Replacement windows are windows created to fit right into the same structure where the old or damaged windows used to be. Although it looks easy to buy them, a few careful considerations have to be made.
Replacement Glass Ratings
When deciding which type of glass you need, have to consider two things – R-value and U-factor. These are manufacturer-assigned ratings on replacement windows, reflecting their efficiency.
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The R-value of a window shows its ability to insulate. These values begin at 0.9 up, and a rating of 3 or higher is considered acceptable.
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On the other hand, U-factor signifies the window’s ability to keep heat in. The satisfactory range is 1.1 to 0.3; the smaller the number, the better.
Single, Double and Triple Pane Windows
Single pane windows must only be used in areas where heat loss is not a problem (for instance, in detached garages). Double and triple-pane glass types are made of panes of glass that are hermetically sealed, with airspace in between them.
General Glass Options
There are three general options of glass these days. Among the most popular is known as low-emissivity or low-e glass. This glass comes with a unique coating that, depending on the season, keeps heat from leaking in or out.
Heat-absorbing glass is yet another option, and it works by barring the entry of solar energy or heat. As well, it helps stop sunlight from wearing out drapes, carpets and furniture.
The third most common type of window glass is known as reflective glass, which works like heat-absorbing glass, except it uses a film that reflects harmful UV rays.
Basic Types of Replacement Windows
The popularity of aluminum frames has decreased of late because they are not energy-efficient and have the tendency to encourage condensation.
Fiberglass replacement windows are a relatively new in the industry. They are usually the priciest, but boast a very high R-value, meaning they offer the most significant savings in energy bills.
As wood is a natural insulator, wood frames also have rather impressive R-values. The problem of condensation is almost nonexistent, although maintenance can be expensive because the frames need to be periodically scraped and painted.
Vinyl is now one of the most popular choices, owing to its energy efficiency and diversity in design. Vinyl windows actually counter the condensation problem with their abilty to maintain warmth at the edges.
Fibrex combines wood and vinyl, incorporating the best features of the two materials to create a hybrid window that is both energy-efficient and low maintenance.
Before installing replacement windows, consider at least two or three companies to make way for comparisons. Certainly, you have to compare apples to apples, meaning each estimate you get must be based on exactly the same specs as every other quote you receive. Finally, ask about the company’s warranty and make sure you understand it thoroughly.