Everything you need to know about Replacement Windows
Everything You Need to Know About Window Replacement
Replacing your home’s aging windows is a big decision. The investment can be significant, especially if you are replacing multiple windows or considering window replacement for your entire house. You will also face a multitude of choices, from frame material and glass packages, to finishes and accessories.
At Hi-Tech Windows & Siding we have been replacing old, tired windows for our neighbors for more than 25 years. We have installed thousands of new windows, from a single window to a whole house project, from simple casement windows to elegant bow windows – and even sliding patio doors.
We have learned what it takes to make the window replacement process successful. This guide is designed to share the knowledge you need to get the most out of your replacement windows.
“Off-the-Shelf” vs. Custom Replacement Windows
Your mailbox is probably filled every week with offers for replacement windows at steeply discounted prices. Beware! Many of the low-priced windows being promoted are poorly made, with flimsy materials and low-quality glass. Plus, many are “off-the-shelf” windows, which means you are forced to accept a window size that may not be the right fit for your home.
A quality window replacement company, however, will take the time to carefully measure the window openings in your home – one by one – and then have your new windows custom manufactured to exacting specifications. This ensures a perfect fit that is snug and secure against outside air infiltration, helping to keep your home warm all winter and cooler during the summer.
Custom replacement windows are also available with higher quality frames for added rigidity and durability, multi-pane glass packages for enhanced energy efficiency, and a wider array of styles and finishes for improve aesthetics. While you may pay a little more for each window and wait a little longer for your windows to be made, custom replacement windows are a smarter investment over the long term.
What Makes a Great Replacement Window?
On the surface windows seem simple enough. A frame, sashes, glass, seals, locks. But the materials used, the engineering that goes into the window design, the materials used, and the way the window is installed all have a major impact on how your new replacement window will perform.
For many years, windows were designed very simply, with a wood frame and single pane of glass. But wood is a poor insulator and can warp or rot over time. And one thin pane of glass acts like a sieve for energy loss. So window manufacturers like our supplier, Sunrise® Windows, researched and tested and developed new replacement windows that now deliver superior thermal performance over a longer service life. And, by the way, they require virtually no maintenance like wood windows!
The best replacement windows today feature a sturdy and rigid vinyl frame and sashes, multi-pane glass “sandwiches” that are filled with inert gas (like argon) that is sealed against leakage and infiltration, and hardened locks to provide greater security. The best windows are also specifically sized and custom made for each opening in your home.
That is the kind of product you should be looking for when undertaking a window replacement project.
Why is Energy Efficiency Such an Important Factor in Replacement Windows?
Keeping your home warm during the winter and cool in the summer can use a lot of energy and eat up a significant portion of your annual budget. Did you know that studies show that up to one-third of the energy used to heat and cool a home is lost through poorly insulated windows and doors? That’s like throwing away 33 cents of every dollar you spend on home heating fuel or electricity to run your air conditioner.
Slowing the loss of energy through your windows can have a big impact on how much you spend – and how much you can save – on home energy costs. That’s why it is important that your new replacement windows are made of materials that create an effective thermal barrier to prevent “energy transfer” between your home and the outside weather conditions.
What create that thermal barrier? A combination of insulating frame materials, high quality seals, and multiple pane low-e (low emissivity) glass. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), an independent testing laboratory, actually tests windows submitted by reputable manufacturers to determine their energy efficiency ratings. A quality window will feature the NFRC test results on a label affixed right to the window itself. Be sure to look for it! You will certainly find it on the Sunrise® Replacement Windows we install here at Hi-Tech Windows & Siding.
Every Sunrise replacement window we install, no matter what style or size, includes the essential elements that make up an energy efficient window. High density vinyl frames for rigidity and insulation value, low-e glass packages with sealed edges to prevent thermal transfer, and weatherproof seals to prevent air infiltration. All custom fit for your home and professionally installed to be snug and cozy.
How Do I Know My Windows Need to Be Replaced?
There are seven signs to look for that may indicate that your home’s windows have reached the end of their useful service life and need to be replaced.
- They are the original windows in the home. Home builders generally choose to install “construction grade” windows to save money. These are lower quality, cheaply made and poorly performing windows. If you home is more than 10 years old and still has its original windows it is time to starting the window replacement process.
- Your home is drafty. If you constantly feel a chill, especially around your windows, it may indicate they are not properly insulated. You may even notice your drapes billowing and moving a bit, even when the window is closed, as chilly air seeps through the window frame and glass. Time to replace.
- Your heating and cooling bills are high. Whether you heat your home with oil, propane, natural gas or electricity, it can be expensive to keep your family warm during a cold New England winter. Similarly, if your air conditioner is running constantly all summer long your electric bill will skyrocket. Properly insulated and installed replacement windows can help you sharply reduce your monthly utility bills.
- Your windows are hard to open. Windows that stick and jam, particularly if they are wood framed, may have warped or swollen. It is unlikely they will return to normal operation.
- Your windows rattle. Similarly, windows that are too loose in their frame (indicated by shaking when opening or rattling in a breeze) are likely bleeding energy loss from your home and costing you a ton of money.
- Condensation or ice forms on the inside of your windows. This is a sign of poor insulation values in your glass. A higher quality glass package will help prevent this and allow you to better regulate your indoor temperature.
- You are tired of scraping and painting your window frames. Modern vinyl window frames do not require regular painting and are virtually maintenance-free. So they will save you time as well as money!
Do I Need to Hire a “Big Name” Window Company?
There are many nationally prominent window replacement companies with local offices. They have big advertising budgets and slick presentations. But what they do not have is local knowledge or the commitment to service you will receive from a local contractor like Hi-Tech Windows & Siding.
We know our community, the ins-and-outs of the New England climate, and the unique weather challenges your new windows are likely to face. We can recommend the right window for your home’s style, size and neighborhood. Plus, once we have installed your replacement windows, we will be here to continue to support you with both the manufacturer’s product warranty and our own satisfaction guarantee. That’s the kind of personal service you just can’t get from a national company.
Get the True Story About Window Replacement
Ready to learn the facts about replacing your windows? Our window experts would be glad to answer your questions and address your concern. Give us a call at 800-851-0900 to chat or schedule an evaluation of your home’s windows. Or use our convenient online form to get in touch. We’re on your side and at your side!