Archive for the ‘Replacement Windows’ Category

Choosing Energy-Efficient Windows

Monday, May 20th, 2013
Double Pane, Double Tilt, Vertical Replacement Window

Double Pane, Double Tilt, Vertical Replacement Window

There are hundreds of ways to conserve energy without having to time your showers or stop using your air conditioner. Anyone worried about energy usage should consider installing energy-efficient replacement windows, as the right windows prevent heat transfer and keep cold air outdoors. This reduces energy usage, decreases heating and cooling costs, and makes homes more comfortable. When searching for windows, choose products made with energy-efficient materials to reduce energy usage.

Framing Materials

Energy-efficient replacement windows come in a wide selection of framing materials. One of the most important considerations when choosing a framing material is how well the material insulates against heat and cold. Some of the best framing materials for reducing energy usage include vinyl, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, and composite. Vinyl frames provide excellent insulation against heat. Fiberglass is durable and requires very little maintenance. It is also a good insulating material for windows.

Wood and aluminum are both very durable, but wood requires more frequent maintenance to protect against rotting. Aluminum is recyclable, so it is a good choice for homeowners who are concerned about how their buying decisions affect the environment. Composite materials are made from materials that have been blended together. These materials provide good insulation and require very little maintenance.

Glass and Glazing

If your home has single-paned windows, consider replacing them with double-paned windows or glazed windows. A single pane of glass does not do much to insulate a home, so switching to a more energy-efficient window can reduce energy usage and slash home energy costs. Double-paned windows do a better job of insulating because there are air spaces between the two panes of glass. These spaces reduce the amount of heat lost, which makes it possible to keep a home warm without using as much heat.

Double pane glass cataway view.

Double Pane Glass

Special coatings also increase energy efficiency and reduce the amount of energy used to heat or cool a home. Low-emittance glass, also called low-e glass, is a treatment used to increase the energy efficiency of double-paned windows. Double-paned windows made with low-emittance glass are 35 percent more efficient than double-paned windows that have not been treated with the coating, according to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Another way to reduce energy usage is to purchase windows that have been filled with argon. Argon is a safe, inexpensive gas that does not transfer heat very well, so it provides insulation against heat loss.

Energy-efficient replacement windows cost a little more than some windows, but they are well worth the expense when you consider how much energy they save. After you select your replacement windows, have an experienced contractor install them. If the windows are not installed properly, they will not insulate your home and reduce your energy usage as much as expected.

 

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What to Ask Your Window Replacement Contractor

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Replacing the windows in your home does not have to be a stressful event. Having a reputable contractor who has experience with window installation do the job means that the work will be done quickly and efficiently.

Interior wood grain replacement windows

Interior wood grain replacement windows

Before you begin to interview contractors regarding home window installation or even just for window repair do some pre-screening. Check with the Better Business Bureau, and ask people you trust for recommendations. Perhaps you have a neighbor co-worker who has had similar work done. Once you have a list of contractors ask each of them the following:

  • Do you provide references from previous clients?
  • Is there a charge for providing an estimate?
  • How much time will the project take, and is the end date guaranteed?
  • During what hours do you work?
  • Do you offer a warranty on your work? If so, what are the terms?
  • Do you work specifically with one brand of replacement windows or other products?
  • What all is included in the estimate (painting, clean-up, etc.)?
  • How long have you been in the glass replacement or window repair business?
  • Can I pay in installments?
  • Do you carry liability insurance?
  • Will you be doing the work by yourself or do you subcontract some, or all, of the work?

After the pre-screening stage you can move confidently toward obtaining estimates for the work to be done. Having a contractor you can trust replace your windows means minimal disruption in your life while the work is being done and no unpleasant surprises once the job is complete. Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions until you feel sure about your choice.

Benefits of Installed Vinyl Windows – Three Reasons Why You Should Replace Your Wood Aluminum Windows

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
installed vinyl windows

Installing Vinyl Windows

Your home’s windows are a lot more important than you might think. Windows aren’t just there to bring light into your home and to allow you to see outside. They should also help you keep heat in your home, for example. But, for many of us our older wood or aluminum windows are, to be frank, a bit of an eyesore and they may actually be costing us money. So, how would vinyl replacement windows help you here?

