Windows Buying Guide
Buying New Windows?
When you begin the search for new windows, you will find that there is a wide selection of styles, prices, and options to consider. But with the wide selection of windows, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of which windows are best for you. Here is what you need to know in order to make that decision a little easier.
Energy Efficiency is Key
A key feature of any new window is how energy efficient it is. Consumers have voiced their opinions on wanting windows that are energy efficient and manufacturers have listened. Windows that feature low-E coatings and argon-filled glazing are becoming more and more common.
But energy efficiency is something you need to be cautious about. Some types of windows have claimed to be energy efficient, but they truly are not as good as they claim. Knowing the good from the bad can be difficult, you can verify the efficiency by verifying whether or not the window meets the performance level that has been created by the government in the Energy Star Program. If the window meets the levels, it will have an energy star label.
What About the Cost?
The cost of a window will depend on the type of window you choose. If you choose a 3X4 foot double hung window made of white vinyl with glass that is insulated and has a low-E coating, then you will probably pay around $150 at a home improvement store. If you upgrade to a better efficiency window, such as one that is argon-filled glazing, your price could possibly double. The more options and specialty coatings that are added to the window, the higher the price goes.
What You Need to Know About Vinyl
Out of all of the different types of windows on the market, vinyl windows make up about 67 percent of windows sold for residential use. Vinyl is a low cost option that is reliable, durable, and energy efficient. Vinyl is not affected by insects or moisture, does not rot, and is basically indestructible.
The vinyl material makes a good insulator and is extremely strong. The strength of the material allows for the sash to be left hollow, without affecting the quality of the window. This hollow area allows for additional insulation. Vinyl windows are also lightweight, making them relatively ease to install.
Going Back in Time
The standard windows are typically double-hung and casements, but so many homeowners are opting for styles that are bit different.
Jalousie windows, also referred to as louvered windows, feature slats of glass that open and close at the same time. They look similar to shutters, but their multiple panes cause a challenge in getting them to seal properly when closed. This type of window is better used in climates that are mild.
Awning windows swing out from the bottom with the hinge being at the top. These windows are great to open in order to let in fresh air while being protected from the elements outside. This type of window was big back in the 1950s and 60s and have started to make a comeback for their stylish look.
Block windows are separate blocks of glass that are sealed together and put into a frame. These windows can either be fixed or can be operated in a casement or awning type window.
Cool Window Options
Windows that are sensitive to sunlight and temperature take energy efficiency to another level. When it is hot outside, the windows will automatically darken in order to reduce the amount of heat getting in through them. When it is cold outside the window will remain clear in order to allow sun in to help warm the home. This type of window is not on the residential window market at this time.
Titanium-dioxide coatings on windows are said to help reduce water from pooling in any area of the window reducing rain droplets from drying on the glass. This helps to reduce the need to clean the windows.
Tilt-and-turn windows may soon be coming to the US market, being a popular window in Europe now. These windows allow you to open them two different ways. You can either open them like an awning window or horizontally. This offers great flexibility in design as well as ease of cleaning.
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