Windows

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When to replace windows

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Knowing when to replace your home's windows isn't always as clear as it may seem. If your home is older than 15 years, it's probably a good time to check and make sure your windows are still operating correctly. Here are a few things to look for to determine if you should replace your windows. But do not replace windows just because new windows are more energy efficient because replacing windows is expensive and you won't get the investment back in many years.

  • Poor performance:
Poor performing windows can cause a world of trouble. They can drive up your electricity bill, let unwanted heat inside, or unwanted cold air inside. They can also cause your furniture to fade and not block unwanted noise from the outside.
  • Looks:
Looks say a lot about your house and who you are as a person. If your windows are chipping, it's a good indication that they've reached their age of retirement. Another thing to keep in mind is having your windows match the style of your house. Ugly windows can make or break a homes decor.
  • Usability:
Usability can be a lot of peoples breaking point when it comes to buying new windows. Having windows that are hard to open or close, windows that wont lock properly, or a stuck closed window can be extremely frustrating. On top of that, it's unsafe as well and makes your windows prone to burglaries. If your windows are starting to not work properly, it's time to get some new ones.

Efficiency rating

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Every window has an Energy Star and National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) rating that is found on the window labels. These ratings are a big factor when it comes to selecting your new windows and should not be over looked.

  • U-value:
The U-value typically ranged from .25 to 1.25 and are measured in Btu/h ft² °F. The lower the U-factor, the better the window insulates.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC):
The SHGC measures the fraction of solar energy transmitted and tells you how well the product blocks heat caused by sunlight. The number ranges from 0 to 1 and the lower the number the better. A lower number number means that the window is better at blocking unwanted heat from the sun.
  • Visible Transmittance (VT):
The VT indicated how much visible light a window lets in. The rating number is between 0 and 1. The lower the number, the less light the window lets through.



Window materials

Windows are made from a wide variety of materials that all have unique advantages and disadvantages.

  • Vinyl:
The biggest advantage of a vinyl window is the high level of insulation they provide. In comparison to aluminum window frames, vinyl seals your home from heat in the summer and keeps in heat throughout winter. They are also very inexpensive but are also prone to developing leaks.
  • Wood:
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Wood is often the most popular choice of window buyers. Not only does it look good, but it does not conduct cold or allow condensation as much as other materials which can mean big energy savings.
  • Fiberglass
Fiberglass is very strong and very durable although it is more expensive.
  • Aluminum:
One of the biggest advantages of aluminum is that it’s very light but still strong. It’s durable and doesn’t require much maintenance, especially with a factory-baked or anodized finish. It is not used that often in residential settings nowadays.


Vinyl Fiberglass Wood
Cost Lower cost more expensive than Vinyl more expensive than Vinyl
Insulation Good Good Excellent
Durability Durable More durable, longer lifespan due to the frame and window-glass expand and contract at the same rate wood can rot. Bugs may eat
Strength strong Very stong Good
Maintenance low maintenance low maintenance higher maintenance
Color normally white. Custom windows can have multiple muted colors. Can't be painted can have multiple colors. can be painted Natural wood color, stained wood. can be painted

Window glass options

In addition to choosing a frame type, you will need to consider what type of glazing or glass you should use to improve your home's energy efficiency. Based on various window design factors such as window orientation, climate, building design, etc., you may even want to choose different types of glazing for different windows throughout your home.

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  • Low Emissive Glass:
Low-E glazing has a film applied to one of the glass surfaces or suspended between the panes. This coating or film allows light in, but it prevents some solar rays from being transmitted through the glass. A Low-E coating can help keep your home cool on a hot day by blocking longer-wave radiant heat from entering. On a cold day it can prevent the radiant interior heat from escaping through the glass
  • Tinted Glass:
Usually given either a bronze or gray cast, tinted glass reduces glare and limits the amount of light and heat from the sun (solar gain) in your home.
  • Safety Glass:
Safety glass is a good choice if there's any risk of a person walking through a window. Tempered glass is heat-treated during the manufacturing process and crumbles if broken rather than shattering. Laminated glass has a film of plastic that holds the glass together if broken.



Different styles of windows

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  • Awning. Hinged at the top and open outward. Because the sash closes by pressing against the frame, they generally have lower air leakage rates than sliding windows.
  • Casement. Hinged at the sides. Like awning windows, they generally have lower air leakage rates than sliding windows because the sash closes by pressing against the frame.
  • Fixed. Fixed panes that don't open. When installed properly they're airtight, but are not suitable in places where window ventilation is desired.
  • Hopper. Hinged at the bottom and open inward. Like both awning and casement, they generally have lower air leakage rates because the sash closes by pressing against the frame.
  • Single- and double-hung. Both sashes slide vertically in a double-hung window. Only the bottom sash slides upward in a single-hung window. These sliding windows generally have higher air leakage rates than projecting or hinged windows.
  • Single- and double-sliding. Both sashes slide horizontally in a double-sliding window. Only one sash slides in a single-sliding window. Like single- and double-hung windows, they generally have higher air leakage rates than projecting or hinged windows




Storm windows

A storm window is a window fixed outside a normal window for protection and insulation in bad weather or winter. They are also an economical way to increase efficiency in single pane window homes.

Windows buying guide

You can refer to consumer reports fro buying guide. The leading brands include Andersen, Marvin, JELD-WEN, Pella and so on.

How to guides

How to replace a window

Example Video:

How to replace window screens

Example Video:

How to remove window screen

Example Video:

How to maintain sliding window

Example Video:

Window balancer replacement

Example Video:

How to adjust sliding window rollers

Example Video:

How to clean window tracks

Example Video:

How to separate double pane windows

Example Video:


Finding good contractors

If you decide to hire out please refer to Finding Good Contractors.