5 Tips For Selecting Replacement Windows
Many of the older homes in San Francisco and the Bay Area tend to have energy inefficient windows that are of poor quality or just don’t perform like they used to. Homeowners try to improve the efficiency of their windows in numerous ways such as applying reflective films on the glass or taping clear plastic film to the inside of their window frames to reduce drafts. These methods might help reduce the inefficiency of older windows but in the long run, it is more cost-effective to replace them. Selecting replacement windows means choosing energy-efficient replacement windows, like those installed by Armstrong, that can minimize your heating, cooling and lighting cost. What’s more replacement windows according to ISoldMyHouse.com, as reported on CNBC, are a great investment. They have estimated that a $10,000 expenditure on new vinyl windows can increase an asking price on a house about $8,500, for a substantial 85 percent Return-on-Investment!
Tip 1: Choose Quality over Cost
Low-cost replacement windows may seem attractive, especially if you are on a limited budget, but you need to consider the fact that in the long term this choice may be much more costly. Low-cost usually means low energy-efficiency rating and underperforming windows. Unfortunately, by the time you realize that these low-cost windows are not performing as they should and you start noticing drafts, condensation or rooms that overheat in summer, it will be too late. Most people then turn to upgrading their heating and cooling systems which will cost them much more than if they had chosen good quality windows!
Tip 2: Select the Proper Operating System
It’s important aesthetically to choose the style of window that suits your home. For example, you can choose from a variety of operating systems such as double-hung, casement, sliding, tilt-and-turn, and the list goes on. However, you need to consider how the windows operate, because some operating types have lower air leakage rates than others, which will, in turn, improve your home’s energy efficiency. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the air seal around the window you are considering buying.
Window designs which swing outward or inward, such as casements, awnings, and tilt-and-turns, are pushed or pulled tightly against their weatherstripping when locked. Consequently, their energy-efficiency is naturally higher than windows that slide, either sideways or vertically, such as single- and double-hung. However, if you believe that double-hung windows are more appropriate for your home’s design then you should consider adding some windows that swing instead of slide to improve your energy efficiency.
Tip 3: Consider the Window Frame Construction
You need to take into account the materials used to construct the frame and how it is put together. For example, Armstrong Select Window & Patio Door Systems vinyl frames are constructed using Multi-chambered fusion welded and sealed frame technology which leaves no gaps,
cracks or spaces from which water can seep through. This manufacturing process provides superior frame integrity and ensures better performance than conventional combination windows in water and air tests.
In addition, fiberglass windows, such as the Infinity® from Marvin line which is exclusive to Armstrong, have superior weatherization and insulation properties when compared to alternative materials. This makes them ideal for homes built in harsh weather locations and for those who consider energy efficiency a priority. Fiberglass’ low conductivity also means that it is the best insulator among window-frame materials and it shrinks and expands at the same rate as glass, making its air-seals as durable as the rest of the unit.
Tip 4: Remember that Not All Glass is the Same
The glass or glazing, as the professionals call it, has a great impact on energy efficiency, safety/security and even the convenience provided by your replacement windows. Nowadays, two-pane insulated glass units are standard. Two-pane has helped significantly reduced the U-Factor or the amount of heat or cold a window lets through. Also, by adding inexpensive low-emissivity coatings and argon gas between the panes can take a two-pane window up to a U-Factor of 0.3, which will meet the Energy Star standards for all regions.
Armstrong Select Windows offer one of the most comprehensive list features found anywhere. For example, our replacement windows include double strength glass, as in commercially rated windows, for extra safety and security. We also included High-Performance Spectrally Selective Glass which has high transmission of visible light but low transmission of solar gains, hence they have lower cooling loads and increase natural lighting. Another popular feature is Neat or Sun Clean™ Easy Cleaning Glass for easier cleaning (for more information read our post on Self-Cleaning Glass). Additionally, our windows feature Super Spacer® technology for additional energy efficiency. Typical windows use a highly conductive metal spacer bar to hold the two panes of glass apart, which can transfer heat from inside to the outside. Super Spacer® is a non-metal, pre-desiccated, structural foam spacer system which provides excellent perimeter insulation for sealed glazing units.
Tip 5: Consider Durability and Warranty
When you finally decide to purchase your replacement windows, you will be informed by the retailer/manufacturer that they have been rated by the The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC is a non-profit organization which provides consumers energy performance ratings and other useful information about windows, doors, and skylights in order to help them compare products and make informed purchase decisions. What you are not told though is that the NFRC does not rate durability. Naturally, if the replacement windows you invest in are not durable then their performance will not last and you’ll end up with rotting frames and sticking windows and additional things to repair. With today’s technology, it is not unreasonable to expect to find windows that are energy efficient, perform well and stand up to all weather conditions for decades. That’s why all Armstrong Select Windows come with a Limited Lifetime Manufacturer’s Warranty and are specifically manufactured to meet Armstrong’s specifications as well as the recommendations of our customers.
For more information about selecting replacement windows and the incredible features offered by Armstrong Select Window & Patio Door System, you can book a consultation with your Armstrong field representative who will recommend the features suitable for your home.