How to Choose Replacement Windows


Replacing old windows provides an opportunity to update the look of your house and increase the energy efficiency of you home. There are a variety of styles, materials and frames to chose from when you are shopping. Take your time looking for new windows so you can thoroughly compare your options and find the windows that suit your style and budget.

Things You'll Need

  • internet (for research)
  • pen and paper (to take notes while comparison shopping).
  • Measure your old windows and look for replacements that will fit without difficulty.

  • Look for windows that complement the current style of your home. Consider factors such as the color, size and design of your house. Window frames are made from a variety of materials, including, fiberglass, wood and aluminum. Each type of frame imparts its own character to the style of your house.

  • Inspect installation instructions and warranty information. Some windows are more difficult to install than others and warranties will vary by manufacturer.

  • Look for window that sports the National Fenestration Rating Council, NFRC, stickers. NFRC is a third-party company that strives to uniformly label windows and other products with accurate information regarding energy efficiency. Energy Star products must have NFRC stickers.

  • Read the energy efficiency ratings on the window to determine how much heat is lost or gained through the window. According to the NFRC, the two most important ratings are the U-factor, the rate of heat loss from you home to the outdoors, and the solar heat gain coefficient, the rate of heat gain from the outdoors into your home. If you are in a cold climate, choose a low U-factor and in a warmer climate choose a low SHGC.

  • Evaluate the value of gas fills between the window panes for your budget and your area. A gas, such as Argon, keeps the temperature inside the home stable regardless of the outside temperature.

  • Buy the highest quality windows that you can afford.

Tips & Warnings

  • A window resists heat flow more when it has multiple panes rather than a single, large pane of glass.
  • To avoid being taken advantage of, shop at reputable and well-established companies.

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  • Photo Credit Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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