Installing Replacement Windows
Some home improvement projects just pay bigger dividends than others. For example, a new vinyl floor in the kitchen can do lots to improve the appearance of the space, but not much else.
On the other end of the home improvement spectrum is window replacement. Now there’s a project that has many benefits. Save for siding and roofing, new windows have the biggest impact on the overall appearance of your home. And a window’s appearance-enhancing properties isn’t only limited to the exterior. Depending upon the material and style chosen, a new window combined with new window shades can dress up the interior of a room quite nicely.
There’s more! New energy-efficient windows can make your home more comfortable year round by eliminating drafts in winter and preventing heat gain in summer. Good windows will give you the best of both worlds – allow sunshine to warm your home in the winter and prevent solar gain in the summer to keep your home cool. The net result is a more stable interior climate and reduced demand on your home comfort system – heating and air conditioning. That means less energy use, lower utility bills and home comfort equipment that won’t work as hard and, consequently will last longer. We told you that replacement windows paid big dividends!
If you’re window shopping we have two words for you: Energy Star. In 2002 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star – a government-backed program helping individuals and businesses protect the environment through superior energy efficiency — saved enough energy to power 15 million homes and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 14 million cars – all while saving seven billion dollars. Did you ever think that a home improvement that has such a positive affect on the value of your home could have such a profound affect on our environment and economy?
Here’s one for you. If all residential windows in the United States were replaced with Energy Star qualifying models, the nation would save $134 billion in energy costs over the next 15 years. Using new technology in frame materials, glass coatings, design, and gas fills, today’s Energy Star qualified windows, doors, and skylights help achieve significant energy cost savings.
Let’s study the facts:
• Energy Star qualified windows today are, on average, TWICE as efficient as the average window made only ten years ago.
• Energy Star qualified windows, doors and skylights can help reduce your energy bills up to 15%. Over the lifetime of a typical window, the return on investment can be substantial and as an added benefit, saving energy prevents pollution.
• Energy Star qualified windows, doors and skylights also provide a host of benefits, including: increased comfort, noise reduction, and protection against sun damage to carpet, vinyl wood flooring, window treatment like hunter douglas window treatments, fabrics and even artwork in your home.
Keep the following factors in mind to achieve maximum energy and pollution savings when window shopping.
1. Look for windows, doors and skylights with the Energy Star label.
2. U-factor: The rate of heat transfer either from you home or the outside through your window, door or skylight. A lower U-factor means less heat is transferred.
3. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): How much heat your house gains from the sun. A lower SHGC results in less heat gain from the sun.
4. Climate considerations: Windows, doors and skylights are tailored to fit the energy needs of the country’s four main climate regions: Northern, North/Central, South Central and Southern.
5. More energy-efficiency horsepower! All Energy Star qualified windows, doors and skylights also bear a label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which provides independent energy performance ratings by product for U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and Visible Transmittance.
When it comes to window replacement, there are three basic means of installation. They are as follows:
• Buy a retrofit window that fits inside the old wood frame. While there are many variations on this process, the basics are the same: A new frame – generally aluminum or vinyl – is custom built to fit into the old one. In retrofit installations, built-in wooden flashings reduce any water infiltration between the old and new frames. Basically these flashings work well but don’t always offer the best esthetics.
• Saw the old frame out and install the new window in a thick bed of caulking and/or foam on all four sides. This technique is used primarily for aluminum and older-type steel windows. With windows, leaks are always a primary concern, and this process has the most potential for developing leaks because caulk may shrink or separate from the frame as a result of normal house movement and settling over the years.
• Install a new window. In our opinion, window installation is the most desirable technique. It also happens to be the most disruptive and costly. All exterior wall covering gets removed; the old window is taken out completely (including the flashing) down to the studs; and the new window and flashing is nailed in place, covered with siding paper, and caulked and sealed from face of stud to exterior trim. This way, you have three or four layers of protection between the outside elements and the interior of the house.
For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.