When choosing new windows for your home, the options out there can be a little bit overwhelming. In the first place, it can be hard to determine which window style will not only look best with the overall feel and design of your home, but will also function the best for you. Secondly, choosing the right window is essential to the energy-efficiency of your home, and there are a lot of small details that can make a big impact on your heating and cooling bills. To help make the choice a little bit easier, here are 5 things to consider when selecting new windows for your next renovation, and how you can use this opportunity to save money—and the environment—in a big way.
You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll start to see energy savings once you make the switch to a more energy-efficient window. Photo courtesy Deposit Photos
1. Functionality and Use
Tired of the Hulk-like strength it takes to force open your old windows? Everybody’s been there. Luckily, a lot of improvements have been made over the years to make the ease of operation the norm, rather than the exception. For example, glider windows sweep open side-to-side, awning windows pivot on a central hinge, and casement windows open completely outward. But don’t think that these windows lack durability just because they’re easy to use. In addition to being made from the strongest materials, all of these styles feature secure locking systems and extra-tight seals to ensure there are no gaps that air can escape from. This thermal efficiency is what helps you save on those energy bills—which is always a big score!
2. Ease of Care
Most windows today are easier to clean than ever before, thanks to thoughtful construction and innovative materials that don’t stain, peel or crack. Awning and glider windows are particularly great options for the upper floors of your home, where it can be difficult to get at any spots or smudges on the outer panes. Both options have removable sashes which allow you to clean both sides without any trouble. Plus, the overall easy of care means gunk and debris has no chance to build up in the nooks and crannies, which can otherwise compromise the insulating properties of your windows. A small detail sure, but one that can make a big difference over time.
Most of all, with brand new windows, you’ll be able to enjoy and fall in the love with the views from your home all over again. Photo courtesy Deposit Photos.
Remodeling can be a great time to finally increase the size of your windows. Larger pane windows, or architectural bow or bay windows, allow more light into your home which can totally change the mood of your rooms and even make small spaces appear larger. However, because of their size, larger windows can let in more UV rays which can damage and discolor walls and fabrics within the room. Consider energy-efficient glasses like Low E II, Lo?³-366 and Tempered, which are coated with metal oxides that can block these rays, provide overall greater insulation and prevent any sun damage from ruining your decor.
Not all windows are made equal. Traditional materials like vinyl and aluminum aren’t very durable and can wear, warp and crack over time. For your upgrade, consider installing fiberglass windows, which are extremely resistant to seal failures and also never peel, rust, dent or discolor. Increased durability means you’ll never have to worry about your windows being compromised, and you won’t have to re-invest in new windows after a few years like you would with those made of lower-quality materials.
Installing a brand new window with any variety of interior or exterior finishes can really refresh the overall look of a room. Photo courtesy Deposit Photos.
If you live in an area with drastic and unpredictable temperature fluctuations, the constant heating and cooling of the air can cause your window to expand and contract more than normal. In old or poor-quality windows this can cause cracks, so you’ll want to consider an efficient alternative that can withstand even the wildest temperature differences without any breakage which can, again, compromise the heat retention in your home.
Now that you know the ins and outs of how your new windows can help increase your energy-efficiency, you can make a more well-informed choice that works with your home, lifestyle, and surroundings. Your local home improvement experts can also give you more advice about which windows are right for you, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask!
Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Marvin Windows NJ blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.