Many homeowners encounter problems with their windows that require replacement. Sometimes windows sustain acute damage and break while others simply wear out over time, eventually leaking and driving up energy costs for the home. If you think it’s time to replace the windows in your home, you should know the differences between the best types of new windows available and make an informed purchase for your replacements. Different types of windows can not only change the aesthetics of your home but also provide functional benefits.
Start Your Search for New Windows with Research on Your Home
To get maximum value out of your new windows, choose new windows that address your home’s specific problems with heat transmission and airflow. Depending on the orientation of your home, the amount of sun exposure it receives on a daily basis, the climate in your area, elevation, and various other factors, different types of windows will offer various benefits.
Hire a professional to conduct a thorough audit of your home’s thermal transmission problems. For example, you may think that your current issues are due to ineffective windows when in reality the problem is insulation or sealant related. A professional evaluation can help you determine the root cause behind excessive energy consumption and inconsistent temperatures. It’s also worth having a heating and air conditioning technician inspect your heating and cooling systems; if you’re going to invest in new windows to maximize energy efficiency you should start by knowing your heating and cooling systems are in top condition.
If your home research determines that your current windows are unsafe, inefficient or only have single-pane glass and temperature conductive frames and sashes, upgrading to new windows will probably yield favorable results.
Choosing the Right Windows
Consider four main factors when selecting the new windows you’ll have installed in your home:
● Window frames. You can find window frames made of all types of materials including wood, wood-clod, vinyl, fiberglass, composite wood, and aluminum. While wood does not conduct temperature as easily as metal, this does not always mean that wood will be the most energy-efficient option for every home. Vinyl window frames are typically limited in terms of color choices, but they are affordable and functional. Aluminum frames are perfect for coastal locations where humidity, rainfall, and moisture are prevalent concerns for homeowners. Take time to evaluate your window frame options and choose frames that suit your needs, budget, and taste.
● Window glass. Low-E, argon filled, vacuum sealed double-pane windows are the standard choice for window panes in the United States. While more complex styles like triple-pane windows and glass panes filled with denser gasses may seem like they offer better performance, most window installation professionals note that these windows typically offer diminishing returns when it comes to energy efficiency. Triple-pane windows may be suitable in particularly harsh climates, but most homes will get the best value from standard Low-E double paned windows filled with argon.
● Design. Windows come in all different shapes and sizes. You may be replacing standard rectangular windows, but that does not mean you are locked into buying replacement rectangular windows. While you have many options available, remember that windows that don’t open, half-moon windows, and circular windows typically do not offer the best performance when it comes to energy efficiency. These windows may look great from an aesthetic perspective, but they could ultimately drive up your energy costs after being quite expensive to install.
● Installation. It doesn’t matter if you purchase the most highly advanced, cutting-edge windows available if the team you hire to install them does a poor job of it. Installation is one of the most important parts of replacing your new windows, so take the time to find a reliable and experienced contractor with a solid track record of successful window replacement jobs.
Now that you understand the four basic elements of choosing new windows you can start deciding which type of new windows would work best in your home.
The standard choice throughout the US is double-hung windows. These windows consist of two sashes arranged vertically, and they open by either sliding the bottom sash upward or the top sash downward. These can be highly effective at maintaining energy efficiency in your home, but there is a small chance of outside air seeping in from between the two sashes.
Casement windows are a great choice if you live in a windy climate. These windows open horizontally the way a door swings open using a crank mechanism. When wind blows directly toward the house, casement windows actually seal themselves more tightly. If your area experiences lots of stormy weather, casement windows can help you keep moisture and cold air out of your home.
Picture windows do not open, but they can offer great performance when it comes to lighting and energy efficiency. Picture windows are perfect if you want to add windows to your home above or next to your opening windows.
Aesthetic Touches and Maximizing Energy Efficiency
Once you find the right contractor to install your new windows you can put the finishing touches on them to complete the upgrade. Window casings not only hide the sealant surrounding your new window frames and even out the new installations, but also create pleasing aesthetic effects throughout your home and create tight seals that prevent outside air from entering. Choose windows that fit your interior and exterior color schemes but focus on performance over aesthetics.
Things like curtains, shutters, and blinds are more than aesthetic choices; they also help with lighting, heat transfer, and the energy efficiency of your home. Choose a window covering that suits your aesthetic tastes but remember to check performance. Different types of blinds offer varying levels of performance, and you can find curtains that not only allow you to control the amount of light that enters your home, but also helps to keep your home insulated.
Choosing new windows can feel like a complex process and it sometimes is, but the effort will be well worth it if you take time to research window manufacturers and consult with a professional to determine your home’s energy concerns and environmental vulnerabilities. If you take time to find a reliable and experienced contractor to thoroughly evaluate your home and perform professional installations, your window replacement project could come together much more quickly than you might expect.