Thursday, November 13, 2008

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Consumer Energy Information: EREC Reference Briefs

Window Frames
For very old windows the frame and glazing had almost the same R-value (about R-1). Modern glass technology has improved the insulating performance (R-value) of the glazing itself (Typically R-3 to 8). What the frame of the window is made of has come to dominate how well the window performs overall. Modern window frames are constructed from a variety of materials including steel, aluminum, wood, vinyl and composites such as fiberglass and epoxy resin. Each material has advantages and disadvantages.

Metal window frames are ideal for openings that require lightweight and strength. However, all metals are very good conductors of heat (R values hundreds of times less than 1). Even metal framed windows with plastic “Thermal breaks” (a plastic strip that separates the exterior side of the frame from the room side) only improve the R-value slightly. There are no metal-framed windows currently available that are comparable in thermal performance to any of the other choices in window frames. Also, unless protected by special finishes, metal frames can oxidize (rust).

Wooden window frames are better insulating than metal frames (about R-1.4 per inch of thickness) and help to prevent cold weather condensation problems inside the house. However wood does require maintenance (i.e. painting). If they aren’t protected from moisture, they can stick, crack, and rot.

Aluminum-clad and Vinyl-clad Wood
Some manufacturers protect their wood frames by wrapping them with vinyl or aluminum. This helps keep wood window maintenance low. However, if the cladding should come loose and expose the wood to water, it can still rot. The thermal performance is about the same as an ordinary wood frame.

Wood-Plastic composites
Some companies make frames out of a mixture of wood, vinyl and an epoxy adhesive. Such frames are very strong, insulate well, and resist rot even when exposed to water frequently. The insulation value is about the same as an ordinary wood frame.

Vinyl window frames are primarily made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Some manufacturers fill the hollow parts of the fame with foam or fiberglass insulation too. Data shows that the difference in performance between filled and hollow vinyl frames is small. Generally vinyl frames of all types are slightly less of a thermal insulator than wood.

Vinyl window frames are also available in many styles and are generally considered low maintenance and they never need painting. However, the ultraviolet (UV) light can fade colors other than white and cause yellowing and “crazing” in the plastic’s surface. Vinyl frames are also not very rigid. Vinyl windows with large openings usually requite an internal metal extrusion to make the frame stiffer. This can lower the frame’s R-value significantly. Vinyl window frames can also soften, warp, and twist if heat builds up within the fame. In very hot sunny climates direct exposure to sunlight is not recommended.

Fiberglass window frames are made of a fiberglass and resin composite. Some frames are hollow; others are filled with fiberglass insulation. Most are pre-finished with a polyurethane coating. Such frames are about R-3.

Fiberglass frames are resistant to warping, shrinking, and rotting. Fiberglass window frames are also relatively strong and durable and can hold a large expanse of glass. You can specify almost any color you desire. You can also paint them.

However, they may not be widely available, as there are few companies manufacturing them currently, and the long-term performance is still unknown. Fiberglass window frames also cost more than the other types of window frames.

Frame Construction

Some windows are divided into small sections of glazing or “divided lights”. A divided light window is considerably less energy efficient than other types because of the large number of glazing edges. However, modern multi-pane windows are often whole sheets of glass with optional plastic or wood grilles that attach to the glazing to give the appearance of a divided light window.

The insulation value of a double-pane or triple-pane window is primarily a product of the air space between the panes of glass. Spacers separate the panes at the edges. Until recently, most edge spacers were made of metal, which means the edge of the window has little or no insulating value. Many manufacturers now use improved edge seals with much better thermal performance.

Metal and vinyl frame corners may be welded or screwed together. Either one is acceptable. However, welding a corner can often distort the weather-stripping groove. Always check how well the weather-stripping meets at the corners. There must be no gaps. Wood frames are often “finger-joined” and glued to make a strong corner.

Window frames
are rated A, B, or C according to their performance in an American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) “aging” test that involves exposure to UV light, moisture, and extreme temperatures. “A” rated windows are the best performers.

Improving the comfort and energy use of a building are the primary factors in deciding to replace windows. Carefully consider your climate, budget, and availability, maintenance, and style of window. You should also check for durability, quality, and warranties. Check the local building department’s requirements regarding egress, safety glass, and window grade before buying. The purchase of the right windows can go far in turning a drafty home into a comfortable and more energy-efficient one.

