Replacement windows are likely to provide you decades of fairly headache free ownership. In this day and age of modern replacement windows technology supplies much support for homeowners in the way of energy savings. Vinyl replacement windows are just one of many options out there, though they may be the least cost prohibitive, lowest maintenance and least expensive to install.
Replacement Windows Save Money
Replacement windows are likely to save you money with their high-tech coatings, double glazed (double panes), low-emissivity (low-e coatings) and other factors. When shopping for replacement windows, check for Energy Star ratings. The Department of Energy has strict criteria for its ratings of two factors, which are rated to save you money.
The Department of Energy separates out the ratings by region, so that your windows for replacement work optimally for your specific climate. For instance, in Florida keeping heat out is necessary most of the year. In Maine, keeping the radiant heat of the sun within the home is a necessity. Further rankings are set forth by the National Fenestration Rating Council, which rates the windows, including replacement varieties, even more stringently than the Department of Energy.
In addition to the energy performance of a replacement, look for a quality installer who is knowledgeable, trustworthy and professional. To allow a window the chance to work at its peak it is necessary to ensure a high quality certified installer is replacing your windows. Replacement windows can otherwise cause problems such as leaks, if left to lesser qualified installers. American Window and Door Institute (AWDI ) for one, certifies installers and dealers for specific brands, and designated Master Installers are certified in every brand.
The best places to find your windows are through a certified dealer and installer who specializes in the brand of your choosing. They will know the ins and outs of the materials, the specific bonus features of your new brand. In addition, they will be able to show you the best way to use and care for your replacement.
Caring for Your New Windows
Most replacement windows are fairly low maintenance, though when you do get a replacement, it is still important to learn how to care for it. This will ensure decades of stress free use. For the most part, they do actually perform well when cleaned. This is true because for metal, any wear and tear on the finish, can expose the aluminum, making oxidization happen when in contact with air, and worse off -- moisture.
A simple trick while cleaning them, is to make sure to fully clear out the channels that make up the sliding surface for the window. Sometimes, maybe after many years, there may be rust or gunk that collects. It is necessary to them take a wire brush and clean it off. Then, you will want to sand, and prime and repaint, to help ensure a longer lasting window that works without excessive window frame repair.
For vinyl, you may have periodic gashes or slashes on the material. This can be fixed with a vinyl fix-it kit, which might contain liquid PVC. Otherwise, it is also important just to keep the surface clean. Wood are a little more involved, because they need to be sanded, primed and painted more often. They do a great job insulating from the elements, but do take somewhat of a beating from hot and cold, wet and dry, sunlight or lack thereof. It is especially important to keep these clean and working well.
When you clean your window, it is a good time to make an inspection. Make sure not only that the channels are free from debris, but also make sure that the window opens and closes easily. For instance, on aluminum, after cleaning them, be sure to lubricate the track with silicone lubricant. For wood, if it gets stuck, it will involve first prying the window open with a putty knife, then probably repainting or re-staining the surfaces.
If condensation forms, first check your warranty. If it is still good, it is a great time to contact your installer or the manufacturer or dealer -- whomever is specified in your warranty. Then, proceed as directed.
If you are no longer under warranty for your replacement windows, check the seals -- caulking, rubber gaskets around the glass. For wood this is a little more complicated because there are glazier points that keep the glass in place. In vinyl and aluminum land, there are gaskets that keep the window in its frame. The window can be removed from the track, the frame unscrewed and dismantled, and the gasket replaced.
Replacement windows are a great investment, crating a return on investment in the form of energy efficiency and money savings. It is important to find a certified dealer and installer who does the job right. Your job is to maintain the replacements.