4 Factors To Consider When Choosing Replacement Windows

You can often fix drafty windows by simply adding more caulking or weatherstripping around their edges. However, there will come a time when your windows have worn to the point that you have no other option than to replace them. Here are four factors you should consider when you are looking for replacement windows.

Glass Types

Not all window glass is created equal. There are several different types of glass to choose from, and each type has unique benefits. If you are looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, you should consider low-e, or low-emissivity, glass.

Low-e glass is coated with a thin layer of tin oxide or silver that improves the insulative properties of the window. These windows are excellent options if there are very warm summers where you live, as they will block more of the sun's thermal radiation and allow you to run your air conditioner less frequently.

Tempered safety glass is another option if you want windows that would not shatter into dangerous shards if they were broken. Many states' building codes require tempered safety glass in any windows that are installed in doors or within 60 inches of a standing surface in your bathroom.

Number of Panes

Single-pane windows are rarely seen in modern homes, with most opting for at least double-pane windows. Double-pane windows have a pocket of argon or krypton gas between the panes, allowing them to absorb more thermal energy and keep your home cooler.

For maximum thermal absorption, you could choose triple-pane windows. With two pockets of insulative gas, triple-pane windows are even more effective at keeping heat out of your home than double-pane windows. They will easily pay for their higher initial cost with reduced heating and cooling bills over time.

Frame Materials

Replacement window frames are not merely an aesthetic choice. The frames of your replacement windows can have just as much of an impact on their energy efficiency as the glass they use.

While aluminum window frames used to be a popular option for their durability and easy installation, they have fallen out of favor. Their insulative capabilities are not up to par with other modern options, and they are prone to condensation that can facilitate mold growth.

Wood and vinyl are two of the most popular window frame materials that are available today. Both types are highly insulative, although wood frames will require occasional scraping, painting, and sealing to prevent rot. Vinyl, while slightly less insulative than wood, requires virtually no maintenance after it is installed.

For a material that combines the rustic appearance and insulative properties of wood with the durability and low-maintenance of vinyl, composite fibrex window frames may be an excellent option for you.

Efficiency Ratings

The efficiency of replacement windows is rated using two primary metrics: the solar heat gain coefficient, and the U-factor. Solar heat gain coefficient describes the percentage of the sun's radiation that is able to pass through the window into your home. A low value means that your windows will be more effective at keeping heat out during the summer.

U-factor is the rating of a window's insulative ability as a ratio of BTUs over time. The lower the U-factor of your replacement windows, the more heat the windows will be able to keep inside your home. Windows with low U-factors will keep your home warmer in the winter.

With the many different window replacement options that are on the market, you can always find the perfect windows to meet your home's needs. Keep these factors in mind when shopping for replacement windows and a contractor, like New Jersey Siding & Windows Inc, so you can choose the best type to reduce your heating and cooling bill.