Replacement Windows: Are They Worth the Cost?
July 14, 2009
Windows are supposed to let light in and keep weather out. But considering the fact that glass has virtually no insulating value and is a poor barrier to radiant energy, it's important that you choose your replacement windows wisely. Today's energy efficient windows come in all sorts of shapes, styles, and colors. So how do you go about selecting the right windows for your home?
Manufacturers represent the energy efficiency of a window through a term called a U-factor. This value represents the window's ability to conduct heat. Manufacturers also utilize another value called the R-factor. This number measurers the window's resistance to heat flow. Both values are reciprocals of each other, so a replacement window with a high R-factor will lose less heat than one with a lower R-factor. And, a replacement window with a low U-factor will lose less heat than one with a higher U-factor.
Purchasing a Replacement Window
When selecting replacement windows, there are basically five major factors you should consider. First of all, look at the type of glazing material on the window. It is plastic? Is the glass treated? Secondly, how many layers of glass are there? Two layers are preferred. What is the distance between the layers? More distance means more insulation. What type of window frame and spacer materials will be used? A quality frame will protect your replacement windows and reduce thermal resistance. Finally, the installation of your replacement windows is essential because a properly fitted, energy efficient window should be air tight.
Cut the Cost of Replacement Windows
While replacement windows can be costly, the monetary savings of today's energy efficient windows can more than compensate for the initial financial outlay. According to a nation's energy survey, replacement windows can save you an average of 75 cents on the dollar, as compared to cooling alternatives. So the real question isn't whether replacement windows can save you money, but rather how much!
About the Author
Debbie Wilson owns and operates a lakeside resort. Her previous experience includes profitability consulting for a national health-care company.