By December 5, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

4 Key Considerations When Shopping for Home Windows

Most homeowners don’t shop for windows that often. In fact, replacing home windows is not something you look forward to. You may rather shop for home furniture or flooring materials. But shopping for windows should not be taken lightly. Casement windows

First of all, new windows contribute to the appearance of any home and can upgrade the value of your home.

What’s more, a new window may be critical for sealing leaks where air and noise from the outside come in.

If you need to buy new windows or replace the ones you currently have, there are four things you need to consider.

1. Mechanism and Ease of Use

When buying windows, make sure that they are easy to operate regardless of what type of window it is.

Check to see if the hinges and latches work well. For hinged windows, open and close the windows several times to see if the hinges operate smoothly and don’t overextend.

If you are considering sliding windows, slide the sashes up and down to check if they do so smoothly. Open the window up then lock the sashes in place to make sure the locks securely hold the sashes.

In addition, you also need to consider how well-built the windows are. Before shopping, do a Google search on the window manufacturer. Also, ask the salesperson about the reputation of the manufacturer. After all, you want the windows you are thinking of buying to last for years, not malfunction after just a few months of use.

2. Energy Efficiency

Whether you are shopping for windows for your new home or for your home renovation project, you must not forget the benefits of energy efficient home windows.

Despite the fact that buying a more energy efficient window can cost you more initially, keep in mind that this investment will reap rewards over time as you can save money on your energy bills. Remember that windows account for at least 30% of heat loss at home, and this underscores the need for you to buy energy efficient windows.

The insulating performance of windows is defined by the U-factor, or the rate by which the windows conduct non-solar heat flow. Basically, look for a window with a low-U factor. The lower the U-factor, the better the window is in insulating a room.

You can also look at the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) rating, which the fraction of solar radiation that goes through the window and warms the home interior. Low SHGC means less heat from the sun is transmitted to the home. A window with a low SHGC helps reduce the need for cooling in the summer. A window with a high SHGC is better for keeping your home warmer in the winter. The optimal SHGC rating is determined by the climate you live in and the location and shading of your home.  multiple pane home window

That said, multiple-pane glazed windows are considered more energy efficient than single-glazed units. Multiple-pane glazed units have two or more layers of glass that provides better thermal resistance.  Read 4 Types of Home Window Glass for more information.


3. Maintenance

Although you will eventually be conducting routine window maintenance, there are certain home windows that need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Wood windows, for instance, are notorious for being high maintenance. Although highly customizable and fashionable even after decades, wood requires a lot of maintenance as it can decay easily in damp climate. It can also become discolored and faded over time.

Other window materials, such as vinyl, don’t require cleaning and maintenance for days and even weeks. This is one consideration you really need to think about before making a decision.

For more information, read Tips for Maintaining Your Home Windows.

4. Cost

The actual cost of a new window will depend on the size and type of window as well as the type of glass used. To determine cost, measure the size of the window, then make decisions about the type of frame and the type of glass you want to use.

For example, a single hung window, with aluminum frame and single pane window glass can be found for under $100. On the other hand, a double hung wooden window can be over $500.

You also need to consider the cost of installation. Will you pay an installer to put the window in or are you handy enough to do it yourself?

Although it pays to invest in energy efficient windows, buying such can also be very costly. If you cannot afford to buy this type of home window, you have other options for getting the benefits of energy efficiency.

You can opt for storm windows that can provide sufficient thermal efficiency. You can weatherstrip and caulk your windows to reduce air leakage. Finally, you may also want to use window treatments, such as drapery, to make your windows more efficient.

Shopping for home windows may not be the easiest thing to do. However, if you keep in mind these four elements before buying windows, you will have better chances of finding windows that will not only complement the design of your home, but will also give you significant savings and convenience in the long run.

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