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Energy-efficient windows save the homeowner money on utility costs each and every month. On the surface that sounds like a wonderful thing and in many cases, it is. But everything comes at a price, so what exactly are the pros and cons of energy efficient windows?

Windows have changed a great deal in just the past ten years. Today’s energy windows are almost invisibly sprayed with a metallic coating that reflects more than half of the sun’s harmful UV rays back into the outdoors while allowing almost 100% of the sun’s natural light to shine through. A room supplied with UV-protected windows is not the gloomy place it was just a few years ago.

Advantages of Energy-Saving Windows

Windows used to be energy sinkholes, robbing a room of its warmth and causing utility bills to soar. Fortunately, CasementPushoutthat is not true any longer. An energy efficient window consists of two or more panes of specially treated glass with a layer of an inert gas, such as argon, trapped between the panes. Argon does not transfer heat well and so acts as an energy “blanket” between the sheets of glass, preventing the room’s warmth from escaping through the window.

But there is a lot more to an efficient window than simply an argon heat barrier. As previously alluded to, energy-efficient window glass is specially treated with a thin film of metallic particles which are designed to reflect away the sun’s UV rays while at the same time trapping the heat that is in a room and reflecting it back into the home. The result is an immediate saving on utility bills for the homeowner, but more than that, the view through an energy efficient double-paned window is virtually as clear and unobstructed as the view through an untreated single-pane window.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (the NFRC) rates windows for their insulating properties, their visual transmittance (how easily they can be seen through), their solar gain coefficient (how well they protect a room from the sun’s heat and UV rays) and air leakage around the edges of the windows. Homeowners should pay special attention to NFRC ratings and should look for the Energy Star ratings that are based on the homeowner’s region of the country.

If windows are 20 years old or older, if the windows have begun to leak, or if the homeowner is simply tired of paying utility bills that seem too high, the homeowner should look into replacing them with new energy efficient windows.

The new energy-efficient glass is more expensive than old-fashioned standard windows. However, the initial cost should not be the only factor when deciding on new windows. The window experts at United Home Experts, for example, can help a homeowner calculate the energy savings that can be expected with new windows. By calculating the energy saved each month, these experts can help the homeowner determine how much money will be saved each month on utility costs. In this way, the homeowner can see exactly how long it will take for the new windows to pay for themselves and how much extra money the homeowner can enjoy each month. The homeowner should also keep in mind that as energy prices rise in the future, their savings will also increase with time.

One final advantage to double-paned windows is outside noise reduction. Homeowners who replace single pane windows with double paned windows, especially windows with a high Energy Star rating, report that street noise is reduced considerably, making for an overall more comfortable living environment.

Disadvantages of Energy-Saving Windows

Probably the biggest drawback to energy windows is the initial cost. Many homeowners, especially if they are andersenbathroom-resized-600planning to replace a number of windows, might see costs of 10% to 15% more for double-paned energy windows as opposed to double paned non-energy efficient windows. For a home with several windows, the added cost can increase the bottom line quite a lot.

Double-paned windows are heavier than single paned windows, and for some homeowners that might be a drawback.

Also, in order to see any significant energy savings each month, a homeowner must replace all older windows with the new, higher-priced energy windows at the same time. No appreciable savings will result from simply replacing one old, leaky window with a new high-efficiency window while leaving all the others in place. However, replacing all the windows at the same time can be a large job and can also be expensive.

It is also necessary for homeowners to be quality-conscious when buying high-efficiency windows. Off brands or cut-rate windows may not be properly sealed and can cause more problems than they solve. Poorly insulated double-paned windows can allow condensation to form between the windowpanes, indicating that the windows are not doing their job properly. Saving money up-front by buying lower-priced windows may not result in the energy savings that the homeowner had planned on. This situation can be eliminated by only dealing with reputable companies such as United Home Experts, who have years of experience installing high-efficiency windows in the Northeast, and who only sell quality windows.

To sum up, the advantage of high-efficiency windows is a reduction in harmful UV radiation entering the home marvinwindows-resized-600from the outside while at the same time reflecting the heat inside the home back into the home. This results in substantially lower monthly utility bills. Modern high-efficiency windows are also virtually clear, affording almost perfect views, as opposed to the film-coated windows of only a few years ago.

