Windows come in a variety of sizes, models, and shapes, but when a new house gets built, all the above are preestablished. Of course, there can be some exceptions. Perhaps the previous owner has made some changes to the original windows that sadly have proven to be inadequate or inferior.
It could also be that you’re adding a new room in your house where it would be better to replace the double-hung windows and decide to use casements instead.
Every so often, a homeowner will want to change the size of the window being replaced, but if you’re like most people, your main concern should have more to do with energy-saving and easy maintenance.
Window Glazing Replacement
When talking about energy saving, the first thing you should focus on is glazing. While windows that have a single layer of glass are inefficient, dual-pane units are much better at insulation. The small barrier between glass layers can be another reason why air is flowing in and out of your rooms.
This can be further enhanced by an additional layer of glass called triple-glazing. For maximum results, the gaps between layers are often filled with a gas that reduces heat flow.
Improve Window Performance
Other ways to increase your windows’ performance are by installing reflective films, tints, and low-emittance (low-E) coatings.
Used for blocking a large part of the radiant energy that strikes your window, reflective films help in keeping your spaces cooler. A noticeable downside is that they also block most of the visible light.
They can give your window a mirror-like effect, but reflective films often cause homeowners to use more electric lighting because of the daylight that gets blocked.
Using bronze- and gray-tinted glass is a window solution that doesn’t reduce the visible light as much.
This material reflects radiant energy and reduces cooling loads for an optimal experience. To get an idea, with tinted glass, about 60% of visible light enters your home compared to 90%, which you get with clear glass.
Out of the three options provided here, low-E coatings are the most adaptable and practically invisible. The microscopic metal or oxide particles in this material are used to suppress radiant heat flow out of the window and can be modified to allow varying degrees of solar radiation.
Low-E coatings can be especially useful in climates where heating is an issue. In places where both heating and cooling are required, low-E coatings can reduce radiant heat loss while allowing moderate heat gain. If your main concern is cooling, though, this method is used to reduce solar heat gain too.
Window Construction Replacement
The build material of the window frame is also important as it significantly affects its efficiency. Vinyl frames filled with insulation and fiberglass are better in performance than wood, wood-clad, and non-insulated vinyl. Aluminum and steel are worse than any of the above.
Window replacement can be done in three ways – using sash-only, insert windows, or full-window replacements.
Sash-only replacement kits include new sash and jamb liners to improve functionality. They install easily but should be used only on good-condition windows.
Insert windows are called that way because they fit inside existing window frames. The only things that need to be removed are the window stops and old sashes. Installing inserts is possible only if the old window frame is in good condition, rot-free, and square.
Full-window replacements usually require the existing window to be completely removed along with the casings, frame, sash, and exterior trim. This practice can be used to fix situations where the old window frame has deteriorated, is out of square, or when you want to change your windows’ style or size.
Despite that full-window replacements are the most time-consuming and costly method, they will allow you to better insulate around the window frame, which is a common spot for energy leakage.
When Should You Replace Your Windows?
If you have wood windows that have suffered due to water infiltration and rot, then you should most certainly replace them. Another possibility is that your windows might not function properly.
Window upgrade is also an option when you want to make maintenance easier as it’s no fun climbing on ladders to wash the exteriors. Fortunately, today’s window designs give you easy access to exterior glazing from the inside of your home.
Aesthetics can also play role in your window replacement decision. Many old houses have inappropriate window styles installed. Replacing them with windows of the right style will increase your home’s look and value.
If you want to find out about the benefits of replacing your windows, YourHomeFix can help you do that.