At The Window Source we believe that informed customers are happy customers!
There are many options for replacement windows in the marketplace today that you will come across in your research. While many of these companies are reputable, we have seen some bait-and-switch tactics being presented by salesman who misrepresent their products. Below are some tips to help you compare different options and avoid paying more than you have to:
1. Use the NFRC label to determine the energy saving value:
This is probably the most important factor in choosing one window over another, because it levels the playing field on real energy saving capabilities. Every major window manufacturer submits their windows to the non-biased National Fenestration Rating Council to obtain energy saving ratings, and they place those ratings on the window label.
On the NFRC label you will find four rating numbers: The U-Factor, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, The Visible Transmittance and the Air Leakage. The U-Factor indicates the insulation value with a measurement of how much heat loss occurs through the window. The lower the U-Factor number is, the better the insulation value (and hence, the better the window).
There are a lot of companies that charge more for windows that don’t represent a better energy saving value. To make an equal comparison you can use this simple equation:
Price of the window ÷ U-Factor = Insulation value ratio.
2. The material of the window frame is a very important factor:
While most manufacturers have migrated to vinyl window construction, there are other options that you may find in the marketplace to consider.
The latest generation of window technology prefers a synthetic, vinyl frame material because it provides several key advantages. Vinyl is a non-porous material, so it does not allow air or moisture to seep through. Vinyl is also less affected by heating and cooling expansion, so it upholds its shape and rigidity where sealed to the glass. Vinyl is easily molded, and therefore allows for advanced chambering and grooves to be applied to the outside of the frame, further providing insulation and restriction of undesired air flow.
Vinyl windows can also be ordered with a variety of woodgrain veneers to provide a desired cosmetic effect offered in wooden windows. Vinyl windows can also be fitted behind your existing wood trim to keep the desired interior appearance while providing incredible increases in energy savings.
Aluminum or metal window frames, common in new home construction, are sometimes cheaper, but their energy saving value is greatly diminished due to the insulation properties. Metal heats and cools very rapidly, and must be welded or screwed together, allowing for undesired air flow.
Wooden window frames do provide a better insulation value than metal windows, but their subjectivity to weather and moisture allow undesired expanding and condensing and exposure to decay (rotting) over time. Wooden windows do not offer the advanced chambering and enhanced insulation found in some vinyl windows.
3. Triple pane windows are not always the best solution for the money:
Multiple glass panes do offer an advanced protection against unwanted airflow, but often the higher price of a triple paned window does not offer a significant enough increased energy savings over a double paned window. In other words, just because it is the most expensive window, it does not mean that it is necessarily the best window to meet your needs. Energy Star has a published chart of recommended U-Factor for the region you live in for maximum savings. You can use this to determine the U-Factor that will be sufficient for the climate where you live.
4. The Value of a Window is not necessarily determined by the price:
There are many window companies that charge hundreds of dollars more for windows that offer the same energy-saving value and aesthetic appeal as competitor windows. We have seen examples of in-home estimates where our competitor was charging $650 for the exact same window that we sell at $250. The only difference, literally, was the price. Most major windows are manufactured to similar standards, using the same technology, and often in the same exact factory. Do your research so that you don’t get bamboozled and pay more than you should for the exact same thing. Click here to get a free estimate from the Window Source.
5. Proper installation is just as important as the window you choose
The window itself will insulate against the surface area it covers, but more energy can be lost through the seals around the window than anywhere else. Proper installation is key in making sure all airflow is eliminated. Be sure to ask about the experience level of your window installer and ensure that they are using a low expansion spray foam to seal remaining gaps between the frame and your home. If you believe you are losing energy around the frame of your windows, technicians at The Window Source of The Ozarks can help you check the installation quality and test for leaks.