How to Choose the Right Home Replacement Windows
Count total cost
Though the right replacement windows will enhance view, lighting, ventilation, comfort and curbside appeal, the wrong windows, thermally speaking, can be like holes in your walls letting out costly winter heat and summer air conditioning.
Traditional single and even double pane windows will not adequately stop the flow of heating and cooling dollars out your windows, and clear glass windows will not satisfactorily keep out the heat from direct or indirect sunlight. This can multiply your total cost of ownership, especially in regions with seasonal extremes. According to the government Energy Star website, which promotes energy efficiency among U.S. consumers and businesses, â€œTwenty years ago, double-paned meant energy efficient; today, advanced technologies have enabled the development of windows that are much more efficient than traditional clear-glass double-paned windows.â€
One energy-efficient window technology, for instance, can cut the total cost of your windows by using a triple-paned design with high-tech thermal spacers between each pane of glass. Keeping unwanted heat or cold from radiating in and costly cooling or heating from radiating out, the triple-paned design can greatly reduce your homeowner utility bills. Offered by Pennsylvania-based manufacturer, Winchester Industries, its multiple Low-E layers on two of the three panes reflects more heat than the single Low-E layer on â€œso-calledâ€ energy-efficient, double-paned windows.
â€œBecause the triple-paned windows are so thermally efficient, thereâ€™s no need to fiddle with the thermostat in winter or summer,â€ says John Simon, who uses the energy-efficient windows in his 2,700-sq.-foot home against winters as cold as -15Â° F. â€œOnce the thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature, I donâ€™t have to touch it all year long.â€
According to Simon, the triple-paned windows have cut his familyâ€™s heating and cooling bills in half. â€œWe save on our heating and cooling costs and are protected from spikes in energy cost. Weâ€™re comfortable and can finally enjoy our home year-round.â€
Choose ease of maintenance
While most windows look great the day theyâ€™re installed, the wear and tear of temperature extremes, sun, wind, rain, and snow soon leave many faded, discolored, chipped, cracked, warped or in otherwise unsightly disrepair. Over time wood degrades, aluminum corrodes, and all-vinyl materials lose shape. Low quality windows become difficult to open and even more difficult to clean. Scraping, sanding, puttying, repainting, and other maintenance tasks become necessary, or are delayed until windows that once beautified become aesthetic, financial sinkholes.
To protect the beauty and comfort of your home and your family, not to mention your wallet and weekend, you may find that switching from traditional wood, aluminum, and all-vinyl windows to state-of-the-art, dual-frame triple-paned units will keep your windows looking â€œas good as newâ€ and operating â€œmaintenance-freeâ€ decades after installation.
Some triple-paned, replacement windows, for instance, feature a vinyl clad frame that combines the aesthetics of a durable, vinyl coating over a strong aluminum core. This not only prevents corrosion, but also resists losing shape.
Because windows are meant to be opened and must be cleaned to keep their aesthetics, youâ€™d be wise to put ease of opening and cleaning, not to mention a strong warranty high on your â€œmust haveâ€ list before purchase. A unique slider design, for instance, makes some triple paned units such as Bristolâ€™s Swing Nâ€™ Slide Windows capable of swinging in for cleaning, or sliding open and shut for ventilation, controlled by a single lift handle made of a strong, durable material developed for NASA. A 50-year transferable warranty on the windowsâ€™ glass with a 3-year breakage clause, a written energy savings pledge, and a home security guaranty can also provide homeowners added comfort.
â€œI can clean both sides of the windows without going outside or leaving the room,â€ explains Natalea Kandefer of Buffalo, New York, who chose the triple-paned replacement windows in part for their ability to tilt-in both top and bottom sashes.
â€œThe windows are guaranteed for as long as weâ€™ll need them,â€ adds Sandy Clark, who uses the triple-paned windows in her Lima, Ohio ranch-style house. â€œAnd if we sell, the next owners would be covered under warranty. Thatâ€™s a real plus for resale value and gives us peace of mind.â€
Find your aesthetic match
Because thereâ€™s so many different homebuilders and designs with few common standards, thereâ€™s no such thing as a standard window opening. Thatâ€™s why any stock or off-the-shelf replacement window wonâ€™t be optimally sized for your home and probably wonâ€™t match your existing decor, color, or trim. Thatâ€™s why youâ€™ll probably rack up extra installation expenses such as drywall patches required to fit a stock window to an existing window opening.
When replacement windows are measured, ordered, and made to size, they can perfectly match your existing window openings and home decor, even to the point of providing continuous headers and sills for side-by-side windows.
Since factors such as home location, weather, layout, and intended use can all affect choosing the right window, getting professional advice can be a good idea. A good installer, for instance, could help you decide when a bay window, which provides better light and view, would make sense over a window flush with the building line, such as a picture window. Or when a casement window, which cranks open a full 90-degrees outward can give a better, more unobstructed sight line.
When Kathleen Strachan chose made-to-order, triple-paned replacement windows for her ranch style home in Eden, New York, she found a number of advantages. For instance, the triple-paned, replacement window design with high-tech thermal spacers between each pane of glass can minimize the temperature differences that cause energy-loss, window fogging and moisture condensation. As Strachan found the windows complemented the look of her home, she had them professionally installed. She chose a decorative, colonial style-grid pattern for an upstairs picture window overlooking an acre of backyard.
â€œThe house looks 100 percent better, and I have a crystal clear view through my windows no matter what the weather,â€ says Strachan. â€œThereâ€™s no fogging or condensation, so I can see the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall leaves and even snowflakes.â€
So remember that by considering long-term cost, ease of maintenance and aesthetic match, youâ€™ll not only avoid buyerâ€™s remorse but also achieve lasting satisfaction and savings with the right replacement windows for your home.
A complete selection of aesthetic, energy-efficient, virtually maintenance-free, triple-paned, replacement windows by Winchester Industries are sold nationwide under the names of Bristol and Oxford via exclusive retail dealers. For best results, energy savings and comfort, these windows must be professionally installed. The company is looking for new dealers in certain U.S. regions to round out their national presence.
For more info, visit the website www.winchesterwindows.net; call 724-639-3551;
Email: [email protected]; or write to Winchester Industries at PO Box 160, 500 Leech Ave, Saltsburg, PA 15681.
By Del Williams - a technical writer based in Torrance, California.
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