What are the Best Replacement Windows for Your Home?

July 31, 2010

You know you need new windows for your home, but how do you determine which are the best replacement windows? It seems like you can choose from a multitude of replacement windows made from all sorts of materials, and they all have ratings that can be difficult to understand. How do you avoid making a big, expensive mistake that you may have to live with for many years? These tips for finding the best replacement windows may help take the stress out of your window shopping.

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Replacement Window Reviews

You already know you're not an expert on replacement windows, but there are people and organizations with the knowledge to provide unbiased replacement window reviews to help you make an educated decision on which new windows to choose. Replacement window reviews usually provide ratings in a number of key areas such as:

  • Ease of installation
  • Operation
  • Quality of construction
  • Energy efficiency
  • Options

You may not be an expert on replacement windows, but after reading several replacement window reviews you may feel like one.

Understand the Rating Systems

Just about all new windows go through a testing process to provide ratings in several areas. The three ratings usually considered the most important to homeowners are:

  • U-Factor. This is a measurement of the heat loss through the window unit. Lower numbers are better in this rating and a 0.30 can contribute to an Energy Star rating. Look for a measurement close to 0.30 or lower to help reduce your energy costs.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The SHGC is a measurement of the amount of radiant heat that can pass through the window unit. Lower numbers are better with this test, too. Energy Star windows usually have a SHGC of .030 or lower, so look for a rating in that range.
  • Sound Transmission Class (STC) Rating. The STC rating may be important to you if you live in a city or next to a fire station. The STC rating is a measurement of how much sound that passes through the window. Double pane windows usually have a rating of about 26-33 with 28 being average. Look for higher numbers for a quieter home.

Understanding the rating systems used for new windows and using replacement window reviews can help you find the best replacement windows for your home and budget.

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