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Top 4 Things to Consider When Shopping for Replacement Windows

Top 4 Things to Consider When Shopping for Replacement Windows

Windows can increase the curb appeal of your home, make your home quieter, and make your home more energy efficient! But, that only applies if they're in good condition.

If you’re feeling a draft near your windows, receiving higher than normal energy bills, having difficulty opening and closing your windows, or noticing condensation on your windows, it could be time to replace them. But there are so many options out there to choose from. How do you pick?

Here's a list of top things to consider when shopping for replacement windows.

Your Home’s Architecture and Landscaping

When considering replacement windows, it’s important to take into consideration your home’s architecture, simply because some windows just don’t look right with some architecture. For example, putting contemporary windows on a bungalow home may not get you the look you want.

You also need to consider what type of windows you need, specifically how they are hung. For example, double hung windows have a sash that slides up and one that slides down so that both the upper and lower portion of the window can be opened. Single hung windows have one sash that only slides up.

Casement windows are similar to doors and have a crank that opens one side of the window outward. Awning windows open outward using a hinge at the top of the window, whereas a hopper-style window opens inward and has a hinge at the bottom. There are also special windows like bay or bow windows and sliding windows.

Double Hung Window. Single Hung Window. Casement window.
Awning Window.    Hopper-Style Window.

You need to consider landscaping when you choose a window, too. If you have bushes or trees around the windows, double or single hung windows may be preferable because it prevents the sash from hitting the foliage.

Energy Efficiency

Windows can make a huge impact on your home’s energy efficiency. Most windows today are double pane and insulated with a gas such as argon or krypton. This helps prevent heat transference, keeping the cool air in your home during the summer months while keeping your home warm during the winter.

Windows can also be made with different types of glass as well as various coatings. What you need to make your home energy-efficient will depend on climate, the orientation of your home and where the windows are placed, and your home’s design and floor plan.

In some cases, you may want different types of windows in different parts of your home. For instance, installing the most energy-efficient windows on the side of your home that gets direct sunlight throughout the day is a great way to cut down your energy bill.

Window Safety

Replacement windows should also ensure your home is safe for you and your family. If you currently have older windows that are single pane or have locks that don’t work properly, it’s definitely time to upgrade. Replacement windows can help prevent burglaries and accidents, especially if you have small children at home who may be curious about the outdoors when the windows are open.

Maintenance Requirements

Replacement windows should be low maintenance. Unfortunately, there are no windows that don't need cleaning or clean themselves, but some windows do need more maintenance than others. Maintenance is dependent on the type of frame your window has. A wood frame requires the most maintenance to keep it from deteriorating. Vinyl and aluminum frames also require more maintenance and are not as energy efficient.

If you can afford to buy a composite frame, also called Fibrex, it requires the least amount of upkeep and is durable and energy efficient. Fiberglass is also lower maintenance and energy-efficient, although it can deteriorate over time.

Don't want to spend full price on a new set of windows? Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore frequently carries windows at our two locations in St. Paul and New Brighton. We can help you decide what style to choose, too. 

Upcycle with the ReStore

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