What You Need to Know About Window Replacement
Window Replacement represents one of the more substantial investments you can make in your home. The replacement of old or under-performing windows can effectively reduce your monthly utility costs and give your home a bit more curb appeal. There are a wide variety of window replacement options to choose from, including vinyl, storm and custom wood windows as well as bay and bow windows. There are also many contractors and companies available for installation. With so many choices, you may feel a little overwhelmed. However, you can quickly and easily learn more about your what is available to you and get cost estimates to find the window replacement options that are perfect for your specific needs.
What to Consider
- Your climate is probably the single most important factor
- There are four climate zones defined by Energy STAR: Northern, North Central, South Central, and Southern
- U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Co-Efficient (SHGC)
- Visibile Transference
- Air Leakage
Use this Tool to Look Up Your Energy Star Rated Climate Zone, U-Factor, and SHGC
Two of the most important items in selecting windows that will give you the most energy efficiency are U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Efficiency or SGHC. The U-Factor determines how well your window keeps warm air inside. In cold climates this is very important. On the other hand, SHGC is a measure of how much heat is blocked from the sun. In colder climates you want more heat to come in and in warmer southern climate zones you want replacement windows that will block heat, as you have a longer duration of warm months throughout the year.
Top Reasons To Replace Old Windows
- Lower energy costs by up to 30% - reduce your family's carbon footprint
- Make your home quieter with new window technology
- Reduce drafts making your home more comfortable
- Most new windows tilt in for easier cleaning
How to Save Money
- It's easy to add upgrades, these can add 40-60% to the base cost of your window
- Focus on upgrades that add value and reduce energy costs based on your climate
Windows By the Numbers
- U-factor / U-value - this number is generally between .20 and 1.20. The lower the U-factor the better the window is at keeping heat in
- Solar heat gain coefficient - this number ranges between 0 and 1. The lower the number, the better the window is at blocking incoming heat from the sun. If you live in a warm climate you want a number closer to 0, in colder climates you want a number closer to 1.
- Visible Transmittance - This number ranges between 0 and 1. The higher the number, the more light will come in.
Options and Add Ons
As stated above, add ons can increase the cost of your windows significantly. Below are some common options and typical costs.
- Grills between the glass (GBG) are installed between the two pieces of glass. This gives the look of a divided window but also allows for easy washing. This can add around $20 per window
- Simulated divided light windows (SDL) has a grill on the outside of each piece of glass. This gives a more authentic divided glass look. This can add over $100 per window
- Hardware Upgrades
- Many companies offer satin, nickel, bronze, and other finishes for handles and locks beyond the standard hardware. This can add as much as $50 per window.
- Impact Resistant Glass - This is useful if you live in an are prone to hurricanes or tornados. However it will also increase the price by $275 or more per window. It does however further reduce noise
- Triple Insulating Glass - Instead of two pieces of glass with argon in between each, you will have three. The biggest benefit, unless you live in a very cold climate, is that there is significant reduction in noise. This option will run $75 or more per window
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