Your windows are one of the most important parts of your Minneapolis home, both in appearance and functionality. Replacing your windows is one of the best investments that you can make, as almost 70% of all energy efficiency of your home is lost through your windows. Part of the contributing factors for the efficiency loss is the poor performance of the commonly used framing material.
Wood frames are one of the most common household window framing materials, and they are much less efficient at preventing heat transfer from the outside than vinyl frames. Vinyl frames are much more energy efficient than pretty much every other frame available on the market. Furthermore, they can be used on more parts of the house as well, such as door frames, which further increases overall energy efficiency.
FAQs about Vinyl Windows
What are vinyl windows constructed from?
Vinyl windows are constructed out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This is a type of hard plastic that is commonly used in piping. PVC is exceptionally weather resistant and practically erosion free, while also holding together with binding agents very well. You don’t have to worry about these frames getting damaged by the weather or water that hits them.
What are the benefits of vinyl windows?
The main benefit of vinyl over other materials is the increased resistance to heat transfer. Vinyl offers much greater loss of energy efficiency through its resistance to heat and its ease of sealing to other material. They also require much less maintenance over other materials. Since the material itself is the color ordered, you don’t have to worry about scraping any paint off. And, with a plastic material, you don’t have to worry about wood rot that most common households have to deal with.
How do vinyl windows compare to other materials?
Vinyl windows are considerably cheaper than other material types, but that doesn’t mean their quality is any lower. In fact, they are more durable than most other materials in intense heat, humidity, and other harsh weather conditions. You don’t have to deal with expanding, rotting, or soggy frames when you use vinyl. The lower cost of vinyl frames comes from their material. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the material that vinyl is made of, is readily available and can easily be made into the necessary shape right off the bat, making it easy to manufacture.
What styles of vinyl windows are available?
Pretty much every style of home or commercial building in Minneapolis can make use of vinyl windows. Even doors commonly make use of vinyl designs. The material is extremely durable under weather conditions and easily moldable into any shape, making almost all window options possible.
Some of the most common vinyl windows are:
- Double-Hung Windows
- Sliding Windows
- Awning & Casement Windows
- Bow & Bay Windows
- Custom Shape Windows
- Patio Doors
What is an NFRC rating, and why does it matter?
NFRC is a measurement label that tells you have efficient a window is. NFRC-certified products are tested independently and give you the individual products performance. As opposed to Energy Star ratings that tell you only if the product is energy efficient, the NFRC ratings break down that efficiency to be more readable and more in-depth compared to other ratings.
The NFRC uses four difference factors for verifying the efficiency of their windows:
- U-Factor measures how well a product can prevent inside air from escaping. Lower numbers indicate a better function at keeping the heat in or cool air out, ranging from 0.20-1.20.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) which measures how well a window can protect gains unwanted heat gain. This is especially important during summer and winter months. Lower numbers, ranging from 0-1, mean a better SHGC rating.
- Visible Transmittance rating is a measurement governing how well the window will let natural light pass through it. The higher the number between 0-1, the more natural light the window will allow through.
- Air Leakage is the final test that measures how much air will escape the room through a window. The range is anything <= 0.3, where lower numbers indicate less air leakage.
How do I maintain vinyl windows?
There is very little maintenance that is required for vinyl windows in comparison to other material. Where most material would need to be repainted and cleaned of rot or humidity during one section of the year, vinyl hardly needs to be managed at all.
How do I know if I need a window replacement?
There are four things to watch out for when you are looking at replacing your windows:
- Noise or drafts. If you hear noise or feel a draft coming from your window, it means that there is air coming in from the outside or escaping from the inside. This is extremely energy consuming and is a telling sign of a window in desperate need of replacement.
- Damaged frames. This includes being soft, chipped, or water damaged. A damaged frame is just as bad and can lead to drafts or cracks in the window pane later on. A frame that is soft to the touch is likely beyond repair and will need to be replaced.
- Difficult to open, close, or lock. If your window was not installed correctly it can lead to problems such as difficulty opening, closing, or locking. You will likely need to get it replaced in order to fix these issues before they degrade further and prevent the use of the window all-together.
- Condensation between panes or cracks in the window means that it isn’t sealed up properly anymore, and the weather from the outside is starting to affect the window. You need to get new glass in order to fix and properly seal up the holes that were cause over time or through improper installation.
Always Choose an Expert
Whenever you look at replacing your windows, always choose an expert. Vinyl window frames are some of the best you can get, so it makes sense to upgrade to them if you are looking forward to making your Minneapolis home more efficient and usable. But don’t hire blindly—always make sure that the person you’re trusting to install your window is experienced and knows what they are doing to prevent future lasting problems.