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A Guide to Buying Replacement Windows in MN

More people are now aware of the importance of installing energy-efficient windows in their homes to help them save on energy costs. As such, it is now easier to find energy-efficient windows with features such as argon gas filled between panes as well as low-E coatings that reflect heat. While many individuals viewed such features as extras just a few years ago, now a majority of homebuilders in Minnesota consider them standard features. Newer features such as fiberglass window frames are also becoming more common.


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Installing energy-efficient replacement windows in your home not only saves you heating costs but also makes your home more comfortable to inhabit. Replacing those aging and drafty windows with new ones can significantly reduce your energy bill depending on the type of window that you replace. If your current windows are the single-glazed type, installing replacement windows can save you anywhere from 10% to 25% of your annual heating and cooling bills. Given this, it would be best to consider carefully the replacement windows you purchase for your house. Here are some important factors to consider when shopping for replacement windows:

Efficiency Ratings

Manufactures usually denote the efficiency ratings using two factors: the U-factor and the R-factor. The U-factor is a measure of how well a window conducts heat. The R-factor, on the other hand, denotes a window’s insulating ability. The two factors are, therefore, opposites. In other words, a higher R-factor corresponds with a lower U-factor and vice versa. Manufacturers typically list, and wage war over, a window’s U-factor. Typically, the lower a window’s U-factor is, the better the window can keep the home warm in winter and cool in summer. Conversely, the higher a window’s R-factor is, the better it can keep the home warm in winter and cool in summer. Most manufacturers will display the U-factor and not the R-factor of a window, and for good reason. The R-factor of most windows is generally less impressive than the U-factor. In fact, for most replacement windows, it is a mere two or three, which is the equivalent of the R-factor of walls with no insulation.

Meanwhile, manufacturers express the value of solar heat gain as a coefficient and indicate it as a fraction. In essence, it is a measure of how much of the sun’s energy a window allows into a room in the form of heat. Generally, the higher the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), then the higher the proportion of heat the window admits into a room. If your home is located in cold areas, buy windows with the highest SHGC. If you live in a warm area, look for windows with a SHGC of 0.4 or less; if you live in temperate areas buy windows with a SHGC of 0.55 or less.

Another energy efficiency factor to consider is the Visible Transmittance (VT). The Visible Transmittance is the amount of visible light that a window admits into a house. Therefore, always buy windows with the highest VT value.

If you have any questions regarding efficiency ratings pleas feel free to contact Craftmasters Replacement Windows MN.

Installing Replacement Windows

The manner in which you install your replacement windows is likely to play a huge role in determining whether you will achieve the energy cost savings you desire as well as how good the windows will look. Major window companies including Andersen, Pella and Marvin train and also certify their own window installers. It is, therefore, a good idea to use the same contractor from whom you purchased the window, for your installation as well. Before beginning work on your installation, make sure that you carefully read the instructions. Ensure that your contractor pays attention to the type, placement, amount, the flashing, as well as the insulation. When painting your windows, ensure the installer uses acrylic-latex caulk and not silicone.

The Installation Process

When replacing your old windows, there are three options to consider namely:

1. Are you replacing the full window including the window frames?

2. Do you plan to insert a retrofit window into the existing window frames?

3. Do you plan just to replace the sashes using a new sash kit?

Your replacement contractor or energy auditor can help pick the best option for you.

  • Full Window Replacement - When replacing the whole window, the existing frame is first removed and the new window carefully placed into the exact position of the old window. Other troublesome issues such as air leakage, water leakage and so on are also fixed.
  • Inserting New Windows into Old Frames – In this procedure, the old sash, the side jambs and the trims are removed while leaving the old frame in position. The window contractors then carefully insert the new windows into the openings. If the old frame is significantly out-of-square, the one should use the replacement windows to fix this problem.
  • Sash Replacement - A number of manufacturers offer sash replacement kits, which include jamb liners. These ensure good fit and operability. It also allows for easy installation. The existing frame should be in good-enough shape to ensure the new window is watertight as well as airtight.

Windows and Children

Open windows are a potential hazard to small children. In the view of this fact, ASTM, a standard-setting organization, has developed nationwide window standards designed to prevent children from opening windows anything beyond four inches, but allowing an adult to open it fully, especially in the event of an emergency such as fires. Some manufacturers use child safety latches for double-hung windows as well as casement windows. These make it difficult for a child to open the window fully.

There are myriad products available in the market that one can use for each of these three window-replacement options. These products have different energy-efficiency features as well as different rated energy performance. It can be quite challenging to choose a window from the myriads of options available. It is a good idea to look for ENERGY STAR windows. These qualify for federal tax credits.

Buying replacement windows for your house can be one of the best investments you can make in your home. Apart from the obvious energy savings that come with energy-efficient windows, installing these can significantly improve the value of your home; a highly desirable factor if you are planning to sell your home. It is advisable to get the advice of a qualified energy auditor or window contractor when purchasing replacement windows since making the wrong choice can result in spending a lot of money unwisely.

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