Question 1: What is a replacement window?
A true replacement window is a window that’s custom built to fit within the opening of an existing window. It’s built to fit precisely and can be installed without disturbing the interior and exterior areas around the window.
Question 2: What are the advantages of custom replacement windows over pre-made, standard-size windows stocked at home centers and lumber yards?
Because custom windows are made to fit perfectly, they provide the best energy efficiency (which saves energy costs) and install much more easily and with very little mess. Also, because of the myriad of options available that affect appearance and efficiency, custom windows allow consumers to design exactly the windows they need or want.
Standard windows typically cost less in the beginning, but other expenses and factors—like additional labor and the disruption to the home—far outweigh the original savings. For example, installing stock windows requires that you add brick or siding to the exterior, and drywall or other materials to the interior. In addition, custom-made windows allow you to choose the best solution to the problems you want to solve by replacing windows.
Question 3: Do replacement windows really pay for themselves or is that just a sales line?
It’s true, if you select high-quality, energy-efficient windows. Savings will vary, but expertly engineered and well-built windows lower home energy consumption. With vinyl-framed windows, maintenance is also virtually eliminated. No need to scrape and paint windows. These energy and maintenance savings will allow you to recoup your window investment over time.
Question 4: How are replacement windows any different from older windows in terms of cleaning?
Many high-quality windows are actually engineered to make cleaning easier. For example, double-hung windows with the latest internal constant force balance system allow a home owner to easily maneuver the sashes up and down. They tilt in—and lock securely in place—for safe, easy cleaning. Quite a difference from old wood windows that stick and are difficult to move up and down.
Question 5: What makes a window energy efficient?
Numerous factors, including how the frame and sashes are engineered and built, the type of glass used (single-, double- or triple-pane), the weatherstripping, the type of low-emissivity coating on the glass and the presence of argon or krypton gas.
Question 6: What is Low-E and, how important is it to have it on your windows?
Low-E stands for low emissivity and is a fairly new advancement in glass technology. Basically, it’s a microscopic, metallic coating—applied to a surface of glass—that reflects and re-radiates heat energy either into or out of a home depending on climate conditions. Using Low- E is an excellent way to increase the energy efficiency of a window.
Question 7: What is the NFRC and what should I know about it?
NFRC stands for the National Fenestration Rating Council. It’s a program established by the U.S. Department of Energy to help consumers compare window products and options. Window manufacturers participating in the program are required to label every window to its specific thermal performance level. Customers are then ensured that the products they select meet the requirements for their application. Participation in the NFRC program is voluntary. Not all manufacturers participate because it requires outside third party inspection and extensive product testing.
Question 8: Does argon or krypton gas between glass panes really make a difference in energy efficiency?
For air to insulate well, it needs to be as still as possible because moving air carries energy. Both argon and krypton are heavier than air—so they’re less prone to convection or thermal movement. The bottom line is that heavier-than-air gases offer a higher level of insulation. Both argon and krypton are found naturally in the air you breathe and are completely harmless.
Question 9: How much protection do windows provide against forced entry?
Generally, not much with typical windows and doors. However there’s a new security concept that’s growing quickly in popularity throughout the U.S. The idea of using special laminated glass, similar to that found in auto windshields, in conjunction with extremely tough vinyl windows and doors. FAS offers exactly this concept in its Impact Glass , which typically takes up to 30 powerful hits of a baseball bat before even a small hole is formed. In a real-life scenario, the whole neighborhood would be alerted after about the fifth hit!
Question 10: Can windows and doors reduce outside noise?
All windows and doors reduce noise to some degree. The best solution, however, is to use a laminated, insulating glass in windows and doors. It provides as much as a 100 percent improvement in sound deadening over other glass types.
Question 11: Can windows keep out UV radiation that fades carpeting, furniture, draperies and upholstery?
Using a low-emissivity glass in your new windows or doors will filter more than 50 percent of the damaging UV light. The absolute most effective glass for this purpose, however, is laminated insulating glass. It features a polyvinyl butyral inner layer and a low-emissivity coating that filters more than 99 percent of UV radiation that fades interior furnishings.
Question 12: How often should residential windows be replaced?
Homeowners with windows over 25 years old should consider replacing them, both to gain the best energy efficiencies and to protect the envelope of the house. A home is an ideal candidate for a window replacement if its windows are sealed or painted shut or has drafts that come through the windows.
Question 13: What are egress requirements?
Egress requirements indicate a minimum opening size that certain windows must meet. These requirements tend to vary from region to region, so please contact your local building code official for egress requirements in your area.
Question 14: What is ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Results are already adding up. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million cars — all while saving $16 billion on their utility bills.
Questions 15: What is an ENERGY STAR qualified window?
ENERGY STAR labeled windows meet a stringent energy efficiency specification set by the Department of Energy and have been tested and certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). NFRC is an independent, third-path certification agency that assigns specific energy efficiency measures such as U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient to the complete window system, not simply the glass. ENERGY STAR qualified windows may have two or more panes of glass, warm-edge spacers between the window panes, improved framing materials, and Low-E coating(s) which are microscopically thin coatings that help keep heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer.
Questions 16: What is Solar Heat Gain Coefficient?
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (or SHGC) refers to a window’s ability to transmit solar radiation. The SHGC ranges from 0-1. A value of 0 indicates that window functions like a wall, essentially preventing any solar energy from entering the building. A value of 1 indicates that the window functions like an opening, allowing all solar energy in. In cold climates, a high SHGC can lower heating costs by using passive solar heating. In warm climates, a low SHGC is desired to keep unwanted heat out and reduce cooling costs.
Questions 17: What are R-Values and U-Values?
R-value is the resistance a material has to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the resistance. U-value is the amount of heat transferred through a material. The lower the U-value, the slower the rate of heat flow and the better the insulating quality. When shopping for windows or doors, look for higher R-values and lower U-values for the most energy-efficient products possible.
Questions 18: How does insulating glass improve the quality of windows and doors?
Insulating glass improves the quality of windows and doors by:
- Improving the performance of the U- and R-values of your new windows and doors.
- Reducing condensation.
- Helping keep the heat in and cold out during winter.
- Helping keep the heat out and the cold in during summer.
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