replacing my windows in my house

Old 07-28-07, 05:44 PM
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Location: Austin, TX
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Question replacing my windows in my house


I am living in a home built in 1997 and the windows are the cheap builder's windows and screens.

I would like to replace them with some type of energy efficient, cost effiecient window. Especially where the sun hits directly into the window all day long.

We have the top of the line screen that we started to put on two of them. However, I think replacing the window with a high quality window would be better then putting in top of the line screens.

I live in a very hot climate and no snow ever. What window types are available? I have never bought windows, and do not know anything about them.

Since we have lived here I approached this from the inside with thermal drapes, black out drapes, heavy duty drapes on top of the thermal drapes, etc. I would love to open the drapes to see outside and not worry about the heat transfer.

What are the types of windows? Are they expensive? What is the cost of installtion of say a regular window? I am afraid I will get ripped off with either the quality or the price or both.

Please give me suggestions and thoughts of how to proceed.

Thanks ~
Old 07-29-07, 11:21 AM
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Buying windows is kinda like buying a car. You can pay about as much or as little as you want to for them. Some of the items (options) available in windows will be of little or no use to you. Given your hot climate, forget any gas fill. That works well in a cold climate, but does virtually nothing to improve the efficiency of a window in a hot climate.

Glass -- double pane, or possibly triple pane. (Not conviced that the third pane is really needed in your climate. We are probably as hot as you are, and we DO get snow occasionally. Nobody here has triple panes.) Low-E or Low-E squared is a must!!

Frames -- Either vinyl, clad or wood. The down side of wood is the maintenance.

Grids are your call. They do nothing except change the looks of the windows, inside and out.

The only way to get an accurate idea of the cost of installation is to get a few quotes from local glass shops or contractors. Just be aware of what they are trying to sell you.
Old 07-29-07, 02:38 PM
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Thanks for the info. I have the vinyl windows now single pane with the criss cross pane on the front of the house. The back windows (where the sun hits most of the day) is plain glass windows with the decoration. They did put solar screens on, but now they are even worn out.

Appreciate your help. Thanks again.
Old 07-30-07, 12:33 AM
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Hello it was nice that I found this place where I can get many ideas regarding home maintenance. Anyways regarding windows I agree with what one of the persons said here, that it is like buying a car as the proper choice becomes indeed difficult. Now in my case I also reside in a tropical climate which ensures a lot of hot weather and I have now decided to get an AC for myself. I want to know what window should I put up for the same?
Old 07-31-07, 04:38 AM
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As lefty said, there are all sorts of available options and some of them will benefit you and some won't.

There are four primary window frame materials currently out there - wood (clad and unclad), vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. From an energy efficiency standpoint wood, vinyl, and fiberglass are all pretty comparable.

Aluminum, even with thermal break, is not as efficient as the other options. But as a general rule that is more of a concern in heating areas - where it is becoming quite rare to find aluminum windows - versus cooling areas where aluminum frames are still rather common.

You will want a LowE2 or LowE3 coating in a dual pane IG package. All LowE coatings are designed to reflect heat (IR energy), but while a standard LowE coating reflects longwave IR radiation it allows shortwave IR (direct solar gain) to pass relatively unscathed thru the glass.

A LowE2 or LowE3 coating on the other hand reflects both longwave and shortwave IR - meaning that the coating will reflect both ambient heat as well as direct solar heat gain. Look for a window with a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of .30 or lower for best performance.

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