A: Some tell-tale signs are: draftiness, sealed or painted shut windows, and condensation, ice or frost collecting on window panes.
Q: How do I know what a fair price is for new windows?
A: Getting estimates and quotes from licensed window experts saves you time and money because you can compare prices, quality and service with reputable companies prior to buying windows.
Q: How much household energy do leaky, energy inefficient windows use?
A: About 25% - according to the U.S. Department of Energy
Q: I've heard that window replacement isn't rocket science. Why shouldn't I try to do it myself?
A: Your local home improvement store does not typically stock replacement windows off-the-rack. They might have new construction windows, but these are meant for additions and new structures. Some companies offer replacement windows for DIY but only by special order. The main problem with self-installation is exterior cladding (frame inside a shell) because special skills and tools are required to properly seal and match the color of the windows.
Q: What does "low-E" mean?
A: Low-E or low emissivity glass has a reflective coating. In cold weather, it holds in the heat by reflecting it back to its source. When cold, the low-E coated glass blocks UV rays and permits 95% of natural light to pass through it.
Q: How much can energy efficient or Energy Star rated windows cut my utility
A: As much as 15%
Q: What is an Energy Star rated window?
A: The Energy Star insignia on the label means a window has met the U.S. government's standards for high energy efficiency.
Q: What windows are best in severe weather?
A: Shatterproof glass is highly recommended because it has two to four times the strength of standard window glass. It is comprised of a sheet of plastic sandwiched between two panes of glass. Not only does shatterproof glass offer better protection against bad weather and reduce noise pollution and energy loss, but it also enhances home security.
Q: How long should new replacement windows last?
A: About 20 years - according to many window manufacturers
Q: What are the differences between wood-framed windows and aluminum or vinyl?
A: Wood framed windows are wonderful as far as insulation but cost more and need geater maintenance. They can also swell or contract with temperature changes. Aluminum windows on the other hand are relatively affordable, durable and require little maintenance. They do not, however, offer good insulation. Vinyl is the least expensive window type. Its drawbacks are that it can fade with time. The most expensive window is the "clad" style. It has a wood frame inside an aluminum or vinyl shell. The wood provides better insulation while the aluminum or vinyl shell makes for less maintenance.
Q: Are there any other types of materials used in windows?
A: Yes, steel and fiberglass. Steel is a poor insulator and pricier. Fiberglass (made of fiberglass, cloth and epoxy resins) is growing in popularity because it is strong and, unlike vinyl, can be easily painted.
Q: I'm confused - what's the difference between "R-value," "U-factor" and "SHGC?"
A: Heat flow is measured with R-value. The greater the R-value, the more efficient the window is. U-factor, by contrast, determines heat transfer from inside to outside a home. Lastly, SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) indicates the amount of solar heat your home is absorbing. A lower SHGC translates into less heat absorption.
Q: What is the best window type for privacy, say for a bathroom?
A: There are several. Special glass treatments that include frosted and bubbled glass and glass block are alternatives to traditional window treatments.
Q: Speaking of window treatments--how do I prevent them from getting caught in window cranks?
A: Casement and awning units now have fold-down handles and give your blinds, shades and other window treatments plenty of room to maneuver.
Q: What is a suspended particle device?
A: It is dimmer switch that tints glass to control the amount of light passing through it. The device can be used on either existing or new windows.
Q: Did I hear right? Is there now a self-cleaning window?
A: Yes. It works by breaking down organic matter that collects on the glass with a special coating. In fact, window coatings in general also decrease energy costs, reduce glare and block UV rays that fade windows, fabrics and flooring.
The bottom line: We make it easy for homeowners to save money on America's most popular window brands and styles. Start enjoying your new home windows and also save money on utility bills! See how you can qualify for your window tax credit on energy efficient windows.
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