Window Replacement Project? Make Sure You See the Difference
Window replacement is a big deal. Think about it — you may only buy new windows once in your life. You probably don’t have a lot of window replacement experience.
Who’s going to help you? We are. Let’s break down the components of a window to make sure you get what you need on your next — and maybe only — window replacement project.
Window Replacement 101: The Anatomy of a Quality Window
Window quality begins with the materials. The ENERGY STAR program points out a few details you should check closely.
- Frame quality. What is the frame made from — durable fiberglass? Insulating vinyl? Recycled aluminum? Some combination or composite material? Your window replacement project rests heavily on the frame.
- Multiple, or coated, window panes. Multiple panes are “two panes of glass, with an air- or gas-filled space in the middle,” ENERGY STAR notes. Multiple-pane windows are solid insulators against energy loss, impact and noise pollution. A coated window pane reduces the risk of lost energy and may reduce your energy bill payments.
- Energy-saving fills and spacers. What’s a fill? “Some energy-efficient windows have argon, krypton or other gases between the panes,” ENERGY STAR explains. “These odorless, colorless, non-toxic gases insulate better than regular air.” Spacers keep the multiple window panes apart.
Window frames can be made from several different types of materials. Aluminum, wood, vinyl, composite or combination materials (sometimes referred to as “hybrid”) are popular options.
The Efficient Window Collaborative provides a detailed assessment of frame types:
- Lightweight, durable, easy to create custom shapes
- Good insulator, great aesthetics
- Low maintenance, durable, good insulator, the most affordable window option
- Reuse sawdust (“green” factor), can be painted and/or made to look like wood
- Combine the best of different products
Multiple panes, combined with glazes and coatings, work to keep the inside of your home comfortable, regardless of the weather outside.
- There are four basic types of treated windowpanes on the market: Single, double, triple or quad glazed. These terms refer to the number of panes. Glazing and coatings are applied to keep heat out in the summer time and in during the winter months. These materials also block ultraviolet rays, reducing the effect of direct light on upholstery and other items in the home. More glazing generally means more energy efficiency.
- The three types of coatings often used to treat the window panes are low-emissivity (low-e), reflective and spectrally sensitive.
Window Fills and Spacers
Fills and spacers provide an additional layer of insulation to windows.
Fills are composed of inert gasses inserted between the panes in a multi-pane window. Gas fills prevent the temperature outside of the window from affecting the temperature inside.
Spacers are installed between the panes of glass inside the window frame. Spacers insulate against pane expansion and contraction. These spacers also create a moisture barrier and seal gas fills between the panes.
Window Replacement 201: Energy Efficiency
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and the ENERGY STAR program are two resources that help establish ratings for window energy efficiency.
ENERGY STAR products include ENERGY STAR and NFRC ratings. You can cross-compare products based on five performance categories.
- U-Factor: Window insulation (lower numbers are better)
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: Blocking the heat of the sun (lower numbers are better)
- Air Leakage: Air escaping through window spaces (lower numbers are better)
- Visible Transmittance: Visible light passing through the window
- Condensation Resistance: How much, or how little, water sticks to the pane (higher numbers are better)
Window Replacement 301: Maintenance obligations
Window replacement in 2017 is a beautiful thing. Why? Quality frames eliminate hassles. New materials like vinyl are nearly maintenance-free.
Double-hung windows can be cleaned inside and outside from inside your home. This is not true with casement-style windows or picture windows! There is no need for a tricky ladder or messy window cleaner.
“The great thing about our virgin vinyl windows is there is no maintenance needed,” explains Mike Lyons, corporate trainer for Long Windows. “To wash the windows, all you need is warm water and a cloth. The exterior is wrapped in vinyl-coated aluminum, making it maintenance-free as well.”
Traditional wooden window frames are affected by rot or warping. Insects like bumblebees and termites can also cause damage. These old-school frames need to be painted, sanded or stained to look their best. Do you have that kind of time — or money?
Window Replacement 401: Warranties
Long Windows offers a no-nonsense, lifetime window warranty that covers workmanship, materials and your window panes. We will make it right if you ever have a problem with your Long Windows.
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