In our many years of replacing windows in the Nashville area, I have found mostly homeowners put off replacing their windows for years because they are worried about the expense. While upgrading from your old, leaky, inefficient windows to high-quality replacement windows isn’t cheap, it is surprisingly cost-effective if you view the project as an investment in your home, rather than a simple purchase. There are several ways that new windows can save you money on a daily basis, and pay for themselves over time, even in Nashville’s moderate climate.
Here are the key features common to high-quality replacement windows:
Non-Conductive Frames: Most homes built within the past fifty years contain aluminum-framed windows of varying quality. These metal frames are poor insulators, and readily transfer heat and cold between the outside elements and the interior of your home. Quality replacement windows are made from materials such as vinyl or fiberglass, greatly reducing the thermal transference. Less transference means lower heating and cooling bills.
Multiple Panes, with a Thermal Spacer: If your windows currently only have one pane of glass, that single pane is doing very little to slow down heat loss and gain in your home. A double- paned window will create a “dead air space” between the panes, which slows down thermal transference. Most homes built within the past twenty-five years will contain double-paned builder-grade windows. However, most of these builder-grade windows use a metal spacer between the panes. This glass-to-metal-to-glass contact allows thermal transference, due to the materials’ conductivity. Quality replacement windows will have a nonconductive spacer system, eliminating that thermal transference. Once again, less transference means lower heating and cooling bills.
Low-e Glass: Builder-grade windows are typically constructed with normal clear glass, which does nothing to slow down heat loss and gain in your home. Quality replacement windows will come with low-emissivity (or, “low-e”) glass. Low-e glass has a thin metallic coating applied at manufacture, and this coating will block two-thirds of the heat and three-quarters of the ultraviolet radiation that passes through it. This greatly reduces the amount of heat loss and gain through the glass portions of your windows. This means lower heating and cooling bills. Also, the reduced UV radiation means less damage and fading to your curtains, furniture, and carpet. This means less replacement costs.
Gas Fill: Builder-grade windows will have regular air between the panes, creating the “dead air space”. Quality replacement windows will be instead filled with a heavier-than-air gas, typically argon or krypton. This gas acts as a superior insulator, and greatly slows any thermal transference. The longer the transference takes, the lower your heating and cooling bills will be.
Maintenance Free Construction: Unlike older wood windows, quality replacement windows will need virtually no maintenance. They are weather-proof, and will not warp or rot. Insects will not damage them. They will not peel or flake, and will not need to be periodically sanded, scraped, and repainted. This will save you time and money in replacement and maintenance costs.
Superior Warranty: With older or builder-grade replacement windows, the cost of repairs is borne completely by you. If the locks or the balances fail, or if the seals leak on your builder-grade vinyl windows, then you have to pay the repair or replacement costs out of your own pocket. Quality replacement windows will usually have comprehensive warranties that cover almost anything that could conceivably go wrong with your vinyl windows, including seal failure, often at little or no charge to you, the homeowner. In many cases, coverage against accidental glass breakage can be included. Freedom from these out-of-pocket expenses will definitely save you money over the years.
It is easy to see how fast the savings can add up. There are not many products that you can buy that allow you to completely recoup the cost of ownership, but replacement windows are just such a product. Savvy homeowners realize this, and take that into account when deciding on when to invest in new replacement vinyl windows.
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