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The Qualities of the Best Replacement Windows on the Market – Part 2: The Features

When searching for a window, You might not  place too much thought into the window’s features. After all, windows perform a basic function, right? ? Well you might want to revisit your thinking a bit. While it  used to be that traditional windows didn’t offer much in terms of features, the windows of today are so much more than ventilation devices. You might be surprised to learn the many newfangled features that modern windows have to offer.  To make the most of these features, you should first know what exactly to look for.

The Features

Energy Efficiency

Most homes require air conditioning to stay cool during summer and warm in winter. Some homes also have heaters (or a heating system) to supplement the warmth of a traditional fireplace, which unfortunately no longer suffices  in heating the entire home by itself. Unfortunately, heating and cooling requires a lot of energy. In fact, these devices contribute to over 50% of the home’s energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

With the ever-increasing cost of energy, it’s imperative that every part of the home conserves energy as much as possible. Energy is usually lost because of poor wall insulation, roof insulation and through doors and windows.

Modern windows are now made to be energy-efficient in the sense that they have the ability to reduce the home’s energy consumption. They prevent the loss of energy by preventing extra heat from coming in or being lost through the glass panel and frame. Today’s windows usually have at least two gas-filled glass panels and a low-E coating, which are features designed specifically to reduce unwanted energy loss. The additional panels, gas and coating all contribute to the energy-efficient properties of the window.

Rating Energy Efficiency: The NFRC Ratings

As you might have guessed, not all energy-efficient windows have the same rating. This means that not every type of window can save you the same amount of money on your energy bills. To identify the window with the highest energy-efficient rating, you’ll need to search for the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Label.

The label usually has four parts: U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Air Leakage (lower ratings indicate a more energy-efficient product)  and Visible Transmittance, where you’ll want to look for the highest number. This measures the amount of light that is allowed to pass  through the window, so the higher the rating, the better.

Durability

Aside from energy efficiency, the other features that you’ll need to look for in modern windows is durability, and you will get this from high-quality frames, made from materials such as Fibrex. Fibrex frames are highly durable and are designed to withstand all weather conditions. More importantly, Fibrex frames require less maintenance, and won’t lose their luster and beauty even after years of service.

Now that you know what features to look for, it’s time to learn where to look!  Tune in for the next post.

 

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