Windows Make the World Wonderful
Atlantic Building Materials, Inc. offers a much wider array of products than any one brand can supply. Let us show you the decorative styles and details available, and make your selection suit your personal style. Our replacement products are custom-made to fit any window opening, no matter the age of your home or commercial property. Ensure your satisfaction by having Atlantic Window and Door install them for you.
Types and Options
Windows that have a sash at the bottom that slides up and down and tilts in for cleaning. However, the top glass or sash is fixed, and generally these Windows are only available with a half screen. They are the least complicated “hung” window and are therefore generally the least expensive.
These are like Single Hung Windows but both the Top and Bottom Sash can be operated and tilted in. They allow for a full screen and tilting of both sashes for easy cleaning.
These windows include one glass or sash that does not open. These are also referred to as “picture windows.”
These are a 3 window combination that project outward from the wall. They commonly are made up of two single or double hung windows with a wider fixed center window, or casement windows on each side of a wider fixed center window.
These are a 4 or more window combination that project outward from the wall. They commonly are made up of equal sized fixed windows.
These windows are side-mounted on hinges or hardware that allows them to be operated by cranks that swing the sash outward. Modern windows usually open fully for easy cleaning and offer excellent ventilation. Casement windows are installed singly or in multiple units, and modern casement and awning windows have the benefit of being some of the most air tight operating windows available. Since the sash opens outward, the screen is installed on the inside. In some cases retractable screens are available.
These windows are top-mounted on hinges and operated by cranks that swing the sash outward. They open for excellent ventilation while having the benefit of being able to fend off the occasional shower better than other types of windows.
Should I Replace My Windows? What You Need to Know…
Three of the main reasons people choose to replace their windows:
- Energy efficiency: Is your home drafty? Are certain rooms hotter in the summer or colder in the winter than the rest of the house? Are you not able to enjoy your windows because of insulated curtains or other attempts to better insulate the window?
- Operation: Often older wood windows are painted or caulked closed. Many windows are not functional for other reasons, like broken or missing hardware.
- Style and function: Would you rather have a casement window where a double hung window is? How about a large fixed window where two windows are now? Would you prefer a garden window over the sink, or replace a garden window with a more traditional window? Do you feel your bow window dates your house? Tell us what you want and let us show you how many options we can offer!
When is it time to replace your windows?
Often we see wooden windows that have rotted, for which this is no longer a question (see HERE – ** Go to page: How your old windows may be costing…). In other cases, it may not be as obvious. Here are a few reasons to consider replacing your windows:
- Older windows often do not operate properly. We frequently see older wood windows that are painted or caulked closed. This prevents them from being opened for ventilation or egress. Usually, these windows still are not completely sealed and could still be leaking a considerable amount of air around the sashes, especially compared to new windows. Other types of windows, like aluminum, and vinyl framed windows, often have broken hardware. This can render them unable to operate properly, allowing for much greater air leakage if they do not close and lock properly.
- Older windows generally do not have energy efficient glass. Most windows sold before the 1980’s did not have insulated glass, and very few sold before 2000 had Low-e coatings. These two technologies together can cut heat loss through modern windows to 1/4 that of older single glass windows (NOT including air infiltration!).
- Style and function. We often meet people who want to change an aspect of their windows. Windows can be changed to fixed from moving, to moving from fixed, or the way they operate can be changed completely (Pictures: DSC_5950 and 6020* then Before and after.jpg). In some cases we have replaced a twin or triple window with a single fixed window, enhancing the view style, and efficiency all at once. The style of grills in new windows can be changed or removed completely to suit newer styles, or duplicated to maintain a classic style (see HERE). In many cases, storm windows have been installed on older windows in an effort to increase their efficiency. The difference in the look of the house with new windows and without the “storms” can sometimes be significant.
How your old windows may be costing you comfort and money, and what you should know about replacements.
One of the main reasons people feel they should replace their windows is for better energy efficiency and the increased comfort that more efficient windows provide.
One way energy is lost is by air leaking through or around your windows.
Air can leak between the window’s sashes and frame due to window design, because of aging and deterioration of window components, and from lack of maintenance. Air can also leak around a window’s main frame in some cases. Cold or hot outside air coming in through or around a window can affect your comfort and power bills in a number of ways. Most obviously it makes for an uncomfortable, drafty house full of rooms that are hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The dust and pollen coming through drafty windows can irritate allergies and make for a house that “needs another good dusting”, even though it had one a week ago. There are also the effects of humidity. In the summertime, the outside air may be warm and humid, while inside you are paying good money for your air to be cool and dry. Not only does the outside air that leaks in require extra work from your air conditioner to cool it, but for comfort in the home, you also have to dehumidify it. Likewise in the winter, cold dry air comes in and makes your house even drier, meaning you have to run your humidifier or suffer the effects of low humidity. All modern, rated windows have reasonably low air infiltration rates (some much better than others) compared to older windows. However, most manufacturers do not make these numbers readily available. Ask us for the information; if we do not already have it for the particular window brand and model you are considering, we should be able to get it for you.
