Windows are much more than stylish panes of glass through which one can look outside or inside. Sure, this is one of their basic functions, but there is much more to windows than meets the eye. Windows are crucial for managing the amount of heat and light that enter a home. There are also several types of windows which serve different purposes and are suited for certain types of homes.
Types of Windows
Windows fall into two major categories: fixed windows, which stay in place and cannot be opened, and windows that can open. Windows that can be opened vary in type as well. Some are hinged to the wall and open inward and/or outward (casement windows), whereas others slide open either left, right, up, or down.
Windows also come in various styles, shapes and sizes. Some are arch shaped or round, others have thicker or thinner frames, etc. Depending on the shape of the house and the era in which it was built, different styles of windows will better serve the overall aesthetic. But exterior home improvement is only half the battle when it comes to installing new windows.
How Windows Measure Up
The true test of a good window is in how energy efficient is. The U.S. Department of of Energy estimates that inefficient windows (along with skylights and glazed doors) account for over 25% of an an average household’s energy bills. You might be wondering, how can a window be energy efficient?
A primary function of windows is keeping heat inside a home, which means good windows reduce energy costs (especially in colder seasons) by insulating a home. In warmer weather, the most energy efficient windows also keep excessive heat and light out so that a home remains at a comfortable temperature.
For windows, energy efficiency is measured by what’s called a U-factor. This is a number somewhere between .02 and 1, where the lower the number, the better the insulation.
Experts agree that windows should be replaced about every 20 years. The cost of window installation depends on several factors, including number of windows, type of window, labor (removal and installation), and more. Fortunately, the investment one makes in having new windows installed is proven to be worth it. On average, window replacement yields a return on investment (ROI) of 70%. With new windows, you can live more comfortably, save a significant amount on energy costs, and increase the resale value of your home.