Window replacement is probably one of the more permanent changes you can make in your home. So you’ll want to think it through carefully before doing it. Below are several important benefits you’ll get from buying new windows.
You can take advantage of innovative technology
In some parts of the country, homeowners worry about keeping the cold out in the winter, but in our state most of us worry more about the heat. In older homes, the frames of your windows may often do a poor job of keeping your house cool and comfortable in summer. They may actually conduct heat into your home.
Most subdivision homes built about 10 to 20 years ago or so have dual-pane windows with aluminum frames that still seem solid. But that metal framing expands and contracts due to the extremes in our Arizona weather. Eventually, the seals on windows start to fail and windows cloud over.
Even newer homes can have a problem. About five years ago, many builders switched to vinyl windows. Although vinyl won’t expand and contract like metal, it can deteriorate and discolor very quickly due to intense sunlight and poor quality. Many of these windows won’t even last seven to 10 years, and many builders generally only warranty their homes for two years.
You will save on utility bills
In the desert and even above the Rim, when you replace your windows, you should get dual panes with argon gas in between the panes. You also want to get a low emissivity or low-e coating on the inside of the panes. The combination of the panes, the coating and the gas all contribute to keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
So how will these changes pay off? The U.S. Department of Energy tested windows throughout the country and determined that replacing single-pane windows with double panes in Arizona will save the owner of a small- to medium-sized house as much as $412 on average a year on utility bills. Even replacing double-paned windows with new double panes could save $185 a year.
These tests were last done in 2013 and 2014, when utility rates were generally less than they are now. So, at today’s prices, you will probably save more.
Your home will be quieter
If you live in a noisy neighborhood or near a busy street, you’ll also find that your home will be much quieter — and even less dusty — if you replace your windows with a quality supplier.
“Customers are always telling us that they never realized how noisy it was in their houses until they replaced their windows,” says Adam Homer, a marketing and business development manager with the local Pella store.
That’s true with just a basic dual-pane window, but you can also reduce sound transmission through the glass with windows that vary in thickness from 3 mm to 5 mm, according to Homer.
You will enjoy more light in the summertime
The low-emissive coatings mentioned before are microscopically thin, transparent metallic coatings on your new windows. These coatings are designed to minimize the ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the visible light. That may reduce the need for sunscreens to help keep the heat out. As a result, your rooms will be much brighter inside during the summer.
Your home will look better
Installing new windows gives you the chance to change the look of your home’s interior. You can enlarge small windows in a room that always seems dark. You can replace old windows and doors with sliding glass doors. Be careful, as many window suppliers in the Valley will actually significantly shrink your visible glass by installing a new sash in your existing frames.
Instead of sliders, you can have floor-to-ceiling glass doors that fold together so you can really get in touch with the outdoors. You can also change windows in just a few rooms of your house instead of doing the entire house. For instance, you can freshen up the curb appeal of your house by replacing the windows in front and then budget for replacements in the back later on.
You can still buy vinyl windows, of course, but in our opinion, better-looking, more durable choices will be fiberglass or aluminum-clad, wood-framed windows.
My personal favorite for frames is aluminum-clad wood. These windows, covered with metal on the outside of your home, have a wooden finish inside. This option can be costly but the wood used inside can give your entire house a very warm, rich, custom look.
Next best in my estimation would be fiberglass with a powder-coated finish outside. If your budget is pushing you toward vinyl-framed windows, be sure to buy from a quality company with a long warranty on the product and installation.
So maybe it’s time to open some new windows in your world and improve your quality of life. JN
R.C. ‘Romey’ Romero is co-owner of Arizona’s home improvement radio program ‘Rosie on the House.’