New Jersey & Metro New York homeowners looking for more energy efficient replacement windows often ask us at Renewal by Andersen what makes one window “better” than others on the market. If you’re searching for options and aren’t sure how to compare various home improvement products, the info below should put you on the right path.
Replacement windows and patio doors come packaged in diverse frames. The size, shape, operational category and glazing options also impact performance and energy-efficiency. When you order custom-built windows, you can create products specifically designed for our New York and New Jersey climate as well as your home environment.
Window Frames: Type & Efficiency Impact
Thermal resistance contributes to the overall energy efficiency of your home’s windows and patio doors, primarily the U-factor. Each frame type has pros and cons. Some of the more common frame materials are:
While metal is still an option on the market today, it is less energy efficient than the other four listed above. Without special manufacturing techniques that improve thermal resistance, metal frames have a high heat conductivity rate.
On the positive side, wood window and patio door frames have good insulating properties. They expand and contract similar to your home’s structural materials during hot and cold weather conditions. On the downside, wood is prone to mildew, rot, decay, paint degradation and moisture infiltration. This means that although wood is sturdy and stable, you’ll spend more time repairing and maintaining wooden frames than other materials.
Vinyl Frames & Vinyl Components
When it comes to vinyl home improvement products, one of the major selling points for many New Jersey & New York Metro homeowners is that vinyl frames don’t require painting. These frames also provide strong moisture resistance.
We see problems with vinyl windows in gaps that increase air leakage, often caused by the difference in thermal expansion rates between home structural rates and vinyl windows.
However, because vinyl is a stable, low-maintenance material, vinyl cladding that covers a hardwood core provides a benefit for homeowners – less painting and repairing with the strength and stability of wood. That’s why you’ll find some Renewal by Andersen replacement windows constructed with vinyl cladding. We always look for solutions that add value and improve performance for our customers.
Fibrex Framing: Performance, Stability, Zero-Maintenance
We recommend Fibrex frames, a unique composite made with reclaimed wood and PVC, but let’s look at the other three options, too.
Renewal by Andersen’s unique Fibrex frames are extremely stable and won’t warp or sag like some vinyl and aluminum designs. They never require routine maintenance to prevent pitting, moisture decay, flaking, peeling or fading (although regular cleaning is recommended).
Compared to wood frames, our composite material equals or exceeds wood’s thermal and structural properties.
Glazing Types and Energy Efficiency
Overall energy efficiency depends on many factors including: construction methods, weather-stripping, sealants, frames and whether you choose an operational style like casements or awnings. Window orientation, climate, shading and other environmental conditions in your home may also impact the benefit gain.
One of the most important components in window design is glass type. You’ll most likely get the most return on your investment by choosing glazing based on each room in your home. Talk to a replacement window consultant for more specific details about which glass options are best for your home.
Below are a few of the different types of glass options you may consider to boost energy efficiency and lower utility costs.
Tackling Heat Transfer
Some special coatings marginally change the color or transparency levels while controlling solar heat gain (SHGC) and visible light transmittance (VT). Controlling visible light transfer and solar radiation through a window helps reduce glare as well as heat transfer.
Gas Between the Glass & Insulated Glazing
Thermal performance improves significantly with insulated glass. Double pane replacement windows are dramatically more energy efficient than traditional single pane options. Argon, or other heavier-than-air gases trapped between two glass panels improves the energer-efficiency over designs that fill the space with plain air.
Insulated windows are simply windows constructed with two separate glass panes that are hermetically sealed with air (or gas) to reduce heat and airflow. Keep in mind that insulated glass reduces U-factor ratings, but also limits the SHGC somewhat. For this reason, it is very important to consider orientation and exposure to direct sunlight.
We have four distinct seasons in New Jersey and the metropolitan New York region, so carefully explore options for every season to determine which glass type will be the most beneficial for your home.
There’s More to Consider When Comparing Replacement Windows and Patio Doors
There are other ENERGY STAR certified glass options that use spectrally selective coatings and low-e coatings that reduce energy loss by as much as 50 percent. Comparing home improvement products can be a complex journey. We’d love to help you get a clear picture of all the variables in the comparison formula. Just fill in the short form on this page or give us a call at 1-888-826-2451 to arrange a no-fee private consultation today.
Download our Free Guide to Getting the Perfect Replacement Windows for You & Your Family
- The Difference Between Replacement and New Construction Windows!
- The Different Kinds of Frame Materials and What That Means to Your Windows’ Performance and Longevity!
- How the Right Glass Can Save You Money on Your Heating & Cooling Bills!
- The Critical Role Proper Installation Plays in the Performance, Durability and Warranty of Your New Replacement Windows!
- What Features and Options are Important to You and What Role They Play in Your Ultimate Satisfaction Today, and for as Long As You Live in Your Home!