A second way energy is lost through a window or door is through conduction.
Conduction is the transfer of heat through a solid. Modern windows nearly always utilize insulated glass to slow the conduction of heat through them. Insulated glass consists of two or more panes of glass to create dead air space to further insulate against the conduction of heat through it. This dead air space can be filled with certain gasses, like Argon, to increase the insulation value compared to the dry air typically used. A window’s ability to insulate against conduction is reported as its U-value-a test derived insulation rating whose units are: BTUs (volume of heat) per square foot per hour per degree (temperature difference between the inside and outside of the house). Since the U-value is actually the number of BTUs traveling through the opening over time, the lower the value the better.
A third way energy is lost through windows is through radiation.
Heat is radiated through the glass of windows or doors in the form of infrared light, which goes through the glass just like visible light. Infrared light is best envisioned as the warmth we feel from the sun’s rays, but everything emits infrared light based on its temperature. This infrared light travels through the air, through the glass, and into our homes and heats whatever it shines upon. It can be direct sunshine or heat radiated from something outside that the sun has warmed. Low-Emissivity coatings (generally known as Low-E coatings) are applied to the surface of the glass used in modern windows. Low-E coatings are manufactured by glass companies and vary in type, makeup, and density. These coatings are placed on the glass to selectively reflect the infrared light, yet (they attempt to) remain clear to visible light. The window’s resistance to radiant heat (or its ability to reflect it) is reported as its Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The SHGC is a coefficient of how much of the radiant heat (infrared light) passes through the window. It is a value ranging from 0.0 to 1.0, with 0.0 being no radiant heat transmitted, and 1.0 being all radiant heat transmitted through the window. It is a “whole window” number, meaning it measures the amount of energy that passes through the window, compared to the amount that strikes the outside dimension of the window. Because window frames generally do not pass infrared light, it will never be 1.0. The typical SHGC for a clear (no Low-E or tint) glass window is .6 – .7. Average SHGC for windows with Low-e glass is about .25 – .35, while we regularly see upgraded Low-E windows with SHGC of .18. Especially here infamously hot Columbia, the lower the number the better. An interesting thing about radiation: since heat radiates from hot to cold, our homes radiate heat OUT in the winter time. That is why Low-e glass is even effective at night in the winter, not just if the sun shines on the window in the summer.
Condensation Resistance (CR) Rating is a rating of how well a window resists moisture condensation on its inside surfaces during periods of cold weather. These low outside temperatures conduct through the various window components and cause cold surface temperatures on the inside of the window. This allows the relatively warm, humid inside air to condensate moisture onto the inside surfaces of the window. It is much more important in areas that have lower outside temperatures than ours in South Carolina. All modern windows have better CR than many older types of windows; particularly aluminum framed or single glazed windows. CR Rating is a number between 1 and 100, with actual window ratings generally between a very low of 15 to a very high of 72. Higher numbers are more resistant to condensation.
Visible Transmittance (VT) is the amount of visible light that passes through the window. Like SHGC, VT is a coefficient. It is a measure of how much of the visible light passes through the window. It is a value ranging from 0.0 to 1.0, with 0.0 being no light transmitted and 1.0 being all light transmitted through the window. It is a “whole window” measurement, meaning it compares the amount of light that passes through the window to the amount that strikes the outside of the window (frame included). Because window frames do not allow light to pass, it will never be 1.0. Because even clear glass doesn’t pass all the visible glass that hits it, and the frame passes none, windows with clear (not Low-E or tinted) glass generally have VT in the .57 – .72 range. Light coats of Low-e generally have VT in the .40 – .55 range and look only slightly tinted. Heavier Low-E coatings can have VT down into the .35 – .50 range, and start to look more tinted accordingly.
What to look for in a replacement window
In most cases, replacing windows or doors allows you to improve a number of aspects compared to the previous situation.
- Energy efficiency
- Looks / style
- Sound transmission
- Durability/ease of maintenance
An easy way to compare windows is to look for the energy rating stickers that most windows manufactured today have. This sticker reports energy ratings as measured by the National Fenestration Rating Council, and is referred to as the NFRC sticker. It provides third party test-based ratings of the energy efficiency of windows and doors. The information featured on these stickers includes the window’s U-value, SHGC, and VT. It may also have a CR Rating, but reporting the CR is not required of window manufacturers.
We understand that at times this may be confusing. Please contact us today and we will help you put it all in perspective and find the right doors or windows for your project.
We can provide a professional installation of all products we sell, by our own employees- NOT contractors- for that just right, guaranteed quality installation that gives proper operation, best fit and seal, and air and water tightness that gives years of satisfaction. Money well spent! You have invested time and energy in finding the right window or door for your needs, have our professionals install it for you to ensure your satisfaction for the years to come.