If you have old windows, you are probably paying much more for heating and cooling than you would like. Older windows are often made of wood, which is likely to warp or rot with time. This will leave gaps in the seal between the window and the house, allowing heated or cooled air to escape. The best fix for this problem is to invest in replacement windows. Modern windows are made of more durable, weather-resistant materials. If you are particularly concerned about energy efficiency, you want to consider two materials in particular: fiberglass and vinyl.
Fiberglass: Pros and Cons
Fiberglass lasts longer than vinyl. Fiberglass is a great choice if you live in an area that experiences drastic temperature fluctuations. It is able to withstand more of the elements because it expands and contracts at the same rate as the glass it holds. Though it expands and contracts, fiberglass does not warp or chip. Fiberglass looks like to wood, giving your home a more natural look. A bonus feature is that it can be painted like wood too.
Fiberglass can be a costly investment, and is significantly more expensive than vinyl. In fact, the least expensive fiberglass windows are around the same price as the highest quality vinyl. Also, fiberglass requires more maintenance than vinyl. You will need to give your fiberglass windows a fresh coat of paint every couple years to cover up the natural wear and tear.
Vinyl: Pros and Cons
The best thing about vinyl is the price. Made from the inexpensively manufactured and readily available polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl windows usually cost around half of comparable fiberglass windows. They are also more energy efficient than fiberglass. Not only do they save you money up front, they also work to save you heating and cooling costs once they are installed. Vinyl does not have to be painted at all, and it comes in a variety of colors to match your home's exterior.
The down side of vinyl replacement windows is that they will warp and bend when exposed to extreme temperatures. Homes in hot climates are not the best candidates for vinyl replacement windows. Also, they do lose their luster after being exposed to the elements. Unfortunately, they cannot be painted to bring them back to life. They have a much shorter life expectancy than fiberglass windows.
Both vinyl and fiberglass are good choices for replacement windows. Consult a professional to get help determining which material is best for your climate and budget. You should also consider having the professional install the windows for you, to ensure it is done properly.Share
10 February 2015
When I was in college, I lived in an old house just south of the university campus with five other girls. When we came back from Christmas break, the heater was broken. The beginning of January was the coldest time of the year, and because it was the weekend, the heating company couldn't come fix it for a few days. My roommates and I pulled our mattresses into the front room and slept all together to keep warm. Two weeks later, our heater broke again! That time we ended up getting a completely new furnace. Needless to say, we got to be good friends with the heating contractor that month, and it was a good experience that led to the creation of this blog.