Considering window replacement? New windows for your home can make a huge difference in curb appeal, utility bills, and resale value. It is a huge investment for any home owner. So, before you drop several grand on this investment, do your homework.
Warranty or Energy?
Many consumers seek the best warranty when purchasing windows, or any other high-ticket item. When it comes to window replacement, this is not the best route.
Rather than choosing the windows with the best warranty, simply choose the best windows.
While a warranty may make customers feel safe, a good quality window will actually make customers happier. Wouldn’t you prefer a window that will save you money on your utility bills and won’t have to be replaced, over a cheaper one that will be replaced for free with another one that might fail?
What to look for in window replacements
The following are important terms to know as you shop. They will help you choose the best energy efficient windows for your home.
Window seal failure/Failure rate – Insulated glass has one or two seals. These seals keep the windows clear of moisture and ensure insulation. When these seals fail, moist air creeps in, your windows fog, and you have lost some of the insulation factor. When shopping for windows, be sure to ask about the failure rate of the windows.
This is when the warranty usually comes into play. An extended warranty can sound nice, in case the seals fail, but it would be nicer if they simply didn’t fail in the first place. Also, check to see if labor is included in any warranty offered. Often, it is not.
Low-E – A low-E coating is an oxide coating on a glazing surface. It is applied to one or more of the surfaces that face air space between panes. It limits heat flow between panes by reflecting the heat back into your home in the winter and back outside in the summer. The overall result is better insulation for your home.
Argon (gas) fill – To further insulate your home, the spaces between window panes can be filled with gas. Argon, krypton, sulfur hexafluoride, and carbon dioxide are all used for this purpose. This method is often combined with low-E coatings.
U-value or U-factor – This measures a window’s resistance to heat loss. The lower the number the better.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – This measures the amount of heat that enters the home through the window. Like U-value, this quality also increases as the number decreases.
What’s the next step in window maintenance?
Once you have upgraded your home with brand new windows, keep them sparkling! Regular cleaning can keep them fresh and new, extending their life even further. After making such a large investment in window replacement, it will be well worth it to keep your windows looking their best.