the strongest and most durable windows on the market. Unlike vinyl windows, they can be repainted several times, and they don't twist or warp like vinyl or wood frames can.
When you are researching your replacement windows you will likely hear all kinds of industry buzz words like: Low E, Argon filled, Triple or Double glazed, Krypton filled, and many other variations. Don’t be deterred buy all the jargon, essentially what you are looking for is an energy efficient window pane that keeps the cold or heat out during the winter and summer.
This is accomplished with an insulating glass called a thermopane. These can come with two or three sheets of glass sealed in a single unit. There are versions that come with various gasses sealed in the units as well as exterior and interior coatings. This thermopane needs to be housed in an energy efficient frame. The gas fillings and coatings help in filtering or reflecting and the sun’s rays out and your keeping your heated or air conditioned air in.
One program that will make it much easier for you to make your choices is the energystar® rating program. This program rates all of the window manufactures products with a numerical scale.
Before selecting new windows for your home, you should consider the overall design, style and look of your home to determine the best fit. Today most major manufactures offer multiple choices of energy efficient windows with various color design and looks.
In new home construction windows are an important element in passive solar home design, which uses solar energy at the site to provide heating, cooling, and lighting for a house. Passive solar design strategies vary by building location and regional climate. The basic window guidelines remain the same—select, orient, and size glass to maximize solar heat gain in winter and minimize it in summer.
In heating-dominated climates, major glazing areas should generally face south to collect solar heat during the winter when the sun is low in the sky. In the summer, when the sun is high overhead, overhangs or other shading devices prevent excessive heat gain.
In cooling climates, particularly effective strategies include preferential use of north-facing windows and generously shaded south-facing windows. Windows with low solar heat and gain coefficient or SHGC are more effective at reducing cooling loads.
You can find out more about energy efficient window deign here: SHGC
If you're constructing a new home or doing some major re-modelling you can take advantage of the opportunity. Try to incorporate your window design and selection as an integral part of your whole-house design as an approach for building an energy-efficient home.
Window installation method will vary depending on the type of window, the construction of the house, wood, masonry, etc., the exterior cladding (wood siding, stucco, brick, etc.), and the type of weather-restrictive barrier. Windows should be installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and be properly air sealed during installation to perform correctly. To air seal the window, caulk the frame and weatherstrip the operable components.
Even the most energy-efficient window must be properly installed to ensure energy efficiency. Therefore, it's best to have a professional install your windows.
There are many types of Windows for you to choose from for your project – keep your eye on quinju.com for upcoming article on the type and styles of windows and many other informative articles.