What To Look For In a Replacement Window - June 8th 2009
In our efforts to save money and reduce carbon emissions we are all seeking actions we can take to be more proactive. Upgrading your windows to be more energy efficient is a great start.
Begin with the Energy Star label.
Energy Star is the international symbol of energy efficiency. It helps consumers quickly and easily identify home appliances and energy-using equipment that saves energy. The Energy Star label identifies products as high efficiency performers in their category.
Energy Star is a dynamic government/industry partnership that makes it easy for businesses and consumers to save money and protect the environment.
In Canada, Energy Star is the voluntary arrangement between Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency and organizations that build, manufacture, sell or promote products or new homes that meet the Energy Star levels of energy performance. You can check to see which manufacturers are Energy Star labeled on Natural Resources Canada's website. By choosing Energy Star labeled products, buyers save energy and money on utility bills, reduce air pollution without sacrificing the features, versatility or style they expect.
Buying energy efficient windows does not mean sacrificing style. All styles and sizes of windows can be more efficient, and it's not just the glass. The casings, the installation and even the mechanisms can help increase efficiency. It's a very important decision, choosing the right windows for your home. Whether building or remodeling, the right windows will not only enhance the beauty of your home, they will also save you a considerable sum on your heating costs. Take the time to clearly examine the advantages, including the quality, minimizing condensation and mold problems commonly associated with poorly constructed and installed windows.
Glass Assembly - Are all units are double sealed using foam and a proven secondary seal?
Hardware - is it durable hardware to ensure you years of smooth maintenance free operation and enjoyment?
Welding - is the frame fused for strength and durability and will it eliminate water leakage on corner locations?
Screens - are all screens are spring mounted into the frame for a secure fit and ease of removal?
Energy efficient windows can help keep heat in during the winter, and keep heat out during the summer. With UV protection they can also minimize sun damage to the skin and eyes of the home's residents, as well as minimize furniture and carpet fading. Anywhere you have glass or windows in your home, you can replace them with energy efficient products. If you have French or sliding doors, you may want to consider upgrading them at the same time.
Check your new windows for premium locking systems. Technological advancements are helping to create window systems where the windows can't be removed from the outside, and offer better locking systems for both alarmed and unalarmed homes. Safety glass can be used on main floors or sidelights of entry doors for extra security.
Manufacturing and Sales
Finding the right company to manufacture, sell and install your new windows is the next step. Check for warranties which cover both manufacturing and installation defects and make sure you compare apples to apples. Some companies manufacture, sell and install, while others will rely on separate warranties from manufacturers, distributors and installers. Don't be shy to ask for area references and be sure you are comfortable with whoever you choose to work on your home.
For installations specifically, ensure that any contractor coming to work in your home has WCB coverage and third party liability insurance, otherwise you, the homeowner, may be responsible if someone was hurt on the job.
See if your supplier also provides a "house-as-a-system" approach to energy efficiency, being able to provide you with a full detailed list of your home's overall energy efficiency performance including insulation levels, ventilation, draft proofing and controls, and recommendations for other areas of home savings. This added value service will also enhance the performance of your new windows.
Grants and incentive programs are available for upgrading your windows to more energy efficient versions. These incentives can help cover costs of upgrades to heating, insulation, windows and doors, draft proofing and more. The LiveSmart BC Program offers grants as incentives to make energy saving retrofits to homes.