How can you tell if your windows need to be replaced? By keeping an eye out for the warning signs. Here are some important ones.

Warning Signs You a Window Replacement

  • Drafts – Check if you can feel a breeze coming through your windows or if certain rooms are hotter or colder than others. To determine if you have drafty windows, you can use the incense trick: shut all the windows, doors and vents, and light an incense stick near a window. The smoke should then float toward the source of the draft.

  • Higher utility bills – Scratching your head over a higher-than-expected utility bill? Drafty windows may be one of the culprits. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat loss and gain through windows account for 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling costs. If you have drafty windows, this figure can increase to 40%.

  • Foggy glass – Manufacturers insulate dual-pane windows by filling the space between their glass panes with either argon or krypton, which is odorless, colorless and non-toxic, that can prevent heat transfer. However, if an insulated window’s glass sealing was damaged, argon and krypton will leak out. Moisture will then be able to infiltrate the space between your window panes and fog up the glass.

Should You Have Damaged Windows Repaired or Replaced Altogether?

In most cases, it makes more practical – and financial – sense to replace damaged windows. That’s because repairs can’t restore your windows’ energy efficiency; they can only stop the remaining argon and krypton in your windows from leaking out.

Things to Consider When Choosing New Windows

What are the things you need to consider when choosing a window replacement?

  • Energy efficiency – Installing energy-efficient windows can help improve indoor comfort and lower your utility bills. Here’s a tip: look for windows with the ENERGY STAR® label. Only windows that have been independently tested by the National Fenestration Rating Council®  (NFRC) and meet the performance standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be certified.

What Are NFRC® Ratings?

The NFRC ratings are located under the ENERGY STAR label and indicate which windows are best suited to your area’s local climate.

Here’s a quick overview of the NFRC ratings:

  • U-factor – The U-factor indicates the window’s ability to prevent heat transfer. The lower a window’s U-factor, the better it can insulate your home. We recommend our customers install a window with a U-factor of 0.35 or lower.

  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) –  The SHGC indicates how much heat from the sun can pass through a window’s glass panes. The lower a window’s SHGC, the less heat that can come through and the lower your cooling costs. In general, windows facing east or west should be shaded and have a lower SHGC.

  • Visible transmittance – The visible transmittance rating gives you an idea of how much sunlight can pass through your windows. The higher a window’s visible transmittance, the more lighting it can provide.

  • Air leakage – As the term suggests, the air leakage rating indicates how much air can enter your home through your windows. The lower a window’s air leakage rating, the fewer drafts it will let inside.

If you’re having trouble choosing a window replacement, you can consult with window contractors. Since they’re familiar with the local climate, they can make better recommendations.

  • Suitability to the local climate – No matter how durable your new windows are, they won’t last long if they are made from materials not suited to the local climate. Remember: there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach in home improvement projects, and window replacement projects are no exception.

What Are the Most Commonly Used Window Frame Materials?

  • Vinyl – Vinyl windows are the most affordable option on the market. Compared to other window materials, vinyl windows have lower maintenance needs (they don’t need painting or staining).

  • Fiberglass – Fiberglass resists thermal movement (contractions and expansions brought about by an abrupt change in temperatures), mold and rot. Foam-filled fiberglass window frames also have excellent insulative capabilities.

  • Wood – Wooden windows cost more than vinyl windows, but they have superior insulative capabilities. Not to mention they can add a sophisticated elegance to your exterior. Remember: while it’s important to stay within budget, you shouldn’t get too preoccupied with the costs. Focus instead on how you can maximize your returns on investment (ROIs).

To learn more about your options, consult one of your local home improvement contractors.

  • Design – To boost your home’s curb appeal, you need to choose windows that complement your home’s exterior. To narrow down your options, you might want to start by listing the window styles that have been traditionally used in your home’s architectural style. After all, there’s a reason why these combinations have withstood the test of time: it’s because they work so well together.

Here’s a quick overview of the most popular window styles and the architectural styles best suited to them:

  • Casement windows – Thanks to their simple frame designs (which maximize the window glass area and give unobstructed views of the scenery outside), casement windows are one of the most popular types of windows in the country. Casement windows are commonly used in European architectural styles as well as Prairie-style homes. However, with a bit of customization, they can complement a wide variety of architectural styles.

  • Bay windows – Bay windows are often found in large or Queen Anne-style homes. They’re a great addition to your home if you want to brighten up your interior. Thanks to their large glass panes, bay windows can let in more sunlight than any other type of window.

  • Double-hung windows – Double-hung windows are often found in Georgian-style homes. They are a smart choice if you want a window that’s easy to clean. You can tilt the sashes of double-hung windows to clean its interior glass panes from the inside.

Choosing a window style that fits in with your home’s exterior design can be tricky. If you’re having trouble picking a window design, don’t hesitate to consult a remodeling contractor.

How to Maximize the ROIs on Your New Windows

Aside from choosing windows that complement your exterior, what are the ways to maximize the ROIs on your new windows?

  • To maximize energy savings in winter, install your new windows on the south side of your home – The south side of your home receives the highest amount of sunlight. Installing windows on that side can help you take full advantage of heat from the sun during winter.

  • Choose Low-Emissivity (Low-E) windows – Low-E windows, which reduce the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation entering your home, help protect your interior from fading and other forms of UV damage.

  • Maximize indoor natural lighting – Choose windows with easy-to-open mechanisms and wide glass areas to improve indoor natural lighting, which not only helps reduce your utility bills, but also gives the illusion of a more spacious interior.

One more thing: to protect the ROIs on your new windows, make sure to vet the window installers before hiring them.

AllPoint Construction, a family-owned company with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, offers a wide range of professional exterior services, including interior remodeling and window replacement services. To request a free estimate, call us at (734) 407-7110, or fill out this form.