Posted by: livesunny | February 24, 2010

Save Money with new Windows!

One of the easiest and most energy saving upgrades that we can do to our homes is upgrading the windows.  Old windows are hard to open, have air leaks, & just look terrible.  That whistling sound that you hear when it’s windy outside is air coming into your house through those windows.  The temperature drop that you experience walking in front of one of your windows in the winter time is your heating bill going up!  Let’s face it, houses settle, wood rots, paint chips, and, half the time, the windows that we have weren’t the best to begin with.

Old windows can make for a costly energy loss each month.  Unfortunately, many people never notice because the change is gradual.  A dollar here or there over the years adds up pretty quickly.  An old leaky or inefficient window is like leaving your refrigerator door standing wide open all day and night.  Now think about how many windows you have in your house.  How many refrigerator doors do you have standing open?  Luckily, this is an easy fix.  Window replacements are one of the best upgrades that you can do to your home.  Not only will you save energy immediately but your home value goes up as well!  It’s a win-win situation for you.

When choosing a replacement window, there’s a few things that you should know.  There’s a lot of good window companies out there with good products but it can get confusing with everyone advertising why theirs is better.  First of all, forget about the replacement windows you see in the newspaper or on tv in the morning.  You’re probably better off with your existing windows.  You have to remember that every company out there is in business to make money.  Once you take all the costs of buying, selling, & installing windows into account, you’re talking about a window that costs $30-40 for that company to buy.  How good of a window do you think you can really get for that?  In my opinion, not very.  Just remember the old mantra:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

One of your most common differences in replacement windows is the material that it’s made out of.  You have three primary materials:  wood, vinyl, & a wood/vinyl composite.  Wood is pretty simple.  It’s what many people already have so we’re used to it.  It looks good and is strong.  Unfortunately, wood rots and requires maintenance.  The wood/vinyl composite is fairly new and is primarily in higher-end windows.  It gets rid of some of the maintenance but isn’t as strong and can get pretty expensive.  Since it’s made from what’s basically dust, consistency can be an issue in lower end windows.  Vinyl is pretty well known now for replacement windows because it’s maintenance free and can provide great insulation value but there are different levels of vinyl used.  While we all want to be green, recycled vinyl isn’t the greatest for our windows.  Recycled vinyl isn’t very strong so multiple layers are needed.  It also fades over time so your replacement windows will need to be replaced.  Virgin vinyl is the other alternative and is one of the best choices.  It doesn’t fade and is stronger than recycled vinyl.  You also don’t have to worry about rot or maintenance.  It can also be used in multiple layers or channels like recycled vinyl as well so your insulation value can be very high.

Another feature that separates windows is the kind of glass used.  If you’re buying replacement windows, you don’t want anything other than double-pane insulated glass.  Single pane glass just offers no benefit unless you literally just have a hole in the wall.  Many companies offer coatings or glass additives that can make a big impact.  Low-E glass helps to block ultraviolet radiation so it does a much better job of keeping the sun’s heat out in the summer.  Most window manufacturer’s “specialty” glass is just low-e glass combined with a tint of some kind.  Make sure to find out exactly what you’re getting.

So how do you know exactly what you’re getting?  Ask about it.  When you have companies come out to give you a quote, tell them that you want to see a window sample.  How sturdy is it?  How heavy is it?  We tend to associate heavy with quality and windows are one area where that’s true.  A heavy vinyl window is very likely to be a better window than a light vinyl window.  Does the window hold it’s shape if you push on it?  If not, how well built do you really think it is?  Also tell the person giving you a quote that you want to see a corner sample.  This will show you how the window is built.  Vinyl windows should have a LOT of hollow pockets in the frame.  The more pockets, the better it’s going to be at insulating your home from what’s outside both in temperature AND noise.  Can you warp the frame at all?  Again, this is a sign of a poorly built window.  Finally, tell the window rep. that you want a glass demonstration.  This SHOULD involve a heat lamp and a few different glass samples.  This will show you how well the glass that’s going in your windows performs.  Feel how much heat is coming through the glass.  You should be able to hold your hand directly in front of the glass and heat lamp without any discomfort.

Well, I hope this helps a bit.  Personally, I’ve never been more impressed with any windows more than the new windows from Four Seasons Sunrooms but whoever you choose, make sure you’re getting the right window for your home.



  1. Hey guys,

    Great blog! I picked this up off of a google alert.

    Good luck,

    Pat Marron

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