Vinyl is Widely Reported to Fail in Sunlight and Heat

We have gathered some interesting reports from around the world that point to vinyl windows not being able to withstand sunlight and heat.

"Ultraviolet (UV) light can fade colors other than white and cause yellowing and "crazing" in the plastic's surface. Vinyl frames are also not very rigid. Vinyl windows with large openings usually require an internal metal extrusion to make the frame stiffer. This can lower the frame's R-value significantly. Vinyl window frames can also soften, warp, and twist if heat builds up within the frame. In very hot sunny climates direct exposure to sunlight is not recommended." U.S. Department of Energy.

"Solid vinyl windows are an inexpensive last resort. Give them about 10 years and the vinyl will become faded and brittle from exposure to sunlight and temperature." Teaman Architectural Newsletter, 1999

"PVC (vinyl) expands and contracts and can warp due to heat." Nation's Window's Windows 101, 1999

"All vinyl becomes brittle in extreme cold. It expands and softens in heat." Reader's digest New Do It Yourself Manual"Vinyl frames are not strong. Vinyl frames get soft and warp. They are dimensionally unstable causing warping, cracks, air leaks which cause thermal failure and glass fogging." Washington Post, April 21, 1996

Friday, November 7, 2008

Importance of Windows

Vinyl replacement window are gaining importance. These windows are generally inexpensive. Vinyl replacement windows are made up of PVC, polyvinyl chloride. In a new house, the moldings are made from PVC material. This material has lot of benefits. Because of this material the home maintenance costs may go down. These windows are 100 percent maintenance free. This reduces costs and time. Since vinyl is colored, the dings and scratches are unnoticeable. Mostly people don't think about what type of window they should buy as they think it is a boring part and so they don't focus on it. Mostly homemakers do not think of replacing windows until they are rotten or when they receive high heating bills.

Start taking care of your window. Before buying a vinyl window decide if you want to shop or trust someone else for shopping. Some people do their research on the internet and find their favorite window and then find a window installation company. Many people may find a window company that offers replacement windows and installation service.

Most of the Denver replacement windows are sold through qualified window dealers. These windows do not need painting or sealing and are less expensive than wood. These windows have a quicker turnaround time than wood windows. Some of the tips before buying a window are picking up a window that last for over 40 years. Choose a window that has low e glass. Buy windows that are gas filled for energy efficiency purposes.

Replacement windows come in different styles like double hung windows, picture windows, awning picture windows, hopper windows, sliding windows, casement windows, awning windows, garden windows, bow and bay windows, storm windows, specialty windows. These windows have different colors like white, beige, cocoa brown, white interior and many other colors. Simonton vinyl windows are extremely durable, resists corrosion, maintenance free. These windows are available in a wide range of styles and shapes. It can be installed easily. Double hung windows are divided into two sections. One section can slide up and the other section can slide down. Do not confuse double hung windows with double glazed windows.

Many homemakers like double hung windows because they are good at inhibiting air intrusion into the house and have a classic appearance. These windows are so popular in style that the manufacturers and installation companies tend to price them competitively. In Double hung windows only one lower half or the upper half can open, both can never be opened at the same time. These types of windows can be cleaned easily. Casement windows have contemporary style windows and bring in more light than other window choices. In casement windows they do not have to push a window up, just turn the crank. Casement windows are tall, awning windows are wider. They work along the same line as casement window. Bay windows are usually three windows combined together. The middle window will not open but the two windows flanking it can be either double hung or casement windows depending on your taste. New windows will give your house a new look.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

About the Pella Windows Corporation

Innovative products from an industry leader
Pella Corporation is an innovative leader in creating a better view for homes and businesses by designing, testing, manufacturing and installing quality windows and doors for new construction, remodeling and replacement applications. As a family-owned and professionally managed privately-held company, Pella is known for its 83-year history of innovation, making outstanding products, providing quality service and delivering on customer satisfaction. Headquartered in Pella, Iowa, the company is committed to incorporating new technologies, increasing productivity, and practicing environmental stewardship.

Raising standards, expanding views
Pella Corporation was founded in 1925 as the Rolscreen Company. Initially, the company was most widely known for its “disappearing” Rolscreen® window screen. Updated in its design and still popular today, the patented Rolscreen insect screen rolls out of sight when not in use. Pella patio doors and storm doors also feature Rolscreen technology.

