How To Choose The Right New Windows For Your Home
Have you have decided to install new windows on your home to replace your existing ones? Are you unsure where to start when it comes to choosing the right ones? If so, this article will definitely benefit you. Installing replacement windows is expensive, and getting the most for your money is of the utmost importance. The right new windows can offer you many benefits including increased energy efficiency, beauty, and the raised value of your home. Choosing the wrong ones can leave you vulnerable to many problems in the future.
When choosing new windows there are three questions you should be asking yourself. They are as follows:
- What is your budget?
- What level of regular maintenance are you willing to perform?
- Is energy efficiency important?
Common types of new windows
New windows are constructed from several different materials. The one that you choose will determine the energy efficiency, aesthetics, maintenance and price of your project. Common window materials include wood, vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass.
New windows made of wood are a popular choice for high-end homes or historical restoration projects. Expensive homes that currently have wooden windows will want to install wood replacement windows to help maintain their resale value. Wood windows offer a classic look and natural beauty. The good insulating value of wood gives these windows decent energy efficiency. A downside to installing wood replacement windows is that they require regular maintenance such as painting or staining to prevent rot. New windows that are constructed of wood are also very expensive. They can cost two to three times the price of a vinyl window. If money is not an issue, and you are willing to perform the maintenance, or pay someone to, then wood windows are good choice.
New windows made of fiberglass are another popular choice for homeowners. Fiberglass windows are also quite energy efficient and are available in a wide variety of colors. Just as with wood windows, you will need to repaint them periodically. Fiberglass windows are also expensive. As with all windows with mechanically fastened corners, fiberglass windows may be prone to leaking. Be sure to only buy high quality fiberglass windows that are accompanied by a quality warranty.
New windows manufactured from aluminum are an affordable solution. These new windows are durable and low maintenance. They resist corrosion and do not require repainting. Just as with fiberglass windows, aluminum windows have mechanically fastened corners, which can leave them vulnerable to leaks.
The most popular type of new windows installed throughout the United States are vinyl. Vinyl windows are extremely affordable and offer incredible energy efficiency. Unlike aluminum and fiberglass windows, vinyl windows can have heat-welded corners which offer increased protection from leakage. Like aluminum windows, new windows constructed from vinyl require little to no maintenance. For homeowners looking to maximize budget and energy efficiency, vinyl windows are an excellent choice.
Any discussion about new windows must include energy efficiency. Installing replacement windows is a great chance to incorporate new window technologies that will make your home more energy efficient. Energy efficient new windows can offer you savings on your heating and cooling bills as well as increase the comfort of your family. That being said, the higher the efficiency of the window, the more expensive it will be. Window manufacturers utilize many techniques to make new windows more energy efficient. To understand efficiency, you will have to understand some of the terminology that is associated with it.
When choosing new windows you are bound to hear some discussion of R-Value. R-Value is the measurement of the thermal resistance that a window frame has. High R-Values are better when it comes to energy efficiency.
The U-Factor of a window is a measurement that describes non-solar heat transfer. When choosing new windows that are energy efficient you will want to find U-factors that are low.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
This is the measurement of how much solar radiation enters your home through the window. The climate of your area will ultimately decide what SHGC you will need in a window. Lower Solar Heat Gain Coefficients are better for hotter areas because they allow less solar radiation into your home. High numbers are better for colder climates where you would want the maximum amount of solar heat to enter.
Low-E (Low emissivity) coatings are added to new windows to control different types of light wavelengths that enter your home. This helps to manipulate the U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient of new windows.
Multiple Glass Panes
Most new windows have at least 2 panes of glass. Higher efficiency windows can have as many as four.
Gas Filled Window Panes
Window manufactures use Argon, Krypton, or Xenon gasses to replace the regular air between the panes of glass. These dense gasses further add to the thermal efficiency of new windows.
Energy Star Certification is bestowed on new windows that meet certain criteria set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. The most energy efficient windows carry the Energy Star logo.
Your budget will once again determine how energy efficient your new windows will be. Try to get the maximum efficiency that you can comfortably afford. They will reduce energy loss in your home, and help to lower your current heating and cooling costs. When choosing new windows based on energy efficiency it is always best to consult with a window installation professional. They can better assess your needs based on the climate, budget and other important factors.
Installing new windows is a big investment. You should do your best to inform yourself before contacting window and door companies. They say an educated homeowner is a smart homeowner. Be smart, weigh your options and you will be rewarded with new windows that will give you comfort, beauty, and value for many years to come.