If you really want to spruce up your home, improve its curb appeal and re-sale ability; and save yourself money at the same time, you really must look into replacing your windows. If your home hasn’t had new windows in a while, you could be losing up to 30% of your heating and cooling costs! There are many manufacturers of replacement windows and many elements and options that you need to consider.
Replacement Window Design Elements
IG Units – This is the insulated glass (IG) around which windows are now built. There may be 2 or 3 panes of glass that are chemically bonded together with spacer bars in between. This offers a barrier to the outside world both in temperature and in sound.
Low-E – This is low-emittance (Low-E) coating that is put on the window’s surface to reduce the UV-factor by suppressing heat flow. It is usually a thin layer of metal or metallic oxide put between the glass layers to lower the amount of heat flowing through the window unit. It is not done on all windows of a house, usually just those that face south and gain a maximum amount of sun during the day.
Low Conductive Gas Filled Units – This is a process whereby argon or krypton gas is put in between the panes of glass to fill up with space with a gas that does not conduct heat as well and/or transfer between the inside and outside glass panes. It is a great form of additional insulation; argon gas is inexpensive while krypton has better thermal results but comes at a higher cost.
U-Factor – This is the U-value of the window assembly. It is rated by the window’s resistance to heat flow and its better insulating value. It is desirable for the value to be low as that means the window system is more resistant and better insulating. It is similar to the R-factor in insulation with the value set being reversed with low being better than high.
SHGC Factor – This is the Solar Heat Gain value that shows how much solar energy is passing through a window as well as any absorbed solar energy that gets re-radiated into any room. The lower the number, the better job is being done to reduce heat gain especially during the summer air conditioning months.
VT Rating – This is the Visible Transmission (VT) rating which is an optical property that shows the amount of visible light transmitted or passed through the window. The higher the rating, the more light is being transmitted which would maximize daylight and decrease outside sources needed to light a room during daytime hours.
How to Choose a Vinyl Replacement Window System
There are many factors to consider that will affect the performance of the window system as well as its energy efficiency. Window systems consist of the frame, insulating glass, seal and all other components such as cam locks, rollers, etc. In addition the glass and gas fills of a window system are also very important.
The frame is important not only to its appearance but its insulating factor as well. One important thing to consider is fusion-welded corners. This process lines up all four corners to be exactly even and then welds the entire frame together. There is a wide cost range for this with differing results depending upon the amount of money spent for this process. Properly done, it increases the strength and longevity of the window frame.
Benefits of Vinyl Windows
The are a lot of great benefits to replacing your windows with vinyl replacement windows:
Energy Efficient – Vinyl is a great insulator against both heat and cold getting from the outside in and the inside out. In the winter, you don’t want the heat to escape out and in the summer, you don’t want the heat to get in – and the reverse of this is true during the winter months! Vinyl replacement windows go a long way to accomplishing this goal.
Maintenance Free – They don’t need painting ever again, they look like whatever style you want including wood – about the only thing you need to do is clean them as needed!
More Design Options – The vinyl window systems are so very customizable to any design, color, shape and size. It make the decision to buy them easy – and the choices of options perhaps harder because there are so many from which to choose, which isn’t a bad thing at all!
Add Curb Appeal – Everyone watches HGTV and has learned the benefit of curb appeal, both as a current aesthetic quality and as a potential resale factor. Statistically, you should be able to recoup 50 to 70 % of the money you spend on vinyl replacement windows from resale value alone!
Extremely Durable – These vinyl replacement windows will last a very long time thanks to all the technology that has gone into their design and engineering. A note of caution: be sure to not let price tag be a large factor as vinyl windows are durable when the quality is of a high caliber to give the desired results.