The disadvantages are a higher initial cost (although high-efficiency windows generally pay for themselves within three to four years through lower monthly utility bills) and the fact that in order to get any real monthly savings all the windows in a home must be replaced at the same time.

The experts at United Home Experts have helped out many families pick and choose the right window for their homes while saving them on the utility bills. The team at United are certified window installers by major brand manufacturers and our members have over 20 years of experience of installing windows, so you can count on us.

A casement window, or casement, is affixed to a frame at the side by one hinge or multiple hinges. They differ from awning windows, which have top hinges, and from hoppers, which have bottom hinges. This type of window can either be used by itself or as part of a pair within the same frame. What are the casement window pros and cons? Read on to find out.

Pros

Ventilation

These windows offer the best ventilation of any other window type. Since they open outward, they can catch fresh 13air, side breezes, and light more easily than other window types. While open, the standard casement window is 100% open to the outside, except in the case of a pair of casement flanking windows on either side of a fixed picture window.

Energy Efficiency

When these windows are closed, they are the most energy-efficient of all window types. Because the casement window sash is movable, it is able to fasten very securely to the weather-stripping when in a locked position; thus, very little outside air can get in. This type of window is especially good to have in a very windy climate.

Ease of Washing

Because of its design, this type of window is usually a very good choice for hard to reach places. This is why it is so often found over kitchen sinks. Because they are cranked open instead of being slid up and down, casement windows are easier to open and close, and this also makes it easier to wash them.

Most of today’s better-constructed casements pivot on their hinges as they open, moving the entire sash away from the hinge side of the window frame. This provides a space to reach through to wash the outside of the window while still being able to stand inside the house.

Brand Quality

There are major power players in this industry, including Marvin, Simonton, Pella, and Andersen. There are many quality window manufacturers, but our caution is to evaluate each brand because quality varies with pricing and brand. We can walk through the best recommendations with tailored estimates with different window brands and pricing.

Cons

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Easier to Break Into

 

Casement hardware and hinges should be checked thoroughly before installation, and they should be checked periodically to make sure they are maintaining their stability. This type of window is usually very difficult to break into even if they are locked, but as they age and their hardware becomes rusty or faulty, they become an easy target for burglars. Consult with the professionals at United Home Experts, and they will send a contractor out to inspect older casements and make recommendations as needed.

More Expensive

This type of window is can be more expensive than other types of windows. If casement windows are desired, a quality window is a must. Because of the weight added by multiple glazed sashes, both the hardware and structure of the casement window selected need to be top-notch.

Size Limitations

There is a reason for never seeing large casements. There are limitations, when it comes to size, even given the best hardware and construction techniques. The consultants at United Home Experts can give customers a much better idea of the maximum sizes available.

There are many reasons to invest in casement windows for the home, but there are also some major disadvantages to using them. Discussing these and other issues with a qualified professional like the ones at United Home Experts will help savvy homeowners made an informed decision.

ENERGY = MONEY

Almost every homeowner is concerned these days with energy efficiency. The reason for such concern has to do with saving money. Energy efficiency translates into savings on utility bills each and every month. Over the course of a year even small monthly savings can add up to a fair amount of money saved.

One way that homeowners can save on utilities each month is to make certain that their windows are energy efficient.

HOW ARE DATED WINDOWS COSTING ME?

Old-fashioned windows that allowed heat and air conditioning to escape quickly and easily are now a thing of the past. Today’s highly energy efficient windows are nothing like the windows of even twenty years ago. With older-style windows, a home could lose as much as 30% of its energy costs through its single-pane windows. In fact, windows used to be considered thermal holes, but no more. Today’s windows are closer to being thermal blankets than they are to being thermal holes.

HOW EXACTLY DO THESE WINDOWS WORK?

How energy efficient windows work is not difficult to understand. Nor is it difficult to compute just how much the average homeowner can expect to save on utility bills each month.

High-efficiency windows consist of two or more panes of glass with an inert gas, generally argon, filling the space between the panes. This inert gas does not conduct either heat or cold well, thus providing an excellent thermal barrier. But that is not the only way an energy efficient window prevents heat from escaping a home.

