Best Vinyl Windows
Where Can You Find Quality Vinyl Windows?
Buying new windows, vinyl or otherwise, for your home can often be a very daunting task even for the seasoned remodelers amongst you. Sure, you know what you like the look of, you know the style of windows you want and you know which windows of your home need replacing. But what specifications make up the best vinyl windows?
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Best Vinyl Windows Specs
The actual specifications of the windows, the measured quality, can often be far more important to you in the long run than the looks. Yet not everyone (perhaps understandably) wants to look at a list of data to try and choose what is best, nor even know that there are such ratings in place that allow you to choose in this manner.
These ratings have been in place for a while now and more have been added to the core set. These were put in place by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide a totally independant rating system for windows (as well as doors, skylights and other related products).
As the NFRC themselves put it: “Our goal is to provide fair, accurate, and reliable energy performance ratings so that homeowners, and others can compare different products and make informed product choices.” Perfectly put.
So the ratings system simply gives you the ability to compare windows and see how well they perform as regards energy efficiency. It’s not just comparing heat-loss either as you’ll see. There are now up to five energy-efficiency figures you can look at, usually displayed as a large sticker on the window itself. Not all 5 may be shown, largely because the system is still evolving and some of the data relies upon companies voluntarily joining or agreeing to display some data.
So in some cases you may only see 2 or 3 ratings on the label, sometimes even less. Let’s look at what these ratings are and how you can use them to choose the best vinyl windows for you.
Seeing the Light Through the Window
The first rating is one which many of you may already have come across, the U-Factor. Also sometimes known as the U-Value, this rating simply measures the rate at which heat is lost through a material. Ideally you want a U-Factor of 0.35 or below. The lower the number, the better the window is.
The second rating is the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient which measures the amount of solar heat transmitted through a window. If you live in a hot area you’ll want a low figure of 0.4 or less. On the other hand, living in a cooler climate means you want more heat transmitted and therefore a higher figure than 0.4, the higher the better.
Next on our list is Visible Transmittance which measures how much daylight is transmitted through the glass. This is measured as a percentage and you’ll want as high a figure as possible in order to make use of the most daylight as possible.
Air Leakage is our next contender and as you might expect, measures the amount of air leaking through joints etc. Measured from 0.1 to 1.0, you’ll want as low a number as possible.
Lastly it’s Condensation Resistance, a relative newcomer on the windows ratings front. This shows how well the window is able to prevent or resist condensation on the inside and is measured as a percentge, so you’ll want as high a figure as possible.
That’s it, your quick guide to understanding window ratings. Use these to make wise choices when shopping for the best vinyl windows for your home. If you need more help in choosing, or want a professional to install them for you as well as quick pricing, then simply click the button below and make a few easy clicks…