Are you about to start shopping for new windows for your home? If so, it helps to know the following things to ensure you make a good decision.
Verify Why Windows Are Needed
If your concerns are about buying windows that are better for the environment to reduce energy consumption, or because your existing windows are damaged or rotting, then those are great reasons to upgrade. However, many homeowners make the mistake of buying new windows because they simply want to save money. The idea is that energy-efficient windows are going to cut down on their heating and cooling bills for some financial relief. Energy-efficient windows can be a great choice, but realize that they are only going to provide long-term savings if you stay in your house for enough time to break even.
Pick the Style
Decide what style of window you want on your home. This is really a personal choice, but some styles have different benefits. For example, casement windows are going to light tight spaces and form a great seal, which are more energy-efficient. Double-hung windows have the ability to open a top or bottom sash, making your home safe for kids and pets that could press up against a screen.
Pick the Frame Material
You need to pick a frame material that you will see on the inside of your home, as well as the cladding that protects the window on the outside of your home. Vinyl is a popular material because it has great performance and is affordable. Wood is often selected because of its beauty but is more expensive. Wood also requires maintenance to seal the wood and keep it in good condition.
Pick the Upgrades
You will have some options for upgrades, with some options that will and will not impact the performance. Fancy hardware and pre-painted wood frames are going to be costly but not necessary due to not improving the performance. Focus on features like low-e coatings on the glass, which reflect heat. Double-pane glass can provide better insulation by trapping argon gas between the panes.
Understand the Numbers
If it comes down to comparing the numbers, it helps to know what you should be looking for. The U-factor defines how well the window keeps heat inside your home, with a lower number being better. Solar heat gain coefficient defines how well a window blocks heat from the sun, with a lower number also being better. Visible light transmission is how much light the glass allows into a home, with a high number allowing more light.
Meet with a window installation contractor for more tips on selecting new windows, especially if you have questions about energy-efficient windows.