Replacing your old single pane windows with more energy-efficient double-pane windows can save the average household up to $465 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, replacement windows are easier to maintain, will give your home's curb appeal a boost and will make your home more comfortable year round. However, not all replacement windows are alike. There are a number of things you should consider before shopping for new windows.
1. Window material. Today's windows are made of four, basic materials--wood, vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass. Wood, generally the most expensive option, brings the charm of a natural material and goes well with older homes. However, wood frames need to be repainted periodically and even coated wood is subject to water damage over time. Fiberglass windows require very little maintenance, are strong and can be made to mimic the look of wood. Aluminum windows are lightweight, yet strong and can be made with a very slim profile, while still being able to support the heavy glass. Vinyl windows are the least expensive option and are very low maintenance as well as impervious to corrosion from sea air.
2. Type of glass. You also generally have a choice of glass and glass coatings when choosing replacement windows. Low-e glass (low-emissivity glass) is designed to reduce the amount of UV rays that enter your living space. This helps reduce heat transfer, both in the winter and the summer, and can help on your energy bills. Low-e glass also helps to reduce fading to your furniture, rugs and drapes from the sun's rays.
3. Window shape. If you're replacing your existing windows, you'll probably opt for windows of the same shape and size. However, if you're remodeling a room, you might want to consider a decorative window, such as an eyebrow window, a cathedral window or a circular window to add architectural interest.
4. Window accessories. Window hardware and other accessories are another item you'll want to consider being you purchase your new windows. Do you want mullions (those real or fake window dividers)? Do you want to splurge on brass or iron hardware?
Replacing your old windows is a good idea for a number of reasons, not the least of which is saving money and energy. However, not all windows are created alike. Before you go shopping, take a few minutes to consider the type of glass, the window material and the shape of the window that's best for you, your budget and the style home you have. For more information, contact companies like Zephyr Aluminum Renewal by Andersen.