HOW HEAT IS LOST BY CONVENTIONAL WINDOWS

  • When heat is lost by simply passing straight through an object and then escaping onto the other side of an object 10(such as heat passing through a single-pane window glass), this is known as conductivity.
  • Heat can also escape in other ways. It can pass through glass directly as infrared energy this is known as radiation.
  • It can also be lost through convection. When the warm air inside a home touches a cold pane of glass, the warm air gives up its energy, sinks to the floor and pulls more warm air against the cold glass, causing drafts.
  • The final way in which heat escapes is through poorly insulated areas as simple air leakage.

HOW DO I CALCULATE MY SAVINGS?

The speed with which heat dissipates has a U value. The lower the U rating, the better a material blocks the dissipation of heat. Insulation has an R rating. The higher the R-value, the better a material insulates.

Energy efficient windows sometimes have both an insulation rating (an R rating) and a U rating to indicate how quickly heat passes through the window. What the homeowner is looking for is a window with the highest R rating and the lowest U rating that is affordable. Many windows only have an R rating. Remember, the higher the R-value, the better.

INSTALLATION COST VS. MONTHLY SAVINGS

Highly energy-efficient windows have a higher initial cost than normal windows, but initial cost is not the whole story.

Depending on weather conditions, high-efficiency windows can save the homeowner a quarter of their cost or even more in energy savings each year, meaning that high-efficiency windows can pay for themselves in four years or even less, and each year after that they are putting money into the homeowner’s pocket through utility savings.

With only a little maintenance, high-efficiency windows can last for fifteen to twenty years, or even longer, meaning that over their lifetime they pay for themselves over and over in energy savings.

Plus, as the price of energy continues to go up, the monthly savings grow even higher.

THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS OF ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOWS

So how exactly does a high-efficiency window keep the sun’s heat out and keep the heat from the house in? Part of it has to do with the double panes and the argon gas as described earlier. However, a very large part of the “secret” of high efficiency windows is in the glass itself. There is an almost invisible coating on the high-efficiency glass. The coating contains tiny particles of metal, which reflect the sun’s damaging UV rays back outside the window to keep a home cool in the summer, and which also bounce the heat inside the home back into the interior of the house keeping the house snugly warm in the winter.

LOW-E WINDOWS

These windows, often called Low-E windows, in effect have an almost invisible mirror built into them that holds the home’s heat in and keeps the sun’s UV heat out.

An even higher R-value window has triple panes of glass, and two hollow chambers filled with argon gas. The 11primary problem with this type of window is the weight. Three panes of glass in a single window are heavy as well as bulky and require extra time and cost to mount properly. Such windows do, however, save a considerable amount of energy and so save the homeowner money on utility bills each and every month.

Possibly a better window yet has a sheet of a suspended film hung between two panes of coated glass. The suspended clear sheet is also coated with reflective metal particles just like the glass, but the suspended sheet is much lighter and slightly more transparent, allowing a clearer view than a heavier three-pane window while providing virtually the same high R-value of insulation. Suspended film windows are both lighter in weight and less costly.

The last element in energy-efficient windows are the low conductivity spacers mounted all the way around the edge of each piece of glass. The edges of glass represent the area most susceptible to the transfer of heat, but modern windows have placed low-conductivity spaces in this area to totally minimize the conduction of heat around the edges of the glass.

Thus an entire window system is created with one goal and only one goal: to keep harmful UV radiation out and to keep the good, clean heat of the building from escaping to the outside.

 

THE RESULTS OF ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOWS

The result is a warm, comfortable living environment with utility costs kept to an absolute minimum. Homeowners considering replacing existing windows would do well to consider energy efficient windows and the long-term savings that they represent.

Those in the Northeast who are seriously looking at the monthly savings that high-efficiency windows provide should talk to the window experts at United Home Experts. The highly trained installers at UHE have years of training and real-world experience in installing high-efficiency windows and they can answer any questions that a homeowner may have including calculating how long it will take for the high-efficiency windows to pay for themselves in monthly utility savings.

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Homeowners today have more window choices than ever before and each manufacturer has convincing arguments that their particular type of window frame is the best. This article makes no attempt to sell the homeowner on a particular type of window; the only goal is to provide the homeowner with unbiased information regarding the pros and cons of wood windows so the homeowner is better equipped to make an informed decision.

