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How to Buy Energy-efficient Replacement Windows

Homeowners nowadays are energy conscious – they want to decrease their heating and cooling costs. And one of the most essential steps they can take is picking the right windows.

When planning to buy energy-efficient windows, there are four issues to think about: frame, glass, design and installation.

Frame
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There is a diversity of window frame materials available, and each has both good and bad aspects. It’s up to you to come to a decision on what works for your style and your funds.
5 Key Takeaways on the Road to Dominating Windows

Vinyl: A well-built, correctly installed vinyl window can be a convenient choice: it is cheap while still offering exceptional energy efficiency measures via insulated glass and tight construction that decreases air leakage.

Wood: Wood windows provide the best insulation value; however, they also need more maintenance in comparison to vinyl, wood-clad or aluminum frames. But because of the possibility of rotting, they may not be the paramount alternative for very humid or rainy climates.

Aluminum: Even as not the best-performing material for heat transfer and loss, aluminum windows are handy in rainy, humid climates, and they satisfy rigid coastal building codes in hurricane-susceptible areas due to their notable strength.

Wood-Clad: Wood-clad windows seem like they provide the best of both worlds: a low-maintenance exterior (generally vinyl or aluminum) enclosing a temperature-transfer-resistant interior made of wood.

However, if you have a wet climate, clad windows could be prone to water intrusion, causing rotting.

Glass

You don’t need to look beyond a window’s glass to learn about its efficiency characteristics. All windows which come under the voluntary Energy Star program have a sticker on them that shows National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) ratings. To be eligible for Energy Star status, window makers must meet standards on the following two core metrics:

> U-value: resistance of a window unit to heat loss

> Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): (amount of heat entering a home through the glass

For the two measurements, a higher number indicates greater efficiency.

Design

Certain window designs are innately more efficient than the rest. Below are the most usual types:

Double-hung windows (bottom slides up to open the unit): They may be efficient options, but except in extreme climates, where there could be air intrusion between the sliders.

Casement windows: Common in climates where wind is a problem, these units, which come with a crank that swings out to open the window, actually seal themselves off tighter as the wind blows into the house.

Picture windows: These normally don’t open and can be purchased in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they too can be energy-efficient.

Installation

Even the costliest window unit won’t function effectively unless it is installed correctly. Careful with contractors who are too dependent on expanding foams or sealants to get a good window fit, however; such materials aren’t waterproof and may cause issues later on.

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