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Posted on August 26, 2017

Replacement Windows: What Are The Benefits of Vinyl Windows?

When you feel the time is right for replacement windows in Kansas , you should give some thought to what you want from them. Should you choose something modern, such as gleaming white vinyl windows or go traditional with bay windows or even wooden sashes like your grandma might have had? Then you have cost to consider, and how savings in energy costs due to improved insulation might offset the cost of your windows.

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Then you have color, in fact, when you think about it, it's not necessary the simple choice you thought it would be. How about the material of construction, and should you give serious consideration to vinyl windows for your Kansas home rather than more solid wooden or metal frames?

House Doors And Windows

Replacement Windows for Kansas homes  - A Buyers Guide

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A single pane of glass used to be the only option for windows, but not anymore. Double pane windows have become very popular in new construction and as replacement windows over the years, due to their energy efficient properties and other advantages, such as sound reduction. Double pane windows are very good insulators, keeping warm air in and cold air out. What makes them such effective insulators? Part of the answer lies not in the glass itself, but in the space in between the two panes.

The space between the two panes in a double pane window is usually about half an inch wide, and is typically filled with argon or another inert gas. These gases are nontoxic, nonreactive, clear, and odorless. Argon is also inexpensive, making it a common choice for this purpose.

Inert gasses are heavier and denser than air, so their molecules do not move as easily. Having inert gasses between the panes of glass makes it more difficult for the warmer inside air to pass through the glass to the colder outside. This helps keep warm air from escaping during the cold winter months, saving on heating costs.

With lower heat loss, the window's R-Value, which measures its resistance to heat flow, is increased. A higher R-Value means a more energy-efficient window. A single pane glazed window generally has an R-Value of about 0.85, and a double pane glazed window without an argon fill may have an R-Value between 1.5 and 2.0. A double pane glazed window with an argon gas fill is considerably more energy efficient, as seen by its higher R-Value, between 2.7 and 3.6.

Double Pane Windows and Argon Gas

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If a double pane window is better than a single pane window, should I use triple pane windows?

This is getting to be an appropriate question, "Should a window retrofit use triple pane windows?" The vinyl window manufactures are getting so good at making energy-efficient windows, it doesn't take much for them to throw in another pane of glass or two. Wonder if we will be considering quad pane windows one of these days?

If you were really interested in saving energy and wanted the best wall construction possible, you wouldn't put a window in the wall to begin with. A wall without a window has a greater R-value and fewer air leaks. We know how to build a wall that will separate the outdoors from the indoors - what we don't know how to do is build a wall that will keep the outdoors out and the indoors in and still let light through. Come to think about it, our need to let light in is at the root of the problem.

Actually, letting light in is just one of the needed benefits of having a wall with a window. Being able to see through the wall is another benefit and being able to get out of a room during a fire is another. Energy wise, a door is not much better than a window, so I guess windows are here to stay.

The Space Between the Glass:

A window with more than one piece of glass is a real blessing for saving energy and helping with indoor comfort. There is more to a vinyl window than just several panes of glass. Two panes of glass also come with an insulated frame, mounting flange, and better air seals. But the most important part is not the glass, but the space between the glass. Considering window performance, it's the space between the glass that makes the difference.

The Future of Windows:

In the near future, the efficiency ratings of windows will continue to drop. The only way a window manufacturer will be able to reach the energy efficiency ratings of the future is with three or four panes of glass. If you are seriously considering a retrofit window project, you should select the best window for your climate and that means the window will have three panes of glass.

Yes, three pane windows are more expensive than two pane windows. Shop around for the best U-factor and the best SHGC for the best price. If finances are the deciding factor, it will be better to install two triple pane windows than three double pane windows. Stick with the triple pane window and you will have greater energy efficiency for the future which will save you money for years to come.

P.S. Buy your windows and window installation from a local glass company or a licensed general contractor. Please don't buy our windows from a super salesman at a home show that has all the financing you need and a worthless lifetime warranty to go with it.

Thanks for stopping by, please come back soon, but I won't leave the light on for you...

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