In the past, having to buy window replacements simply meant visiting a glazier and having them make the type of windows you wanted. Today, there are many different types of windows you can get depending on what your needs are. This has both a good and a bad side. The good side is that since you have a lot more variety, it will be easier to end up with window replacements that fit your life perfectly. However, the vast array of products you can get might make you overwhelmed, and it might actually make it more difficult to make a decision on what type of windows to get.
One of the ways of avoiding this is by understanding the types of windows you can get. This does not mean knowing the technical details about each window type in detail, but having an understanding of the specifications you might need to ask for when ordering the windows. Some of these include:
One of the terms you might come across when shopping for the windows is emissivity. In a nutshell, this refers to how resistant a window is to conducting heat between the inside and outside of a home. In a home that is in a very cold climate, you might need to reduce the amount of heat lost to the environment. This will not only make the house more comfortable, but also reduce how much you spend on keeping the house warm. Getting low emissivity windows will facilitate this. Low emissivity windows also resist the opposite, which is transmitting too much heat from a hot environment into a house that is cool.
R value and U factor ratings
These are ratings that define how the window will perform in different circumstances. The R value is a description of how well a particular type of window insulates. It is normally given in values ranging from 0.3 to over three. Usually, the higher the rating the more insulating the window is. This should therefore be the rating to look out for when you are interested in replacing windows for the purposes of energy conservation in your home.
The U factor describes how well the glass is at keeping the heat in. Typically, lower U factor numbers are better, since it means that the glass keeps in most of the heat. When shopping, you should aim to get glass that has a U rating of between 1.1 and 0.3 to gain the maximum effect. Some of the methods that are used to improve the U rating of the glass include double or triple glazing.
This refers to how many panes there are in each of the windows. Traditionally, windows are usually made to have a single pane separating the interior of the house with the exterior. A double or triple glazed glass is one that is made of two or three panes which are parallel to each other, and which are separated by a layer of air.
The most important benefit of having this set up is insulation. The air between the panes provides a buffer through which heat can’t be transmitted to and from the environment. The space is usually hermetically sealed to ensure that the air within it does not circulate with the outside. If you intend to use double or triple glazed glass for insulation, it would need to be specially made for this.
You will usually need to specify the type of frame you need to get for your replacement windows when ordering them. There are various methods of deciding what type of frame to get, the most important of which is the aesthetic effect you need them to have. You also need to consider other practical issues such as how easy they are to keep clean as well as how secure they make your home.
That said, it’s still important to know of the common materials from which the frames are made so that it’s easier for you to decide which one to get. The most popular include:
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass frames are new to the industry. They are usually the most expensive ones out there, but using them increases the R value of the window. They are therefore ideal for energy saving.
- Wood frames: Wood is naturally an insulator, so these frames also have a high R value. Depending on how they are made, they are also likely to have excellent aesthetic effects as well.
- Vinyl: Vinyl is cheap and easy to manufacture, and for this reason there are many designs you can get. They are also known to improve the energy efficiency of the window.
- Fibrex: This is a combination of vinyl and wood.
All in all, once you understand all the technical details about windows, you will be in a better position to order replacement windows that will meet all your needs.