Replacement window terminologyLearn the following terminology for replacement windows, and you’ll be able to follow along with your contractor like a pro when he comes out to install them.
1. Windows U-ValueU-values measure how well the unit insulates against heat. Similar to the R-values you may have heard of to describe your home’s insulation, U-values describe how well your window is able to slow down heat transfer. Because your window is transparent, it can’t completely stop the transfer of heat – only delay it a little. Unlike R-values, however, higher numbers aren’t better. In fact, the lower your U-value, the better the insulating job it’s going to do. Now windows with lower U-values may cost more up front, but they also tend to save you more on energy costs down the road. So if you live in a climate that has you running the furnace or air conditioner a lot, it may make sense to invest in some windows with lower U-values.
2. Windows Argon GasThe vast majority of windows that are sold today are double-paned, or have two panes of glass with a gap between them. This gap can be filled with plain air, or it can be filled with an insulating, colorless gas. Argon is the most frequently used insulating gas in the industry, and many window makers now use argon gas-filled windows as their standard. Typically, adding argon to your windows will increase the insulating power by about ½ of an R value, which can help offset some energy costs if all other things are equal.
3. Windows Low eAnother insulating term you’ll hear concerning replacement windows is a Low E coating. Low E stands for Low Emissivity or Low Emission, and refers to how well the sun is able to penetrate through your window to reach inside your home. Low E is a metallic coating that is applied to your windows at the factory – it is not a film that can be applied later, and it does not come off over time. Having Low E coated windows can lower the amount of UV rays and sun’s heat entering your home by about 25%. Areas where the sun shines directly into your home, and homes in hotter climates can definitely benefit from having Low E glass on the windows.
4. Windows Foam FilledWindow frames are by and large hollow, with many windows relying on the air inside to act as an insulator to help stop heat transfer through the window frame itself. Some manufacturers, however, take this a step further and fill their frames with insulating foam to help further cut down on energy loss.
5. Windows Wrapped with aluminumWrapping refers to the method of installing an aluminum window frame so that it wraps around the outside sills and casing. This is usually done with custom painted frames that are designed to match the home’s exterior. It can give you a better fit and a nicer looking window, but you need to ask for it; it isn’t always part of the standard installation package.
6. Windows Roll Form AluminumMost aluminum window frames can be made in one of two ways – roll form and extruded. Roll form aluminum is a little thinner than extruded aluminum, and it’s finished prior to bending and shaping. It can cost you a little less, but some people feel the extruded material may last longer and hold up better over time.
7. Windows Heat GainIf your salesperson or contractor begins talking about heat gain, this refers to the amount of heat that is either absorbed from the outdoors or a result of direct sunlight. In hot climates, you want to reduce the amount of heat gain to keep your windows from heating up your home during the day. Do Your Homework on your replacement windows
The more you know going into your replacement window purchase, the more informed a decision you can make regarding your home and your needs. Take the time to learn the terminology most frequently used when comparing your potential new windows, and know that you’re making the best decisions possible.
For any other tips on how to make your home remodeling a breeze, Classic Construction is available for all your Richmond remodeling services. To learn more, give us a call at 804-776-5070 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.
Subscribe to Classic Construction's Blog