Deciding what is right for a particular home remodel can be exceptionally difficult, especially when it comes to replacing windows. Homeowners who are conflicted should talk to someone who knows windows inside and out, such as the window experts at United Home Experts. We install virtually every type of window imaginable, which means our recommendations can be based solely on what is right for a particular home and for a particular budget and not on which product they are expected to push.

There are vinyl windows, steel-framed windows, clad wood, composite, aluminum, and fiberglass windows as well as genuine wood. A lot of choices; a lot of pros and cons to weigh and consider.

The Advantages of Wood-Framed Windows

For many people, especially those in older, more traditional homes, there really is no choice other than real wood-5framed windows. There are several advantages, as well as drawbacks, to genuine wood.

Genuine wood has a look and a feel to it that nothing else can match. Wood is classic; wood is solid; wood is the real deal. Virtually all other window frames attempt to mimic the look of wood. Why settle for cheap imitations when the real thing is available?

Genuine wood frames help to insulate a home far better than almost any other kind of window. Real wood provides 400 times more insulation than steel window frames and 1,800 times as much as aluminum-frame windows. The additional insulation that real wood provides can help keep a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer and can save the homeowner on utility bills all year round. Wood-framed windows also provide an excellent barrier to outdoor sounds”much more so than virtually any other frame.

Wood frames are also easy to install so long as the installer has basic tools and carpentry skills. A homeowner can guarantee that wood windows will be properly installed by employing the services of a true professional from United Home Experts. The skilled technicians at United Home Experts have years of experience installing wood-frame windows and provide a guarantee with each installation.

For the homeowner attempting to go “green,” genuine wood window frames are as environmentally sound as it is 6possible to be. Wood is the very definition of eco-friendly. Trees are a renewable resource, and wood window frames need never end up in a landfill but even if they do, they naturally break down into compounds that are beneficial to the soil.

Wood, if given care, will last a lifetime. The same cannot really be said of most other types of frames. Also, unlike metal frames, wooden frames are not prone to rust – a decided plus in many locations.

It should be noted that it is also possible to purchase wood-clad window frames. These are wooden frames that are covered on the outside with vinyl or even aluminum. The advantage to wood-clad frames is that the outside of the window is protected from the elements while the inside retains the look, feel and insulating properties of genuine wood.

As far as aesthetics are concerned, wood wins hands-down if the homeowner chooses to paint. While some other types of frames may accept paint, wood embraces any color a homeowner chooses to apply. Wood not only welcomes paint, it virtually demands it. Wood also enhances the value of most homes. The reason most other types of frames attempt to look like wood is that the majority of homeowners prefer wood, and genuine wood window frames almost always demand a premium whenever a home is sold.

The Disadvantages of Wood Frames

The need for paint is one of the disadvantages of genuine wood frames. Wood was once a living substance, and if 7left untreated it can rot or warp and will begin to look old. Wood frames which have not been properly cared for can twist slightly or can swell with moisture, making it difficult (if not impossible) to raise or lower the window. Homes near the ocean, which are subject to salt combined with moist air, are especially vulnerable; wood-frame windows in these homes will need more attention than those in many other areas of the country.

Wood is also vulnerable to insects, especially (but not limited to) termites. Of course, if the home is sided with wood then the tiny extra amount of wood in a wood-framed window makes little difference. Keeping the frame properly painted will ward off insects.

Another disadvantage can be “cost”. Wood frames generally have a higher initial cost than vinyl or steel frames. Keep in mind, however, that wood frames can last far longer than most other frames if properly maintained, and wood never rusts. Many homeowners also feel that the rich, solid, traditional appearance of genuine wood more than makes up for its initial cost difference.

All of this presupposes that the supplier of the wood frames has provided the homeowner with good quality wood 8to begin with. Wood should be free of knots and warping and should have the outward appearance of being in perfect condition. Homeowners can be assured of excellent quality if they deal solely with companies that have an excellent reputation and which are known locally.

