During my family’s first winter in our new home, we discovered a nasty surprise: our windows were very drafty. That was one thing we hadn’t thought about when making our buying decision but with the costs of heating and cooling our home skyrocketing we knew we needed to do something. We decided to purchase home replacement windows.
While I had anticipated doing the job myself, it didn’t take long to realize from my research that this was a task well beyond my abilities. I had to call in a contractor. Before I did that, I completed plenty of research to make sure I knew exactly what I wanted. Let me give you some advice that will help you do the same.
Home Replacement Windows: Plenty of Choices
As with almost any part of your home, your options are going to be enormous. One of the most popular options is vinyl replacement windows. They have decent insulation capabilities and have been tweaked to further improve their energy efficiency. Fiberglass is another option, but it is the most costly of your choices.
Wood has traditionally been the standard material used for framing. While it does serve as a good insulator, it’s not cost-effective or flexible enough to meet our modern needs. Basically, your best bet is to go the vinyl route.
If you choose vinyl replacement windows, you should consider having windows filled with a conductive gas to further increase their insulation capabilities. Usually that space is filled with nitrogen or ordinary air but you can now choose to fill the space with argon or krypton instead. These gases help reduce the transfer of heat between your home and the outdoors which means controlling your climate will require less energy. Krypton works better but costs more than argon but both will cost you more initially even though the energy savings will pay for the difference in the long run.
Home Replacement Windows: The Next Step
Replacement windows can be a very expensive, especially if you’re trying to do all of your windows at one time. That’s why I would recommend sitting down and coming up with a budget for the project. If your budget is very tight, you might be better off replacing a few windows now and the rest later. Also, plan on having the work done during the fall, spring, or early parts of summer and winter. You don’t want to wait until the weather is bad (i. e. hot, cold, snowy, rainy, etc.) since your house is going to be window-less for a period of time while the work is being done.
Once you decide what type of replacement windows you want you should start shopping around and seeing what different manufacturers have available. Prices will vary but, generally, you’ll pay more for quality. Look closely at the warranties being offered by the manufacturers, too. If a limited lifetime warranty is offered then pay attention to those limitations. A warranty for the life of the window is great but if it doesn’t cover much of what could go wrong then it’s worthless.
My advice is to start doing your homework in summer or winter so you’ll be ready to move ahead with the installation of you home replacement windows during spring or fall.