Replacement Windows – Energy Efficiency and Value

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.

Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

If you are unsure about how energy efficient your home is, you may want to consider and energy audit. There are numerous resources funded by various levels of government that can help with these programs, check out: energy.gov or nrcan.gc.ca

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.

Damaged Window - Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

• 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.

The Frame

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.

Window Glass

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. 

Window Glass - Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

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.

Window Glass Diagram - Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

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.

You can find out more about energy star ratings at: energy star usa or energy star canada

Design

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.

Window Design - Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

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.

Window Design - Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

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.

Overhangs - Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

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.

Modern Design - Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

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.

Installation

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. 

Window Installation Old Windows - Replacement Windows - quin ju.com

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.

 

Related posts

9 Thoughts to “Replacement Windows – Energy Efficiency and Value”

  1. This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to get an energy efficient frame with double glazed glass. My husband and I are going to be replacing our windows because they’re getting old and outdated. We’d like to pick something energy efficient, so we’ll definitely look into double glazing with a frame that is well insulated. Thanks for the great post!

     
  2. I know my windows aren’t in the best condition possible, but I like how you suggest to assess your windows to find out if they need replacing. I didn’t know that windows with single-pane glass aren’t energy efficient. The windows in my home are single pane, so it’s probably a good idea to get those replaced with more efficient windows that can help me keep my energy bills down.

     
    1. You’re correct Kate, single pane windows are not efficient summer or winter. So often today the various window companies make wild claims on the energy efficiency of their glass, don’t believe a word of it!
      I would suggest you get several quotes, make no immediate decisions, find the contractor you feel comfortable with, check out references all prior to signing contracts. The quality of install and reliability of company will be more valuable than the R-factor of their glass claims.

      Hope this helps and take out a free quinju.com project to track your progress.

       
  3. Thanks for a great article with important information about windows. Homeowners sometimes aren’t sure what is the best windows for their home and this explains each in great detail. There are some DIYers out there that will try to install windows on their own, but this is one project best left to the professionals.

     
    1. Phil, thanks for the comments. I went into your site and read some of your articles and found them very interesting. If your interested in republishing these articles on quinju as a guest writer let me know. The articles would have to be written with SEO in mind and therefore more generic. At the end we would put you and your company information in a bio. If you wanted I could write the first article using your content and send it to you for approval. We would hope that once published you would market the article and our services on your site with quinju button and back links in articles. This type of collaboration (back links) is a great low cost way to increase your authority on search engines. let me know your thoughts.
      Mark Thomas co-owner quinju.com

       
  4. I really like how you mention that most construction experts agree that homes with poorly performing windows can almost always benefit from window replacement. The windows in my room are really hard to open and I think they are broken. Getting a replacement would help me lower my energy bills because I would be more likely to open my windows up instead of turning on the air conditioning.

     
  5. Thanks for bringing to my attention that single-pane windows should be replaced. My wife and I just moved into an older home, and the windows are pretty old, so they’re just single-pane. We want to make sure our house is as energy efficient as possible, so maybe it would be wise to invest in replacement windows that are better insulated.

     
  6. StevenGef

    it’s my very first time visiting your blog and I’m very interested. Thank you for sharing and keep up 😉

     
  7. Megan Alder

    We just bought a house in dayton oh, however, it was built in the 80’s and is in need of some renovation and especially window replacement. I can tell by just standing next to one of the windows that they are not energy efficient as it feels 10 degree colder. However, after reading this article, it made me reconsider replacing the windows and instead maybe adding additional insulation? The only issue with that is I really don’t like the way the windows look. We will have to do some thinking!

     

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.