Patio Windows - Energy Efficiency and Durability

August 09, 2010

American homes built in the last half of the 20th Century were made to invite the warmth of nature and sunlight into living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and dens. We love having a view. But many patio windows of the bygone era had metal frames that drew cold temperatures into the home and were prey to condensation and corrosion. Old-school, leaky frames and single-pane patio windows are--sad to say--absolute energy hogs.

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In response to the gas crisis of the late 1970s, the door and window industry created The National Fenestration Research Council (NFRC) to standardize energy ratings and police manufacturer's claims about their products. Consequently, you'll find the NFRC label on all new windows on the market.

Be sure to evaluate patio window grading before choosing your replacement windows. The NFRC website offers visitors a straightforward presentation on performance ratings for replacement windows.

New Patio Windows Bring in Light and Keep Out the Weather

Are you ready to buy new replacement windows? If your existing patio windows can't fight nature and your heating and cooling bills continue to rise, you're probably ready enough. If you need additional incentive, the Federal government is still offering a 30 percent (up to $1,500) tax credit on the cost for patio windows that meet stringent environmental qualifications.

When shopping, check the NFRC label and look for the reported U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient ratings. If they're at .30 or less, your window qualifies as an ENERGYSTAR product for tax credits. You won't get any tax credit for the installation cost--just for the windows.

If you once had metal frames on your windows that led to mold problems, you may want to evaluate fiberglass or vinyl frames. Many people choose wood frames for historical homes. The same NFRC label identifies the window's Condensation Resistance, in numbers between one and 100. The higher the number, the stronger the new window's resistance to moisture, rot, and mold.

That means you can still enjoy the wide-open view from patio windows without compromising on energy efficiency and durability.


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