Should You Get the Same Window Style for Your Replacement?
The answer to this question is a complex one, and there are many variables to consider. Do your existing windows fit well in your space? Are they convenient to open/close? Do they provide the proper insulation needed for energy efficiency? Simply put, there are two main things to consider when considering a window upgrade. The replacement windows should be insulated enough to ensure a comfortable environment, and they must fit properly in that space. Many homeowners are content with the performance of their old windows, and look to have a similar style installed as a replacement. However, if you are already replacing your windows, it may benefit you to browse through the many options available. As the size and purpose of different rooms within your home may suit specific windows better. Some rooms may require better ventilation, or insulation, and you may be able to save quite a bit on your energy costs depending on the window replacement chosen.
Operable or non-operable? That is the question.
First you should ask yourself in which rooms would you like, or require the windows to open? As your bathroom and kitchen produce high levels of humidity, it is generally a good choice to have windows that can open in these rooms. This will help to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, and can improve household airflow. Areas of your home that have a higher level of use, like the bedrooms or living room, will also benefit from operable windows. Non-operable windows are best for smaller rooms, or windows located just above ground level. Large picture windows are also best for a non-operable window replacement, as to ensure an unobstructed view.
With some larger openings, you also have the option of installing a combination of operable and non-operable windows. This allows for only a panel or two to open, leaving most of the view free from obstructions. Placement of the windows should be taken into consideration as well. As many of these windows open outwards, you will want to ensure that the area beyond the window is clear. This is generally an issue that you may run into if your window opens to your patio, or porch. These types of combination window replacement are the best for people who want a choice in how much ventilation, and view they prefer.
Operable windows are great for increasing air flow, and can help to save you money on your energy bills, especially in the summertime.
Weather stripping or compression seals?
Every openable vinyl window available today fits into one of these two categories. Compression seals do tend to make the operable window far more efficient. When the window is shut, this seal fills the void between the frame and sash resulting in a draft free, air tight seal. This is especially beneficial during the wintertime, when brutal cold is prevalent. You will generally find compression seals in more modern casement and awning window types.
Cheaper casements, slider and hung windows will usually instead have weather stripping between the sash and the frame. Using this type of seal is far less efficient than the previous option. Slider windows don’t often perform as well as casements, though they are much cheaper. Though energy efficiency and comfort are both probably thins that you want out of your bedroom windows, there are probably some windows in your home that don’t need to perform at there highest level.
The direction in which your windows face should also play a role in the type of replacement windows you install. The heat produced by the sun can definitely help to heat your home and reduce your energy costs. Most modern windows absorb this heat, and trap it within your home. However, if some of your windows face to the south or west, prolonged sunlight may heat up these rooms more than is comfortable. In these spaces, windows with lower solar heat gain values will be beneficial. There are also a variety of window coatings available that should cut down on the amount of solar energy absorbed.
While in the end you may still decide to replace your windows with the same style, keep in mind there are many valuable upgrades that can be added on. Low-E coatings were already covered above, but there are a ton of other energy saving options available. Upgrades like foam spacers, and gas fills can enhance the performance of your double pane windows as well. And for those who have hard to reach windows, there are also coatings that utilize both the sun and rain to clean your windows naturally.
Depending on the age and style of your home, your windows may already be in the right places to increase ventilation, and functionality. Though there is probably a window or two that could preform better as a different style. If you take the time to properly research not only your window style options, but also the upgrades available to you, you are bound to make your home a brighter and more energy efficient space.