Professional window contractors can help you save money and make your home more attractive and energy-efficient.
If eyes are the window to the soul, does that mean windows uncover the soul of
a home? Whatever you think about that philosophical question, there’s no
doubt that windows play an important role in your home. They let natural
light into your home, add architectural flair and reveal scenic views from
While they do these things, it’s important to consider the more practical
aspects of windows. They also can help homeowners save money on energy bills
and protect their furnishings from the sun.
Your first indication is whether you can see or feel the window move when wind
hits it. That means your home may not be getting adequate protection from
the elements and that you are wasting energy (and money) trying to heat or
cool your home. You may also need new windows if they were installed more
than 10 years ago. Most likely, they are energy-inefficient, and the risk of
seal breakage increases with each passing year.
How to choose a window contractor
Always demand that a contractor or dealer is bonded and insured. They also
should be certified by the Better Business Bureau, with a satisfactory
record. Ask to see their InstallationMaster certification and get references
from recent clients.
Find out if the dealer is a member of the Window & Door Dealers Alliance,
the national trade group representing the industry. And if you really want
to show them you’ve done your homework, ask if they’ve taken any training on
What to consider when buying windows
Once you’ve found a contractor, it’s time to pick out your windows. Two
primary factors should guide your search. First, it’s imperative to purchase
energy-efficient windows. Look for the Energy Star label, which provides
information on the energy savings you can expect. You may also be eligible
for tax credits on purchases of new Energy Star products.
Second, higher-quality windows boost your home value. Upgrading to
architecturally appealing designs can add a unique flair to your home, while
giving you an unconventional avenue for personal stylistic expression.
The benefits of Energy Star windows
One of the best ways to save money and help the environment is to buy Energy
Star qualified windows. A program of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, Energy Star helps consumers do both by promoting energy-efficient
products and practices.
According to the EPA, Energy Star qualified windows and skylights have these
1. Energy savings. They feature advanced technologies such as invisible
glass coatings, vacuum-sealed spaces filled with inert gas between the
panes, improved framing materials, better weather stripping and warm edge
spacers — all of which reduce undesirable heat gain and loss.
2. Improved comfort. Compared to less-efficient windows, Energy Star
qualified windows help keep homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the
summer. They can block 70 percent or more of solar heat gain in the summer
and reflect radiant heat indoors during winter.
3. Protection of your home’s interior. Photographs, furniture,
flooring, and window treatments can fade or discolor after repeated exposure
to direct sunlight. An Energy Star qualified window with special (Low-E)
coatings can reduce fading by up to 75 percent.
4. Reduced condensation. If an inefficient window or window frame gets
too cold, water can condense (or even freeze) on the interior surface and
then pool on the sill. Over time, chronic condensation can damage window
sills, cause paint to crack, and encourage mold growth. Advanced frames,
glass coatings, spacers and other technologies enable Energy Star qualified
windows to keep the inner surface of the glass and frame warmer, reducing
the potential for condensation and ensuring a clearer view on winter
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