Monday, May 17, 2010

Window Efficiency Basics

Windows that are certified as efficient by the The National Fenestration Rating Council are proven to reduce energy consumption. Windows with a u-factor of 0.3 or less may qualify for federal tax rebates. This credit will cover 30% of cost for approved windows. If you are ordering replacement windows Denver, the additional cost to make sure the windows meet federal guidelines is only around $15 per window.   These can be ordered straight from the manufacturer with low-e coatings that reflect heat. Strategically place these windows to stop overheating in summer.
Some states have an additional bonus funded by a public charge on utility bills. Oregon's fund is called Energy trust, and will pay $2 per square foot of energy efficient windows when the windows are coupled with other energy saving moves. Qualifying moves include sealing leaks or adding insulation. Oregon averaged a return of $400 per customer per year for meeting energy standards. Other states have trusts that will distribute bonuses from major energy companies to Denver windows contractors. Visit to see an example of these services.

To determine if windows or other energy saving investments should be made, you can run an energy audit on your home. These audits cost around $500 and will result in a prioritized list of actions with ROI figures. High tech infrared imaging can be used to find leaks and the overall heat signature of a property. Color changes in walls indicate poor installation of insulation. Depending on your state, an energy audit may be required to recoup energy rebates. Denver windows also need to be double pane to protect from winter storms.

To go all-out consider triple pane windows. These have really caught on in colder climates, where inert gas fillers make the windows almost as heat resistant as walls. Some triple pane manufacturers claim a U-value of 0.2 or less. The cost of these windows is significantly more than both single and double pane windows. Homes are already being marketed by energy savings caused by windows, especially in Europe. Adds touting Green Leed certification are popular and valuable.

Saving Money on Windows

Calculate the cost-savings from installing new windows. Windows leaks are the primary cost associated with heating or cooling a building, but replacement windows cost a significant amount. To determine if you are using this money in the most effective way, you need to find how much your energy efficient windows will really save.
A new factor to the equation is certain federal tax credits for energy efficient improvements. Replacement windows Denver can earn you up to a $1,500 tax credit, which is almost guaranteed to pay for the windows without accounting for additional energy savings. To make sure your heater is not on all the time from drafts (which will call for a furnace repair service quickly) you need to install air-tight windows. In an age where people are turning off the lights and pinching pennies, it makes not sense to be loosing hundreds or thousands on the utility bill. The first step in a green home is efficient sealant from outside air, which is what Denver windows are for.

To take advantage of these federal tax credits, make sure you build during specified times. Both Colorado state and the federal government have programs that may end soon. Do not be intimidated by new technologies like triple pane windows with low e coatings. These windows are just designed to be sturdy and out preform standard glass panes. Not only do these new windows insulate for extreme temperature changes, they also do a good job at muffling sound. Metal and vinyl windows do not have expected maintenance costs from mold and swelling associated with water damage.

Although windows are a good place to start, any large air leak will also cause major gouging to your energy bill. Sealing leaks around pipes and adding insulation is another way you can try and save money.

For high end custom replacement windows Denver, the payback time may be over 10 years because of the high initial cost. Wood is the best insulator, but it costs more than twice vinyl and aluminum.

Although windows are often given more blame for drafts than they actually cost, single pane windows can create convection currents around the high temperature difference at the glass pane. In the short term, wearing   a sweater is the cheapest alternative, but for home improvement investments take the window installation.

Evolution of the Sash Window

The sash window has been the most common window for residences since the 1800s. They are called sash windows because of the movable panels that hold the glass. These frames are called sashes, and are separated from other movable panels by muntin. Although any window with independent frames is a sash, the term sash window usually refers to glazed panels that open vertically. Horizontal sashes are called Yorkshire light sliding sashes. They have the counterweights hidden in a box case. The oldest known examples of a sash window were found in the 1600's in England. Supposedly the English scientist Robert Hooke created the first counterweight window.

Sash windows are a staple of Victorian houses where the classic arrangement has the panes arranged in two 3x2 sashes which comes out to 6 total panels. In the Edwardian and Georgian eras, English suburban houses were built with standardized windows. These windows are hundreds of years old, so they cannot compete with modern windows in terms of stopping drafts. Even the most well built Victorian window is probably so old that it needs help from a Denver windows company. Luckily these standard sizes are 4 feet across, making a replacement window Denver a snap. Handmade units may have been more beautiful, but can come in any size.
One good thing about the old vertical sash windows is the sashes slide vertically throughout the weatherstripping, giving the window a large maximum ventilation area equal to half the total area. Each sash has its own set of springs and balances that will hold the window open at any point.

