Window replacement offers the perfect opportunity to improve your home’s overall look. You get to match the right window style with your home’s architecture, plus there’s a wide selection of customization options available, ranging from interior-exterior color combos to hardware finishes and grille patterns. Given these choices, increasing your home’s curb appeal and boosting its value is a no-brainer.
Extensive design options, however, aren’t the only advances you should take into account when investing in a window replacement. Breakthroughs in window technology also provide considerable energy-saving advantages. If you want to make the most of your window upgrade, make sure to keep increased comfort and energy efficiency in mind. Check out these advances in window technology available today and how they benefit you:
Windows have come a long way. For a long time now, they’ve been able to withstand extreme weather, but weren’t great at keeping indoor temperatures stable. This is no longer an issue today, given how most replacement windows are designed to be durable and insulative.
A window’s framing material affects how well it performs. Classic choices like wood, vinyl and aluminum are still popular, but there’s a newer option that’s fast gaining traction among many homeowners–composite. In addition to being considerably stable, composite frames are known for having the same, or even better features of other framing materials.
Why Choose Composite Windows?
While wood frames are durable and have great insulating properties, they’re also prone to moisture damage, meaning they’ll require more maintenance to keep them looking and performing well. If you need maintenance-free performance from your new windows, then vinyl is a good choice. The downside? Vinyl frames warp when exposed to extreme thermal and weather changes. You won’t have these problems with aluminum, which is both durable and almost maintenance-free. That is, if you don’t mind it being a poor insulator.
Composite windows, on the other hand, can address these weaknesses, bringing together the best features of wood, vinyl and aluminum. This allows for replacement windows that don’t crack, corrode, pit or rot. Unlike vinyl, composites retain their shape under extreme heat or cold. What’s more is that they keep durable, airtight seals that help prevent significant energy loss. Additionally, composites can be shaped into any window style; its great strength allows for windows with thinner frames and more expansive glass areas.
Be especially careful with your choice of window glass. Like framing material, the right glass package can contribute greatly to your home’s indoor comfort and energy efficiency. Some of the options include conventional dual-pane, reflective or tinted glass–but you’ll want to hear more about one of the best options you can get right now.
Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Glass
This glass type has a microscopically thin, invisible metallic oxide layer coating its surface. Choosing low-emissivity (low-E) glass for your replacement windows offers a host of benefits, including:
- Better Thermal Comfort. Low-E glass can help reduce heat transfer in your home via your windows, allowing for a more thermally comfortable property. Because it keeps your living spaces cooler in the summer, you’ll rely less on your air conditioning, which in turn, means lower cooling bills. How about during colder months? Not to worry–low-E glass bounces heat back to its source, so it remains trapped inside your home during winter.
- Great Sun Protection. Regular window glass doesn’t do much in mitigating the amount of sunlight that enters your home, causing fading on interior surfaces. Low-E glass can help deal with this by blocking damaging ultraviolet rays, ensuring your walls, flooring and furniture remains vibrant and intact.
- Solar Heat Gain Control. Low-E glass can also keep heat from the sun at bay, filtering out infrared rays to prevent passive heating, all while not impeding levels of natural light to let you make the most of daylighting.
Gas Fills and Spacers
Aside from framing material and glass, don’t forget to consider the type of gas fill and spacer included with your new windows. They can optimize the air space between your window panes, improving its thermal performance. The recommended combination is:
- Stainless Steel Spacer. It is stronger than aluminum, but uses less material while still keeping glass stable. This helps prevent window seals from breaking.
- Argon Gas Blend. To improve your windows’ insulative value, look for stainless steel spacers paired with argon blend gas fills. They’re not prone to seal failure or discoloration, increasing the energy efficiency of the window unit.
A good tip to know whether or not your replacement windows are truly energy-efficient is to look for the ENERGY STAR and NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) labels on them. These show a window unit’s energy performance ratings, giving you an idea as to how energy-efficient a replacement is.
Make the most of your window replacement by considering the available advances in window technology. In addition to their long-lasting performance and energy-saving advantages, they’re also a surefire way of increasing your home’s overall value.
Joe Ronzino is the president of Renewal by Andersen of Long Island. He has vast experience in the window replacement and home remodeling industries, going all the way back to the mid-70s. With the company’s superior products and services, he seeks to help homeowners make more informed decisions about their window replacement project. For updates from Joe, check out the company blog!