What’s a homeowner to do? How can he find the best vinyl replacement windows?
Let’s look at the primary factors involved both from a personal point of view as well as looking at the product. First of all the product specifications.
This shows an example of a NRFC label you should expect to help you find the best vinyl replacement windows for you.
The best vinyl replacement windows will have a low U-factor. The U-factor or U-value measures how well a product prevents heat from escaping. So the rate of heat loss is indicated in terms of the U-factor of a window. U-factor ratings generally fall between 0.20 and 1.20. In many states, in order to get an Energy Star rating a window has to have a value less than 0.35. Some windows even go below 0.20
You can see on this example label to the left that the window the label refers to has a U-factor of 0.35.
Incidentally, you may sometimes hear of an R-factor or R-value referred to. This is effectively the inverse of the U-value – it measures the insulating value.
The U-value is included in the energy performance rating offered by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and you should see this value on a label on the window.
You can also see on the label, a reference to Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The SHGC measures how well a window blocks the heat from sunlight. The SHGC is the fraction of the heat from the sun that enters through a window and is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window’s SHGC value, the less solar heat it transmits. So the best vinyl replacement windows will have a low SHGC.
Visible Transmittance is simply a measure of how much daylight gets through the glass. Measured between 0 and 1, the higher the number, the greater the amount of light getting through. Bear in mind though that many windows have special coatings to reduce say ultraviolet and these will reduce the Visible Transmittance. So the effect is that you may get reduced daylight indoors which means potential increased energy usage on artificial lighting.
Air Leakage measures how much outside air comes into a home or building through the window. Air Leakage rates typically fall in a range between 0.1 and 0.3. The lower the Air Leakage, the better a product is at keeping air out. If you live in a city, this value may not be of importance to you, but living in open areas means it will definitely be important as you will likely be subject to much higher wind speeds. So the best vinyl replacement windows for you will have the lowest figures.
You may also see the Condensation Resistance Factor. This is a measure of the effectiveness of a window to reduce the potential for condensation. The higher the condensation resistance factor, the more efficient the window.So the best windows will have a high Condensation Resistance. Anything above 0.55 is good. Anything above 0.60 is very good.
You will inevitably see an Energy Star label on a window (and if you don’t, run a mile!) which indicates it uses less energy, saves money, and helps protect the environment.
The Energy Star guidelines for windows are tailored to four climate zones. For example, windows in the North are optimized to reduce heat loss in the winter, while windows in the South are optimized to reduce heat gain during the summer. So Energy Star windows from one State may not be suitable for another.
And from a personal point of view? Well you’ve just got to love the look of the windows! They do come in a range of styles and openings of course, and you can usually choose from a good range of colors. The colors do tend towards the lighter side rather than the darker colors these days. That’s not just because taste has changed, but also because the darker colors tended to absorb far more heat than the lighter, often making them hot to the touch and sometimes warping.
After considering the above you will know which are the best priced vinyl replacement windows of all those offered to you for a given project! So, armed with this information, you can now confidently request your free quotes from up to 4 screened professional contractors and get what you know to be the best. Just click the following button for your free no-obligation quotes: