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Replacement Windows Buying Guide

When buying new windows, here are some things to think about:

Window Glazing Material

Window glazing material

  • Technology is increasing, even for windows, and it may be confusing if you don't know what's going on. See if the window is performance certified with an NFRC label or an Energy Star label.
  • The U-value of a window refers to its insulation properties, the lower the number the more insulated it is. Low-E glass, used to lower this U-value, is glass coated with an extremely thin layer of metal or metallic oxide. You can't see this layer since it appears transparent, but it blocks radiant heat flow by preventing heat from being transferred from one pane of glass to the other in a double-pane window.
  • Depending on your climate, you'll need a different window technology to allow the best possible energy conservation. For example, if you live in a cold climate, get a U-value of 0.35 or lower. This window will have double glazing and low-solar-gain low-e coating.

Actual window measurements

  • Older houses don't always have standard-sized windows and should be measured by the contractor before you order. If your windows aren't standard, you can sometimes get a custom size.

Window air leakage rates

  • A good window will have a leakage rate of 0.3 cubic feet per minute or less.

Window company reputation

  • You should be able to obtain references from the company or contractor you'll be buying from. It always helps to get an unbiased opinion, so make sure you actually contact the references you're given.
  • Look at several companies before you make your choice and make sure you understand the contract.
  • When someone is installing windows in your house, they should also have proper insurance.

Window type

  • Vinyl and aluminum window frames are low-maintenance, but something else may be more to your taste, so be informed concerning your options.
  • There is also more than one type of window. The most common types are double-hung (sashes slide up and down to open) and casement (open with a crank).

Time of year

  • If it takes a few days to get the windows replaced, the time of year might make a big difference! Bring this into consideration before deciding to undertake such a task.

Also look at When to Replace Windows

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