Make an informed decision when choosing new windows for your home, with these ten tips.
1. Choose the Right Window for Your Home
There are many window materials and styles: wood, and vinyl, single pane and double pane, and beyond. It’s not as simple as just measuring the opening and ﬁtting for a replacement, because other factors come into play, like your climate.
Make sure you work with a professional who can help you understand the options.
2. Consider Energy Efficient Windows
Any time there’s a hole in the wall of your house, heat and cold can move through it. An energy-efficient window minimizes that energy transfer. By selecting windows that feature double panes, insulated glass and efficient seals, you can save big on your energy bills in the long run.
3. Familiarize Yourself with the Window Installation Process
Make sure you fully understand what’s included when you have your windows replaced. Does your contractor remove masonry or siding? Replace interior and exterior trim? Will they clean up when the window installation is done?
4. Understand your ENERGY STAR® “U-factor”
The ENERGY STAR® program rates products’ energy efficiency with the goal of saving you money and protecting our environment. All products that carry the ENERGY STAR® rating have met very strict energy efficiency guidelines.
The U-factor of your window is the measure that helps you understand its efficiency. It measures the rate of heat ﬂow through a window—the lower the number, the more energy efficient the window is.
5. Check for Low “E” Insulation
For the comfort and protection of your home interior, ensure the window glass has a low-emissive coating. Not only does it protect pictures and wall coverings, but it can add 10% to your energy savings.
5. Recognize the Importance of Gas Filling If you purchase double-paned glass windows, the space between the panes can be ﬁlled with an inert gas such as argon or krypton. Since these gases are heavier than air they reduce the thermal conductivity, and keep the temperature inside your home stable during changes in temperature outside.
7. Know your Installation Contractor
Be sure to ask these questions when getting estimates. Is the contractor licensed and bonded, and have adequate insurance? What warranties are there for materials and labor? Does the contractor obtain the proper permits and follow all local and regional codes and regulations? How reliable is the contractor? What work have they done in your area?
8. Be Aware of Warranties and After-Sale Service
One of the most important elements of new windows is the service you receive after the home installation is complete. Does your contractor offer a standard warranty? Does your window installation include product, labor and parts? Is there an extended warranty? What does it include? How long does it last? What does it cost? How are service calls requested?
9. Acknowledge Window Cleaning Requirements
Though window performance matters, the ease of maintenance is just as important. Does the windows feature tilt-in sashes that allow you to clean the outside from the inside?
10. Don’t Base Your Decision on Price Alone
The natural inclination is to ﬁnd the lowest price. While that should be a consideration, the most important part of your decision should be value and return on investment. In the long run, a lower price might actually cost you more in energy bills, replacements and maintenance.