In most cases having choices is good, but when it comes to choosing the right windows for a home remodel, the sheer number of choices can become overwhelming. The trick is to seek professional help and advice. The professionals at United Home Experts know windows and they genuinely care about the looks of a home as well as the homeowner’s wallet. Ask for help from the professionals, because choosing the right windows is a decision that most homeowners have to live with for many years.

AndersenCut

Most people don’t often think about window replacement unless there is a major problem. The fact is, though, that are many good reasons for home window replacement, even without a major emergency necessitating the change. Andersen Windows with Stormwatch(R) are some of the best on the market today. Here are just a few of the benefits of adding these amazing accessories to any home.

Improved Seasonal Comfort

Replacing an old, drafty window – especially a single-paned one – can improve your home’s ability to maintain a AndersenBedroom-aw10-103-resized-600warmer interior by about fifty percent. Today’s Energy Star-rated version is made with special technology that combines frames that are energy efficient and high-performing glass.

This same glass that keeps the interior air warm is also better able to protect a home against the hot sun during the summer months. This window type with the high-performing glass reduces the amount of heat that comes into your home by at least fifty percent. Just think of how much heating and cooling bills can be reduced by installing it into the home.

Increased Curb Appeal

Switching out some features of your home can have a dramatic, immediate effect on your its exterior appearance. AndersenExterior-04-075-resized-600United Home Experts has a vast selection of window, door, and siding products that offer many options to homeowners that often complement many homes, whether they have a more traditional or a more contemporary design. And with all the trim packages that are available for both the exterior and the interior, homeowners can be sure that their custom-designed window will have a unique look.

Low Maintenance

Vinyl and fiberglass frames never need to be painted. In many cases, much of the newer hardware used in replacements is constructed from durable stainless steel or die-cast zinc that undergo numerous tests to ensure they will hold up in any home. In fact, most of the best window manufacturers today offer a full lifetime warranty to the original homeowner, covering both materials and labor.

Improved Home Security

In addition, a new window can give your home added security. The Andersen brand has been forced-entry testedAndersenBathroom-resized-600 for safety. Most now offer locking systems with multiple points that render lock breakthroughs nearly impossible.

Reduced Sound Transmission

A new window has the often overlooked ability to inhibit the transmission of sound. Noise comes in various frequencies from many different sources. With the world’s population increasing every year, it is becoming more difficult to control noise by the day. These glass features of the home can be the weakest
link when it comes to maintaining sound control.

Environmental Benefits

Last but not least, a new window can aid in improving the environment. When less energy is used to heat and cool the home, fewer natural resources are being used up, and so there is less impact on the environment.

Is It Time for a Replacement?

Many homeowners may be confused as to whether they really are in need of window replacement. A consult with the professionals at United Home Experts can help any homeowner better understand their options in order to make a more informed replacement window decision.

According to architectural practices, “transom” is a term that is given to any transverse horizontal structural bar or beam. It is also used to describe a crosspiece that separates a door from the window located above it.

Transom windows, also known as transom lights or fanlights, are smaller-sized windows that are usually hinged and set above a doorframe or on a particularly high area of a wall. They have been used in architectural constructions for a very long time. The first were used to decorate early Gothic churches. These windows were unglazed windows located directly in the belfry. They also took the form of spire lights, where they were thought to be necessary to strengthen the overall church wall construction.

Toward the end of the Gothic period in architecture, it became common to include these types of windows in the during (6)-resized-600designs of all structures, including residences and businesses. They were very popular in building construction before the advent of central air because buildings with these windows stayed cooler and more comfortable in the hot summer months than buildings without them.

Today, these window types are highly prized in a variety of architectural settings for the enhanced cross-ventilation they provide while at the same time maintaining an individual’s security and privacy. There are many different types of transom windows that are available on the market today. Here are descriptions of just a few.

Paneled Glass

This type of transom window is built with a frame that is paneled to create a symmetrical pattern or design similar to a grid. These windows are elegant, simple pieces that can be affixed by hinging either at the base or the top of the frame, or on both frame sides. The glass panels that make up this type of transom are almost always divided by vertical strips of metal or wood, but sometimes larger paneled glass transoms include horizontal pieces of wood.

