Window Replacement Misconceptions to Avoid
Winnipeg, MB – With winter literally knocking on your windows, you may have noticed that your home is draftier than normal or that it’s harder to heat. Is there condensation build-up between the panes of glass? Or are your window frames discoloured and spongy?
If you said yes to any of these issues, it might be time to replace your windows.
There are a variety of products, styles, and installation types available. So before you start the process, you’ll want to do some research. Since 2013, Canadian experts at Ecoline Windows have been educating Manitoba homeowners about the latest technologies available in replacement windows and window products.
Here are some of the common misconceptions they say that every homeowner wants to avoid when considering replacement windows:
I know what windows I need. I learned about them on the Internet.
While it is important to familiarize yourself with the terminology and product offerings available before your start a replacement project, a licensed professional can make recommendations based on your specific situation. The Internet contains a wealth of information, but general statements are meant to appeal to millions of homeowners. Window replacements should not be considered “one size fits all.” Windows don’t have much effect on energy efficiency or comfort.
Windows don’t have much effect on energy efficiency or comfort.
For years, windows were considered the “weak link” in maintaining a comfortable environment. Today’s energy efficient windows can improve airflow, efficiency, and even reduce bad UV rays. Windows play an integral role in sustaining even temperatures throughout the year to save on utility costs from the use of heat and air conditioning. For example, replacing a fixed window with one that opens can help reduce electrical costs and make a hot room more comfortable without turning on the air.
Glass doesn’t insulate well.
It’s easy to understand why this misconception has held up so long. As the major part of the window, it’s logical to think a single pane of glass would have little insulation value. However, most windows today include double and triple pane window glass. They are put together into sealed units to double or triple the R-value.
Manitoba Hydro notes that triple pane windows are designed to reduce the window’s heat conductivity by filling the space between the panes with Argon or Krypton gas. This stops the cold from getting into your home.
Interestingly, they also suggest using low emissivity (Low-E) glass coatings to reflect the sun’s rays and stop heat from escaping to keep your home comfortable and improve energy performance. Insulating spacers will also eliminate condensation problems.
Cheaper is better.
You’ve probably heard the adage, “you get what you pay for.” Well, the same applies to window replacement. Cutting corners may save you money up front, but selecting inferior or the wrong products will only lead to more spending later. It may not be necessary to purchase top-of-the-line, high-performance windows or do a full-frame replacement designed to last twenty-five years if you intend to move within five.
Once again, it is critical that you consult with a professional window company to identify your specific needs and offer the best products and installation services for your unique situation and budget.
All windows have to be replaced at once.
Of course, when your home was built, all the windows were installed at one time, so it might make sense to think they all would need to be replaced at the same time also. There are a several factors that affect how your windows wear—weather exposure, volume of use, weight, support structure, and maintenance. The condition of each window should be taken into effect before automatically deciding to replace it.
Doing the project in stages will not only help your budget but, as a return customer, you may be eligible for discounts.
I won’t need to do any finish work when I replace your windows.
This is probably the biggest misconception homeowners have when they ask for a quote from a window contractor. Even with a retrofit installation, touch-ups will be required inside and out. Replacement windows are sized close to the original configuration, but there is no exact fit. Homes with brittle stucco or vinyl siding with J-channel edges will need to be repaired. Inside, drywall may need to be cut, window trim re-installed, or bathroom tile cut to accommodate the new window.
Be sure to determine who will be responsible for finish work (including painting) before signing a contract.
I can re-use my blinds and shutters.
Again, many homeowners are unfamiliar with how much size variation there will be between their old windows vs. their new windows. If possible, you should budget for new window treatments after your replacement. If you really want to re-use your existing blinds or shutters, you may be able to cut them down.
Window grilles don’t affect energy efficiency.
Window grilles have been popular for decades to enhance the front facade of a home. They are generally used today for aesthetic purposes, but when they are configured as true divided-lite windows to mimic an architectural design, they reduce energy efficiency. They’ve been used in oversized and shaped windows, plus casement, awning, and picture windows. Many window manufacturers incorporate the grilles into the window design to simulate the look and increase curb appeal without compromising efficiency.
Windows can’t cut down on sound from outside, and they don’t provide much security.
Modern technology has produced laminated glass that provides excellent soundproofing and security capabilities. An inner PVB layer of plastic stops vibrations and a built-in air space between two window panes further reduces sound transference.
Laminated glass also provides excellent protection from break-ins, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. It is extremely durable and difficult to break. As it remains intact, instead of shattering, you’ll be protected from flying debris and other damage.
Manitoba Hydro can assist Winnipeg residents and others across the province to determine which home improvements can save them the most by comparing replacement windows and/or adding energy efficient windows.
You can request a free Home Comfort & Energy Assessment Report to help identify how your home currently uses energy and provides recommendations on how you can save money on your energy bill. Manitoba Hydro customers who have lived in their home at least one year can complete a profile questionnaire online for free. Answers are combined with the previous 12-month history to create a customized report.
With the many choices available for energy-efficient windows and installation styles, it’s important that you know all the facts before you begin your project. By having a basic working knowledge of the process as well as consulting with a professional window contractor and Manitoba Hydro, your replacement window project will provide years of comfort and energy efficiency.
-Serge Bojinski, RenoHood.com