What You Need to Know When Window Shopping
Your home is in desperate need of some new windows. All you’ve got to do is find a reputable window company to replace the old, dysfunctional ones, and you’re good to go, right? Not exactly. Windows are their own beasts, and you’ll come to find that an entire world of terminology, window material, functionality, and energy efficiency becomes a need-to-know necessity when you go out for window shopping for new ones.
A Breakdown of Window Features
Windows have several features that need to be considered before you purchase replacements or new units. There are several attributes that windows are comprised of, and educating yourself on them can help you toward finding the window that’s the best fit for your home.
Windows come in an array of shapes and sizes and the same is true in the materials they’re manufactured from. Wood-framed windows hold an unrivaled natural beauty and have surprisingly good insulation, but come with the price of being heavy, pricey, and high-maintenance.
The industry turned to vinyl frames, a material that does insulate well and has no need for painting and little upkeep. When window shopping, the material is certainly going to be a factor for both maintenance, price, and insulation.
Aside from their material, the most obvious feature you’ll notice about replacement windows is their physical style. Windows can be single-hung, double-hung, casement, awning, sliding, picture, and the list goes on. Single and double-hung windows are perhaps the most common as they can open and close, making them a standard in most households.
When you’re looking at getting new windows, you’ll want to keep the style in mind not just for architectural purposes, but to consider how well the windows will insulate your home. Windows that open and close will have less insulating efficiency than one that is sealed shut, like a casement window.
If you do opt for double or single-hung windows, make sure you read up on insulating features that help compensate for their functionality.
Glazing and Glass Coatings
In the vein of insulating features, there are glazing and glass coatings that new windows have to help provide the best insulation possible for your home. These new technologies help with light quality, prevent the formation of condensation, and allow the windows to perform with optimal energy efficiency.
You’ll find this feature describe as a low-emissivity or low-e coating. When window shopping, look for these coatings advertised on new windows as it will save energy in your home and on your energy bills.
On the hunt for new windows will bring you face to face with the National Fenestration Rating Council’s window label. This is a sticker on windows that helps you compare windows and identifies factors like their energy performance, heat-blocking abilities, and condensation resistance.
This helpful label will have ratings like:
- U-factor: This number (ranges 0.2-1.0) shows how well a window prevents heat loss. For cold climates, you’ll want to look for a low u-factor rating.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): A rating for how much heat from the sun is let in through the window. In warmer climates, you’ll want to be searching for a low SHGH number. It can range anywhere from 0-1.
- Visible Transmittance: A rating of how well the window lets the sun’s light in, ranging from 0-1.
- Air Leakage: This number signifies how much outside air will breeze in through the window. The closer the rating is to 0.1, the higher the chance your windows are drafty.
- Condensation Resistance: As the name suggests, this rating is how much the window will block condensation. The rating ranges from 1-100, and the higher the number is, the better the window is at blocking condensation.
Price Versus Functionality
Windows are a big investment, especially if you’re stuck with an older home with old windows. It befalls on you, the new homeowner, to replace the windows to energy-efficient ones, as it will save energy, save you money, and increase the value of your home.
However, many homeowners quickly become attracted to the lowest price, the cheapest option. This will ultimately fall short in what they actually want from new windows. Sometimes, the cheap single-paned windows with little-to-no energy efficiency features and ratings are in reality, less energy efficient and less insulating than their more premium double-paned counterparts. Windows should be an upgrade and if it’s an investment you’re undertaking, you need to make it worth the expense.
It all comes around to understanding the features that make up the anatomy of a window. The material it’s made out of, the style, the energy efficiency technology, and the label that brings it all into one, readable series of ratings, are all essential qualities to look out for when shopping around for windows. Overall, all of that will do more than replace old windows, it will make your home insulated and appealing.
Smart Window Shopping Starts Here
Now that you understand the premium window features and window labels, it’s time to look for window companies. You want to go with a window company that offers great products, services, and installation. At Feldco, we have high-quality windows that pass the test for energy-efficiency, air leakage, u-factor, condensation resistance, and SHGC.
That’s why over 400,000 homeowners trust Feldco for their products. We have great support and services to guide customers through the window replacement process. We value the importance of keeping our customers delighted and we deliver on that promise by helping customers with all the questions they may have about their windows.
Lastly, we have factory trained installers that have the expertise and skills to measure and install windows. Overall, your windows are a home improvement investment and Feldco will provide you with great products, services, and professional installation. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.