If you’ve felt a cold draft come through your living space, you may want to consider new windows – doing so can help keep your home cozy, and have a positive effect on your energy bills. Here, we’ll outline the things you should consider when replacing your home windows.
Assessing your existing windows
One of the easiest ways to begin assessing your windows is to do a visual inspection. Signs of decay or rot around the window frames are red flags. If you can feel a draft of air coming through the sides of your windows while they’re closed, you can also suspect a problem.
Once you’ve determined that your windows need to be considered for replacement, you can contact a professional. He or she will let you know what your options are in terms of insulation, repair, and replacements.
Knowing your options
There are a slew of window options available. Window frame materials range from wood to vinyl, and they also have varying costs. While wood may be more appealing, it can be high maintenance and heavy. Vinyl frame windows might be suitable for you if you want something insulated and easy to maintain over time.
In addition to considering material, you’ll need to examine the different styles of windows available on the market. Single-hung, double-hung, and sliding windows may be more attractive, but they are not as effective as casement (hinged from the side), awning (hinged at the top), and hopper (hinged from the bottom) windows in terms of energy conservation.
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Checking for labels
To make shopping a bit easier for consumers, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has created a special window label to provide specifications on products. These labels have information on how well windows block heat, cold air, and outside air, as well as condensation. Look for the NFRC certification label on your new windows before you foot the bill.
Understanding “window language” can also help you ensure you get the best bang for your buck. Here are common terms found on window labels:
- U-factor: How much heat escapes from a window (the lower the number, the better).
- Solar heat gain coefficient, or SHGC: How much sun can penetrate through the window (lower is also better).
- Visible transmittance: The rate of how much light comes in.
- Condensation resistance: How well the window resists condensation.
- Air leakage: How much outside air comes in.
Preparing for window replacement
There are a few factors you’ll want to consider as you make a final decision on window replacement. First, you’ll need to take your budget into account before starting – will you be replacing all of your windows or just a few?
Next, you should always comparison shop before making any purchasing decisions. There are a wide range of window options, so it’s important to see what you can find in-store and online. Look for sales or discounts on windows from local retailers.
Finally, find a contractor who is willing to work within your time frame, and create a plan to determine how you will live around the construction going on in your home. Planning ahead can ensure that any home improvement project goes smoothly.