Window Replacement – The Search for Budget Friendly Energy Efficient Windows

May 7th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

Fixing up an old house can be very rewarding. It is nearly the same feeling as building one from the ground up.

Often times, one finds out a lot about the history and background of what happened within the walls and what types of people occupied it. One can look back on old photos and recall the “before” while seeing the “after” in person.

This is all well and good, but it is important to remember that each choice makes the difference in quality and longevity when working on a “fixer-upper”.

Some of the most important choices one makes when building or fixing up a home involve windows. Aesthetics aside, one has to carefully choose a window that will be energy efficient, keep things within the budget and whether or not to hire a professional handyman for installation.

Let us talk efficiency and budget-friendliness.

Think frame, glass, design.

A vinyl frame is rigid, budget-friendly and energy-efficient, but leaves something to be desired in the aesthetic options department.

Wood frames are great for their insulating properties, but require more upkeep, especially in humid climates.

An aluminum window frame is a little less cold-climate friendly, as their heat transfer properties are not ideal, as is characteristic of metal. Aluminum does offer good strength, however.

There are even hybrid versions of these frames, utilizing more than one of the listed materials. The frame construction is only the beginning of window worries.

When it comes to glass, there are many varieties. One will find out quickly that companies use marketing terms, buzz words and all kinds of fancy talk when trying to generate sales from the energy-conscious consumer.

What to do?

Should one buy double-paned or triple-paned glass?

Is argon-filled glass better than not?

Will the glass block UV rays sufficiently?

All of these questions are legitimate, but to dumb it down, there are only two values to worry about, the U-value and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient( SHGC).

The lower the U-value, the less heat your window will lose. The lower the SHGC, the less heat gain one can expect from sunlight passing through the glass.

In a temperate climate, both numbers should be low as possible to provide the most gain.

Think about the location and climate when deciding which windows to buy. For example, one who lives in a predominantly cold, wintry climate might consider triple-paned glass, whereas another might not ever see snow, in which case triple-paned glass just does not make sense.

Once a glass choice is made, the headache is not over quite yet!

When looking at window designs, one will encounter a few of them more frequently than the rest. Double-hung windows are a two-piece, top and bottom section put into a single frame. To open such a window, one simply has to unlock and slide the bottom pane upward. Their downfall is wind resistance. Cold air likes to work its way in between the two sliding panes.

Casement windows are the ones with the cranks that open and close them. They actually seal up better when the wind hits them, pushing the frame toward the building, but the hinges and seals must be kept under careful watch to maintain peak efficiency.

Picture windows do not open or close at all, and the most important factors have been previously discussed (i.e. frame and glass choice). Keep these designs and their various attributes in mind.

Even after all of the work put into deciding which windows to purchase, one must be sure that they are installed correctly.

Reliance on expanding foam insulation, caulking and other sealants is not the way to go. The windows were chosen for their beneficial properties, not the sealing products. Proper fit and placement is important, as well as the inclusion of flashing to deter water damage.

If one feels that they are not qualified or experienced enough to perform self-installation, it is recommended that a professional handyman be found.

Be sure to meet with more than one installer before hiring them. Their quality workmanship will influence the effectiveness of the windows throughout their useful life.

Saving Money With Energy Efficient Water Heaters

April 7th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

Manufacturers have made many technological advances on their water heaters. They are no longer an oversized tank that contains a heating element in order to heat water. These older models are not energy efficient at all and they could be costing you hundreds of dollars each year in unnecessary heating bills. Newer models are much more efficient in heating water and the very high energy efficient models are even offered with tax rebates or government subsidies.

Most builders almost always install a cheap tank appliance when they build a home. They do this in order to save money on their own costs. These units are either too small for the job in hand or they are the wrong type of model all together.

Smaller homes where there is only one bathroom present will benefit from a tankless water heater. These are on-demand units that only supply hot when it is required by appliances and family members. They are no longer frowned upon where they do not provide enough hot water when required. They are even being used in much larger homes as you can link two together to provide enough hot water for three bathrooms.

Smaller tank models can now be bought that can provide you with the same amount of hot water as your older large water tank. This is because the elements are more efficient at heating water and the tank is also much more efficient at keeping the stored water hot. New technologies such as heat pumps are also able to use a combination of supplying hot water from a tank as well as providing hot water on demand. This means that you have the best of both models within one. This can also be called a hybrid water heater.