A 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.
Here are some sure signs that your old windows need to be replaced:
- Difficult to open or close
- Drafty, with air leaking through or around the window
- Excessive condensation on the inside of the window panes
- Windows rattle in the wind
- Paint chipping or peeling
- High utility bills
- House is always -too hot in summer or too cold in winter
Vinyl replacement windows are available in all popular models. The most common are fixed (aka picture windows), double hung, horizontal sliding, casement, single hung, awning, decorative bay, bow and garden windows. Vinyl windows are custom made to fit any size or shape required by the architectual style, existing openings, or personal taste.
Condensation is a natural occurrence on all windows and is caused by humidity, or invisible water vapor, present in the air. When this water vapor comes in contact with a surface that is cooler, the vapor turns into droplets of moisture.
Condensation is a direct result of interior humidity and the difference between indoor and outside air temperature. If you keep the humidity in your house low, then the likelihood of experiencing condensation is also low. However, the efficiency of your window will also impact the temperature and humidity level at which condensation occurs. Energy efficient windows will help reduce condensation.
Here’s why: high performance replacement windows with low U-factors result in inside glass surface temperatures much closer to the room air temperature. Windows with warm edge technologies and non-metal frames are also less likely to have condensation on the frame or at the edge of the glass.
Insulated “superwindows” with three or more layers will virtually eliminate condensation on the interior surface of the glass — even under extreme weather conditions. Note that in certain conditions (humid mornings after a clear night sky), some superwindows may have dew on their outside surface. These windows are such good insulators, the dew is condensing there just like it does on an insulated wall.
Check the window’s NFRC rating label. The NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) is an independent testing organization that rates the “U-Factor” for replacement windows. This is a measurement of the window’s ability to resist the transfer of heat and cold. U-Factor is the amount of heat transferred through a material. The lower the U-Factor, the slower the rate of heat flow and the better the insulating quality. Equally important is a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). SHGC measures how well a window blocks heat from the sun. The lower the SHGC, the better a window is at blocking unwanted heat gain.
Soft-Coat Low-E (emissivity) glass uses a metallic coating on the inside surfaces of the glass, reflecting UV and infrared light away from the replacement windows. This causes less furniture fading and keeps your home cooler in the summer heat. In the winter, all objects in your home are heated by sunlight or your heating system. As this heat is radiated by the objects towards the windows it is reflected back into your house by the low-E glass, helping to keep your energy bills lower year-round.
Wood window frames have been around as long as there have been windows. They can be attractive, but are not very efficient. Also, wood needs to be treated and maintained, either by painting or staining on a regular basis.
Aluminum frames have traditionally been used for add-on storm windows. Aluminum is strong, but readily allows the transfer of heat and cold from inside to outside and back.
Vinyl windows do not require the same maintenance level as wood. However, unless the vinyl is reinforced with aluminum, they can warp.
Reinforced vinyl windows combine great strength and durability with high energy efficiency and low maintenance.
Because custom windows are made to fit perfectly, they provide the best energy efficiency and can be installed 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 get exactly the windows they need and want.
Standard windows sometimes 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 often requires that you add brick or siding to the exterior, and drywall or other materials to the interior of your home.
If you select high-quality, energy-efficient windows, your windows will “pay back” your investment in savings you will realize with lower cooling and heating bills. Well-built windows developed with the last technology have been proven to lower home energy consumption.
Vinyl windows are easy to keep clean, and require practically no maintenance. Use any window cleaner to clean the glass surface. The vinyl exteior frames can be cleaned with any mild detergent or soapy water. Avoid cleaners containing ammonia or abrasives.