How to Select the Right Replacement Window

December 11, 2008

Similar to the walls of the house, all windows must withstand the extremes of weather. From heat to cold, wet to dry, sun to shade, wind to calm, every window in the home is asked to maintain a constant and comfortable interior environment, no matter how inclement or extreme the weather outside.

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When it comes to Vinyl Replacement Windows or Installing Windows, it's hard to know which window is the right one for you. Windows are complex, precision, and fragile machines that must open and close at a touch to let in air and light. Whether they pivot from the side or top, slide up, down, or sideways - windows are largely ignored until they don't work, or begin to deteriorate. And, because windows tend to dominate walls, both outside, and inside of the house, they are the single greatest design focus in most homes.

Though windows are chosen for function (light and air, and an efficient weather barrier), their form and fashion are equally important to the overall design, comfort, and convenience of a homeowner's lifestyle.

There are 5 considerations on which to judge the value of windows

1. Energy Efficiency and Comfort: Having to operate in all kinds of weather and environmental extremes, and yet maintain stable and comfortable interior temperatures and noise levels, windows need to have High R-values to resist heat loss and maximize energy conservation in all seasons. These features include low conductivity, low emissivity, and the ability to take advantage of the sun's warmth in the winter while lessening its effect in the summer. And, while you're letting the light in, windows should block the fading effects of UV rays.

Select the right window

Drafts, feeling "cold", condensation, and heat loss will make any home feel uncomfortable. In fact, statistics show that up to 50% of the heat loss in the average home can be through old, drafty windows. Windows also need to have a high Condensation Resistance Values (CRF) to help avoid annoying condensation. Heat loss conduction through the glass and frame of an old, inefficient window can lose the equivalent of a pint of oil every day - for every window.

Air infiltration due to a crack 1/16th inch around the average window frame is like having a hole in your wall the size of a brick. In an average home that can be a hole the size of 15 bricks, or leaving a window open 6 inches on the coldest day. Additionally, quality vinyl replacement windows can reduce interior noise levels up to 40 db, which is the equivalent of silencing an alarm clock. This can be very important when living on a busy street, across from a commercial area, or near a busy highway, train station or airport.

2. Beauty and Style: The replacement of windows and doors is the single biggest improvement you can make to your home because the benefits can be enjoyed inside and outside your home - at the same time. Many architectural designs associated with houses have made windows and doors a design focal point. Large glass areas, angular and circular shapes, colors, grid patterns and decorative glass options all add to the beauty and style of any home.

3. Durability: All quality windows operate well the day they are installed, but begin to deteriorate through constant operation and weather extremes. Dirt, rain, sun and the natural expansion and contraction of all homes take a toll on window units. The quality of the components and the precision of the design can make premium windows last a lifetime.

Old windows stick, can be hard to operate, or maybe they are just worn out. Old putty, rotted frames, cracked glass, poor fit, broken hardware, worn or missing weatherstripping, single pane glass, or poor storm windows can make the best windows old before your time. Trying to stave off the inevitable can take hours of caulking, painting, repair, and frustration. In fact, most repair costs are greater than replacement costs in severely damaged windows.

4. Ease of operation: Windows need to be air and watertight but must easily open and close. The weatherstripping, balances, tilt latches and/or operators need to work smoothly and with precision.

5. Safety and Security: Broken locks and loose windows are invitations to break-in. The locks and balance mechanisms of today's modern vinyl replacement windows can be a deterrent. From cleaning to locks, windows need to be safe and secure. The ability to safely clean from inside of the house is important, as are the locking system. Even the screens need to offer security.

These are important considerations for anyone choosing new windows and we have in-depth information you can refer to that will help you understand more.

Related Links:
Window Glossary


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