They are made of glass and provide you a glimpse into the outside world but what do you really know about choosing the right windows for your house? While you may be tempted to choose replacement windows based on aesthetics or the latest fad it is important to take the time to really understand your options.
Whether you are consulting a Nashville windows contractor or just a general contractor it is important that you understand how windows are rated when it comes to energy efficiency. Let’s start with the overall energy efficiency rating, better known as U-factor. This rating takes the entire window as a whole, which includes framing, glazing and spacer. The lower the rating the more energy efficient a particular window assembly will be.
Another rating you want to pay attention to is the AL or air leakage. This number will refer to the cubic feet of air per minute per cubic foot of window. Again you want to look for windows with the lowest rating.
Typical windows are transparent, which means you can see through them. However, there are several places in the home where a translucent glass might be the better choice. Showers, front entryways and many other areas are great places for windows or glass blocks that allow light in but still afford some privacy. Some options include:
A good storm window can help improve the thermal efficiency of your current windows. Generally, these are installed as a retrofit and can be installed inside or outside the home. What do you need to know about storm windows? For these types of windows look to the air infiltration rating, which is a measurement of how much air can pass through during 25-mile per hour winds. (Usually expressed in cubic feet per minute) Again the lower the rating the better.
What type of casement materials should you choose? There are three basic window material options, vinyl, wood and aluminum, which one you choose will depend on several factors. First off, there is price, vinyl is your cheapest option but wood frames offer the best long term rating to date and they have a price tag to match. Aluminum fell out of favor after the 60’s due to poor, albeit cheap, construction. Today’s aluminum windows, however, are much better quality and considered the middle ground between vinyl and wood options. After cost considerations come aesthetics, current construction and historic homes. Which window construction will work best for your current home will depend a great deal on the windows you currently have.