When deciding on new windows, ideally you want your replacement to do two things: the windows have to be efficient enough to make the space comfortable, and they have to be practical for the room that they are put in.
Most of the time, homeowners want the same kind of functionality as in their old windows, so they are content with the same kind of windows.
But if you are already deciding to replace your windows, understanding what to look for in different rooms can help keep your home properly ventilated, harness the power of the sun to warm it, and place the most efficiency where it matters.
Operable vs. non-operable windows
The basic question you have to decide for every room is whether you want windows in that room to open. Kitchens and bathrooms are areas of increased humidity in the house. Therefore, it is beneficial to have operable windows in these rooms to balance airflow and moisture in the air. You will also probably want operable windows for bedrooms and any rooms with high traffic. Fixed windows are great for small rooms, areas where the windows are just above the ground, or most commonly on bigger openings for an unobstructed view.
With bigger openings there are also options for combinations of fixed and operable units, so you can open just one or two of the panels. This is where you may want to consider what is outside your windows as well. Because most operable units open outward, they can often interfere with stuff on the deck or landscaping elements.
Putting operable windows in the right places can help direct the air flowing through your home and significantly improve ventilation, meaning you don’t have to run your fan as much during the warmer months.
Compression-seal windows vs. weather-stripping
All operable vinyl windows on the market today fall into two categories: compression-seal or weather-stripping. Windows with compression seals around the operable sash are much more efficient. When the unit is closed, the compression seal fills the space between the sash and frame for an airtight unit that keeps you warm and comfortable even in the harshest weather. This technology is usually found in modern casement and awning windows.
Slider and hung windows, as well as cheap casements, have weather-stripping in the place where the sash meets the frame. Weather-stripping is far less efficient, and slider windows don’t perform as well compared to casements.
But slider windows are much cheaper than compression-seal casements or awnings. While you may want the most comfort and efficiency from your bedroom windows, there are probably rooms in your home that don’t need the highest level of performance out of the replacement units.
Consider which direction your windows are facing
The great thing about heat from the sun is that modern windows are able to use it to warm your home. Efficient windows trap that heat inside your home and don’t allow it to escape. But in rooms that are facing south or west, your home may be getting too much direct sunlight, causing the space to overheat. For these rooms, you may want to consider getting windows with lower solar heat gain values, or getting Low-E coatings on your new windows can help balance the temperature in the entire home. This way your south facing rooms won’t be too hot in the dead of winter while your north facing rooms are cool without any sunlight.
Don’t underestimate the power of additional features
Even if you decided to get the same window styles for your replacement, chances are what goes into your new windows is far ahead of the features in your old ones. We’ve already mentioned low-emissivity coatings, but there are a plethora of other options that can really make your units into low-maintenance energy savers. A lot of features like insulated glass spacers, ETI foam, and gas-fills can also maximize the performance of your windows without having to get triple-pane windows.
Based on the age and design of your home, your windows may already be placed in optimal locations to maximize ventilation, solar heat gains, and functionality. But realistically, there is probably one or two windows in your home that you wish you could open, or would be better suited if it opened the other way. Taking some time to consider what kind of windows should go where, can be almost as important as the window style and type you ultimately decide on.
At Ecoline Windows we offer a variety of window styles to suit different rooms, functionality needs, and budgets. Our knowledgeable project consultants can advise you on how to properly manage windows in sun-facing rooms, and which windows in your home can benefit from additional efficiency features. We can also advise on which windows can be repaired rather than replaced immediately, and give you options for doing a replacement project in stages.