Windows are a light source for your home and provide ventilation. They can have an impact on your home’s energy efficiency. By installing energy-efficient windows, you can reduce your utility costs and enhance the look and feel of your home. Energy Star-qualified windows can lower your energy bills by 7 to 15 percent.
However, selecting the right windows for your home can be daunting with all the various styles, features and materials. These windows are expected to last up to 20 years, so it’s a long-term investment.
New Or Replacement Windows
First you need to determine replacement or new windows. If you want to changes the size or shape of a current window opening, new windows are recommended. With new windows, you can complete update the appearance of your home and feel on both the inside and outside.
Replacement windows will remove old windows and not change the surrounding trim and frame. They cost about the same as new windows but require less labor, making the overall cost less. If your existing frame is in good shape and you like the trim, replacement windows are a good option. They do come in stock size or you may have to custom order depending on the size of your opening.
Determining Window Style
Next you need to determine the style and type of window for your home. Here is a breakdown of the styles available:
• Single- or Double-Hung: These are typically the most common windows. This type of window has two sashes that slide vertically up and down in the frame. Only the bottom slides upward in a single-hung window. The top will remain stationary. Double hung windows are ideal for creating airflow by opening the top sash.
• Casement: Generally have lower air leakage rates and are hinged at the sides. It is comprised of one large sash that’s hinged vertically and opens by swinging out.
• Awning: Hinged at the top and are opened outward by tilting the window out from the bottom. These windows also have low air leakage rates and can be installed above, below or alongside a stationary or opening window. Typically, awning windows are popular in coastal areas and in bathrooms.
• Single or Double-Sliding Windows: In single-sliding windows, only one sash slides for side to side. Double-sliding windows allow for both sashes to slide horizontally. They are most often used in modern-style homes.
• Fixed: These windows do not open and are airtight. They can be customized to any shape and are often found in modern homes.
Window Glass, Frame And Other Materials
Next you have to consider the materials of the windows. A window’s energy efficiency is based on all of its components. Window frames can conduct heat and affect window’s energy efficiency. Wood windows are beautiful and have good insulating properties but require maintenance. Vinyl windows are among the most popular and virtually maintenance free with great insulation. Vinyl clad windows offer the beauty of wood for the interior and vinyl coating on the outside.
Choosing the glass for your window is more than just choosing double-, triple- or even quadruple-pane glass, you can even choose the distance between the panes. The number of panes of glass does not increase the insulation for the window. It’s the air between the panes that provides the additional insulation.
Glazing or glass technology is very sophisticated. Low Emissivity (Low-E) Glass refers to glass with a thin, almost invisible layer of material on the surface of the glass that reduces the amount of heat allowed to flow through the glass. Impact Resistant Glass will not shatter, but may still crack. They hold up well to intense weather conditions.
When choosing windows, it’s important to choose a quality product made by a well-known company. You need windows that will provide energy savings, are easy to use, offer low maintenance and will last for a long time.