Solid Window

In contrast to the multi-paneled transom, some transoms feature just one piece of glass inside a solid, sturdy frame. Like the paneled transoms style, these solid windows can be affixed or hinged at the frame’s top, bottom or both sides. These solid transoms often feature a heavy piece of frosted, brightly colored or intricately etched glass. They might also contain a piece of glass that is highly embellished for enhanced beauty.

Fanned Window

These transoms are arched, fan-shaped or semicircular and are often called “fanlights” because they resembleFanTransomWindows open decorative fans. This type of window is either fixed in place or hinged at the base to allow the frame to swing from one direction to the other. This style of transom window is usually designed as much for decorative beauty as it is for practicality.

Major Brand Names

Most transom windows that are sold in the Northeast are constructed with vinyl and are manufactured by Pella. There are transoms available in other brand names, but Pella windows are some of the best.

Transoms can add beauty and functionality to any home or office building. To learn more about transom window styles and to see which one might be best for specific architectural needs, individuals should contact the professionals at United Home Experts.

TransomWindows

Transom windows can be installed by themselves (as interior windows), or as decorations above doors and cased openings.  Standard carpentry tools such as nails and hammers are needed, as well as a few simple components to frame the transom.

In addition to the cased opening components, it is necessary to have adequate material for the fabrication of a jamb frame, a stop molding (for holding the sash in place), and a mullion (for installing the transom above your door).

Any homeowner who is looking to add both beauty and functionality to his or her home should consider installing transom windows. Most people won’t have any idea of where to start, so here are the basic instructions for completing transom window installation above a door.

Those that are really looking to take on this project themselves should first get a detailed set of instructions from the window manufacturers. This set of instructions is strictly to get an idea of the process. We are not responsible for any accidents, warranty voids or mishandling. We highly recommend allowing professionals, like ourselves, to replacing your windows. We offer the best warranties and coverage, aside from manufacturers, for replacement windows that are available to homeowners in the New England area.

Step 1. The first thing that is needed is a calculation of the final opening width. Based on this measurement, a transom jamb frame will need to be measured to fit that same width (about a quarter inch bigger on all side than the actual dimension of the door slab). This frame will be made using flat jamb material. The transom sash might need to be cut down slightly in order to fit inside the frame of the jamb.

Step 2. The transom sash should be centered inside the jamb frame and fastened to it. It is often easier to do this while lying on a flat surface to inhibit twisting during assembly. Temporary spacer blocks should be used to hold the transom sash in place until the stop molding can be applied. It is recommended that spacing nails or screws be fastened every eight to twelve inches.

Step 3. The stop molding needs to be cut and assembled on both sides of the sash to provide a completed look forduring (6)-resized-600 your transom. This has the added advantage of covering any gaps that might exist between the jamb frame and the sash.  Some common trim profiles that are used for this purpose include cove mold, quarter round, and square stop. Install shorter (vertical) stop pieces first.  This will allow for the bending of longer pieces into place to obtain a tight fit.

Step 4. The transom unit (the assembled sash and frame) should now be fastened on top of the cased opening or door.  To accomplish this, nail the transom jamb to the head jamb of the door (or cased opening) beneath it.

Step 5. Once everything is assembled, it will be necessary to measure the door and transom together as one unit.  Cut the casing (the two legs and the one header) and install on one complete side of the transom.  Then case the other side of the assembled door / transom after installing the door in the rough opening.  If the transom and the door are assembled directly at the foot of the opening, it is much easier to secure the door in its final position.

Step 6. After applying the casing, complete the transom trimming process by installing the mullion between the jamb frame and the door head jamb.  Adjust the mull detail by installing spacer blocks between the jambs and using a wide mullion to cover the gap.

Step 7. Next, the assembled unit (cased on one side) will need to be placed into the rough opening by plumbing and tacking.  Then shim and nail behind the jamb on the open, uncased, side.

Step 8. After shimming, the uncased side should be measured, cut, and completed.

Step 9. Repeat Step 6 for the unfinished side of the transom.

The process for installing a transom over a cased opening or by itself is completed in the exact same way (without the doors).

These are the basic steps one would take to install a window. Of course, after reading these instructions, some homeowners may prefer toleave the task to the professionals. United Home Experts can help; the company specializes in window installation and a variety of other home improvement projects for those living in the Eastern New England area.