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Windows

Your house may not be able to talk to you, but nevertheless, it gives you signs when something’s not right. A home’s windows are particularly communicative. Although they don’t last forever, high-quality, well-maintained windows could last for 20 years or more, but there are many factors at play.

If your windows are more than a few decades old. Look carefully to what they’re telling you, so you’ll know when they need to be replaced. Here’s what to be on the lookout for.

They’re damaged, warped, or broken.

It’s sometimes possible to repair a window instead of replacing it. If your window’s problem is minor, such as needing new weatherstripping or hardware, a repair might be the best option. But replacing a damaged, warped, or broken window sash or frame is almost always preferred to attempting a repair. “Even if the windows are still operable, they can develop problems. Do your windows fog up, draughty, or do they stick when you try to open or close them, do they refuse to stay open? If your windows are communicating in those ways, they’re telling you to replace them.

Reduce your energy bill.

Windows provide some heat in the winter by letting in sunlight. But a draughty windows can cause your energy bills to be about 10% to 25% higher. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient ones can reduce your heating and cooling bills. Bonus: If you’re considering listing your home for sale, those new windows and the resulting energy cost savings can be a big selling point. But don’t assume all windows are the same it’s important to consider your specific needs. One big factor is your location and ensure the proper Energy Star Certification for your area.

Your home needs a makeover

Windows are one of the most prominent features of a home, and if they look worn, your house will too. Look to see whether the colour is fading or the window material is warping, or whether old screens or storm windows detract from the curb appeal of your home design. Considerations are a close second to quality when selecting new windows, and the overall vision or design theme of a home or space should be a driving force in the window selection process. While you’re upgrading your home’s appearance, you might also wish to change the type of window from a fixed sash to a window that opens. This way, you can create a more comfortable interior and improve airflow through your home. Install larger windows to increase a room’s natural light which has aesthetic and health benefits.

Energy Savings & Environmental Impact

New windows will likely have a significant impact on heating and cooling your home. It is estimated that an Energy Star rated windows can deliver a 7 – 15% savings on your heating and cooling costs. This is because of the latest materials, superior design and manufacturing processes. Vinyl windows provide the best value for a material that will last a long time, are easy to maintain, and provides heat insulation. And not only will you see a decrease in your heating and cooling costs, but vinyl windows are also the most environmentally friendly choice. Vinyl windows last longer compared to the other types of materials available. 

Anatomy of a Window

Before you buy replacement windows, take a few minutes to understand the different parts of a window, and which ones are most important when choosing the right ones for your home. Here are the most important parts of residential windows and some terminology you will encounter.

Frame

This is the outer structure of the window. The horizontal portion of the frame is called the sill and the vertical part is called the jamb.

Sash

The moveable part of the window that opens and closes. The horizontal part of the sash is called the rail and the vertical part is called the stile.

Glass / Glazing

The most important part of a replacement window. Most windows today are double insulated, which means that there are two panes of glass separated by a thin layer of gas. The glass usually has a coating, which helps with thermal insulation and affects how the window handles sunlight.

Grilles

Decorative pieces that give the window some design. Grilles that are mounted between the panes of glass make the window easier to clean because there’s only one window to clean, not multiple panes.

U-Factor

How well insulated a window is and how well it will keep the summer heat out and

the winter warmth in, the lower the U – Factor the better.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) 

How much heat from sun light the window lets in. Solar heat isn’t good in the

summer, but is good in the winter. So getting the right SHGC is a balancing act.

Visible Transmittance (VT) 

How much visible light the window allows through. Different glass coatings permit

different amounts of light to travel through the glass.

Air Leakage

How much air a window lets through. Generally, you want a low air leakage rating,

ideally between 0.1 – 0.3.

Condensation Resistance (CR)

Nobody wants condensation on their windows, and some windows are better at

resisting the formation of condensation than others. CR is a number between 1 – 100,

and the higher the number the better windows are in resisting condensation.

Installation Matters

How a window is installed is just as important as the construction of the window itself. Even the best windows won’t perform well if they’re poorly installed. Make sure your Installer uses the proper materials to ensure a quality seal around your new windows. This will ensure your getting the best efficiency and energy savings that your new windows have to offer. 

Check these links for more info :

Sill to Sash –  A complete guide to windows and doors

Energy Star Ratings for windows and doors

Green Ontario Fund

Seymour Windows and Doors

Northstar Windows