The counterweight is a heavy metal, usually cast iron or lead, concealed within the window frame. Modern replacement windows Denver have no counterweight, and their springs are housed within the metal frame. The counterweight is connected to the window by a sash cord. Ancient windows have a chain system which runs through a pulley and spring balance system at the top. Some sash windows can be fully opened on the side on hinges. In the US, these kinds of windows refer to double hung windows that have two independent pane assemblies that move up and down. Single hung designs are the same as double hung, except the top sash is stationary. Some exotic window designs typical of northern church steeples have triple and quadruple hung windows.
The frames are made of sealed softwood. Contact a glazer when trying to convert from a single to double hung design. Although these wooden sash windows are beautiful and historic, they have problems with water. Typically they will become damaged over time by rot, swelling and shrinking. This makes them poor insulators. The sliding mechanisms and counter weight cords can fray and cut. High maintenance is offset by easier cleaning because of the mobility of the sashes. These windows are best when open, not closed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Replacement vs Construction Windows

Replacement windows are made to fit an existing opening, while construction windows are designed to be built along with the frame. Many custom replacement windows Denver warehouses will have a window that fits your opening. There is not one standard size but dozens. Some available window frames are as small as a foot across to several yards. Wood is the most efficient, by vinyl, aluminum, and clad wood are more durable.

Even replacement windows can be broken down further. For minimal repairs, a sash kits replace an old frame's movable parts and jamb liners. The liners hold the sash for easy movement. This only works in a level, square frame in good condition. A warped window frame will receive no benefit from a sash replacement.

Insert replacements consist of a full frame that fits into your old opening. These ready to install frames make the window a bit smaller than before because it is like an extra frame with new jambs and liners. These replacement windows are sometimes called pocket windows by Denver windows companies.

Full frame replacement windows have a frame that comes complete with jambs and sill. This is the most complete option, and is the only thing to do if the frame is rotten or split. This is hardest kind of Denver windows to install because you must first strip the opening to its rough frame. Every frame will need to be shimmed. The shimming process not only centers the frame within the window opening, it also locks in the  frame in a plumb and level position. When working on the frame, make sure you are careful not to damage any of your air conditioning equipment's ductwork. A good air conditioning services company will work with any window contractor to make sure they do not conflict with each other's work.

Any small cracks or holes can be filled in with weather resistant wood putty. They can be sanded along with the the wood jambs in preparation of finishing through sealant or paint. If the frame is too cracked for putty, a full construction frame is required.

Step by Step Window Replacement

This article covers the tools and main steps required for a window replacement job. The main objects you will need to buy are: a replacement window Denver. It should be of slightly smaller size for easy mounting into the existing frame. You will also need weatherproof wood putty to patch any holes in the window frame. Polyurethane foam should be used to insulate the space around the window, but make sure it is of the minimally expanding variety or you will need to be careful about over-expanding warping the window frame.

Wood shims are used to plumb and level the window and snugly adjust its position in the window opening.Sandpaper smooths the window frame for finishing, whether that be by paint or sealant. Screws are needed to fasten the window to your studs. Insulating foam rods to fill any gaps between caulk and expanding foam.The window may need window stops if the old ones broke. Paint and primer are used to finish the frame.

If your window opening you want to put replacement windows in is still square, you can simply use a construction window from a replacement window Denver company. Vinyl windows are a good choice because vinyl needs minimum maintenance. For the full energy-economy effect, choose a vinyl covered wooden window with low-e insulated glass.

The first step before you can go grab replacement Denver windows is to measure what you are replacing. Use a slightly smaller window measured by the manufacturer's specifications.
Now you are ready for the actual removal. Take out the lifting sash. Then pry off the jamb liners and any trim. Prep the frame for installation by marking and placing all the connecting areas.

Remove the old sash weights. Modern windows have a simpler interior spring mechanism. This will leave an air space that must be filled if our new window is to do its proper insulating job. So next you need to prep and spray in insulating foam, being sure not to spray too much of the expanding substance. Then caulk between all moving parts.

Your next step is the installation of your replacement window.

This involves fastening it loosely in place while you shim the window to fit snugly plumb and level. To finish caulk, prime and paint your window.