1. Increase your home insulation: If your windows are made of wood or aluminum then, as they get older, they will start to degrade. Wood windows, for example, can warp and crack leaving plenty of room for heat to escape from your home and for cold air to come in. Aluminum windows can have very similar effects. The metal here is not designed to act as insulator and, once again, you may find that these windows are not an effective barrier. This is not a problem with vinyl windows which are far more durable over time than wood and that are more of a natural insulation solution than aluminum. This is also a much more environmentally friendly solution.

2. Give you less work to do: If you already have wood or aluminum windows then you probably realize how much work is involved with keeping them in good shape. Both wood and aluminum will need regular maintenance work as they get older. Wood can, for example, pick up mold problems and may need repairs and aluminum windows can rust or suffer from pitting problems. In both cases you might end up repainting your windows regularly to keep them in an acceptable condition. Vinyl windows need hardly any maintenance (apart from the occasional wash), last for longer periods and do not need to be painted.

3. Save you money: Putting in vinyl replacement windows may cost you money but it will also go some way to saving you money as well. Windows that let heat out are a drain on your wallet. Vinyl windows will simply act as an effective barrier to keep the heat that you pay for in your home. With vinyl replacement windows you also won’t need to pay for repair and maintenance costs and you won’t need to have them painted regularly.

Window Lighting Options

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

window-lightsMost people think of natural light when they consider brightening up a room with a window. But you lose this light source after dark. At night, window lighting can be used to simulate daytime illumination. The illusion of daylight on the interior space can be transformative. It offers a very different visual effect than traditional overhead lighting. From the exterior, the indirect lighting can be highly decorative at the same time making window lighting dual purpose.

Warm, full spectrum LED or fluorescent light around a window is just one option. You can choose any color to enhance the interior décor or mark a particular holiday with window perimeter lights. Rope lighting can be added along all four sides, the top, or just the window sill. Or, small lamps can be added at the corners. Button lights such as those typically installed under cabinets in the kitchen could be used for window sill lighting in some situations.

Window lights can also be directed toward the outside perimeter of the home for security reasons. These make it difficult for anyone to approach the window without being noticed. Burglars tend to shy away from well lit areas at night and look for easier targets.

Drapes, curtains, shades, blinds or any other window treatments can be accented with well placed lighting. In fact, light itself can be a window treatment. This is especially true for windows around a sunroom at night. The light reflections off the glass can give a mirrored effect to the room and make it seem much less gloomy.

Bathroom Skylight Overview

Friday, December 17th, 2010

bathroom-skylightNatural lighting for bathrooms can come from two different sources. The first is a window in an exterior wall. The alternative is a skylight. These can look like a window in the ceiling; or they can be a bit more inconspicuous, such as a solar tube.

It’s often simply inconvenient to have a normal window in the bathroom. It takes up too much wall space that can be used for other things such storage, mirrors, etc. For a bathroom that is centrally located, a window isn’t an option at all. In contrast, skylights are out of the way and do not require an exterior wall.

Some people suggest installing skylights with venting units that can be opened to increase airflow and reduce humidity in the bathroom. Often, such systems are inconvenient to operate. They simply don’t get opened nearly as often as they should. A completely sealed, fixed skylight unit is usually a better choice. A separate vent fan unit should be installed to control the ventilation in the bathroom properly.

Additional Considerations in Skylight Selection

If a roof has load bearing trusses in the area over the bathroom, a large skylight can be a significant problem to install. While conventional rafters can be adjusted, trusses should be left alone. An improper redistribution of the loads could cause the roof to eventually warp or even collapse. A possible solution to avoid this is to install several small skylights instead of just a single large one.

Tubular skylights can be more efficient at capturing the sunlight from any angle and diverting it into an interior bathroom. They’re typically easier to install than rectangular types and will fit into most tight spaces.

Don’t buy the cheapest brand. Over several years seals can break. Condensation can build up on the glass. Rain can seep into an already humid environment. It’s best to buy a brand with a lengthy warranty that is durable enough to last for most of the lifetime of the house.