When comparing replacement window manufacturers, there is a lot to choose from. So eventually you will need to figure out what the difference is, and which window company is right for you.
Window replacement concerns 3 main aspects: customer service, installation and product quality. In our previous posts, we discussed the first two factors. In this post we would like to list the features we feel window manufacturers should offer with their product in order for you, the homeowner, to get the best vinyl windows for your home.
Remember, some of these features may come standard with your window order, others may be available as an additional upgrade. Regardless, if the company offers all of the options listed below, chances are their product is of good to excellent quality.
1. Low-E Coated Glass
Approximately 75% of the window area is glass. It is important that this area effectively retain heat inside while keeping extreme hot and cold weather outside.
The heat generated inside your home is known as Long Wave Radiation (LWR). Containing LWR in each room will help minimize furnace use and maintain a comfortable temperature. However, UV rays and other unwanted radiation from the sun should be shielded and reflected back outside in order to protect the interior of your home from early deterioration. LoE coating helps to provide this shield.
Think of Low-E coating as invisible insulation. Although windows provide beautiful views and wonderful natural light, they can also be responsible for the majority of the annual heating costs for a home. In the winter, Low-E coated glass helps keep your home warm and cozy by blocking heat loss through windows while allowing the sun’s heat inside. And, Low-E blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays, keeping your furniture from fading, yet at the same time allowing in more visible sunlight. Low-E coated glass is the best way to maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home all year round.
2. Argon and Krypton Gas
Argon or Krypton Gases are utilized to fill the space between the panes. Both gases conduct up to 50% less heat than air. Less heat loss translates directly into more energy cost savings for you.
3. EnerEDGE Insulating Glass Spacer
Insulating Glass Spaser is made from a thermoset cellular silicone and helps to reduce moisture infiltration. The innovative design uses long-lasting silicone which offers flawless bonding and structural support. EnerEDGE IG spacers use dry pack filters that protect the unit from fierce temperature changes that are common during harsh Canadian winters and the hot summer sun.
4. Vinyl Snap-on Casing
The casing acts as a cover for the rough opening. The advantage of vinyl casing is
✓ 100% lead-free durable virgin PVC
✓ 100% maintenance free
✓ Mouldable for windows of various shapes
5. ETI Foam
ETI® stands for Engineered Thermal Insulation, which improves the thermal efficiency of large cavities found in vinyl windows. Foam is inserted into the larger air spaces of the vinyl windows to reduce the amount of heat and cold transfer through the window cavities which benefits the overall window. ETI foam is superior to expandable foam because it delivers better energy performance, lasts longer, remains more stable at higher and lower temperatures.
6. Double and Triple Pane Glass
Glass panes are the main elements of any window, therefore, it is most important for them to be of the highest quality. Harsh prairie climates usually require a minimum of 2 panes for adequate thermo-insulation.
Triple pane windows feature an additional pane that is located between the two exterior panes. This means you get the additional benefit of an extra layer of Argon or Krypton Gas between the panes, which leads to better insulation.
A word about window installation
Although we specifically mentioned that this post will focus on product, installation remains an equally important part of the success of your window replacement. Poorly installed windows can nullify any benefits of high-efficiency windows, allow water and wind in, and even cause long-term damage to the structure of your home. Consider companies that are Window Wise certified or perform their installations according to CSA standards.
For full list of CSA approved windows in Canada click here.
Check out these window replacement articles:
Find out how the window replacement process works
Learn how we price our windows
Check out our full line of efficient thermal windows