In 1992, the company changed its name to Pella Corporation, to better reflect its entire product offering. Today the Pella® family of brands offers a full range of quality residential and commercial products in a variety of types and styles to meet virtually any design or budget. Headquartered in Pella, Iowa, the company provides careers for about 9,800 team members.

“Global Top Company for Leaders”
Pella has been honored as the 2007 “Global Top Company for Leaders” in the small-to mid-sized category by Hewitt Associates, RBL Group and FORTUNE magazine, based on the exceptional training and development opportunities Pella provides. More information about career opportunities with Pella is available online at

2007 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year, longtime leader in environmental stewardship
Pella earned the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award for windows in 2007 for its leadership in manufacturing energy-efficient windows and educating consumers about them.

Pella’s commitment to environmental stewardship is firmly rooted in the company’s culture and has been since it was founded in 1925. A member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), Pella encourages the use of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® certification process and offers products that can contribute to certification of buildings.

Extensive sales and service network serves customers
Early in its history, Pella built a dedicated national sales and service organization for its products, which now serves customers throughout North America and in other select countries.
The Pella direct sales network operates Pella® Window & Door Showrooms, designed to help customers make the most informed window and door decisions, and, if needed, to provide professional support after the sale.

In 1992, Pella entered the national retail market with windows and patio doors, adding select lumberyard distribution in 1994. Today, select Pella products are sold in top U.S. and Canadian building-material retail stores.

In 2001, Pella and Lowe’s stores introduced the Pella® Design Centersm (PDC) to assist consumers with their window, entry door, storm door, and patio door needs. Located exclusively at Lowe’s, the Pella Design Center is a “store-within-a-store,” featuring informative world-class merchandising displays, staffed by Lowe’s associates trained to take the complexity out of window and door purchases.

Window and door production at its best
Pella manufactures wood windows and patio doors in Pella, Carroll, Shenandoah, and Sioux Center, Iowa; and Macomb, Ill. Fiberglass and vinyl products are manufactured in Murray, Ky. Vinyl windows and patio doors are also manufactured in Gettysburg, Pa.; West Columbia, S.C.; Portland, Ore. and Tucson, Ariz. Entry door systems are produced in Fairfield, Ohio and Wylie, Texas. EFCO, a Pella Company, creates commercial products in Monett, Mo.

Vinyl Replacement Windows Pricing

As you start to compare vinyl replacement window prices, you will soon realize that the prices vary marginally. There are many other features that help determine the price of Denver replacement windows and knowing these features is important.

For example, branded name home windows come at slightly higher prices than most. The more the brand is known in the market, the higher the price of its products. Also, quality determines price - the better the quality, the higher the price.

Don't worry about this "theory' I seem to be feeding you with, towards the end of the article, I will show you some specific prices for Denver replacement windows and more.

My advise to you when looking for replacement window prices is to talk to your dealer about the variation in prices. The dealer is probably the best person you can talk to about these things but do take their advice with a pint of salt - after all their goal is to make a sale and can do anything to get you to buy the most expensive item.

Another best way to find and review prices is to use consumer ratings. You can also check out some expert ratings in publications like magazines, newspapers and of course on the Internet. I know that most people have given up on online ratings as most often prove to be fake but there really are some very genuine Denver replacement window ratings out there.

Just keep the following in mind when using these ratings to review and compare prices. The rating should not only show the price but should also highlight the easiness of installation, and the complexity of doing it. The opinion should be backed up by tangible data.

Okay now for what you are looking for, regular replacement window prices vary greatly but they are normally in the region of $300 to $400 per window. This obviously depends on the quality of the brand, material and make. For example, you can get a replacement window screen filter at $18, replacement window for housing at $20 to $70.

Maintenance of Vinyal Windows & Doors

Vinyl windows increase a person's home value and home appearance. It can be cleaned very quickly. But, however, proper maintenance of vinyl windows is necessary as it becomes dirty quickly. With the help of heavy rain, the windows in Denver can be cleaned very quickly. But if even after that the windows are not cleaned the following instructions can clean them. Always wash the window with the help of a soft cloth or a soft brush. Sometimes it may be difficult to remove stains such as crayon, felt pens, lipstick, bubblegum so cleansers can be used to remove stains very quickly. Do not use cleansers such as nail polish remover, furniture polish as it could damage the surface appearance of the vinyl windows and doors.

Remove all the stickers and labels with the help of a soft cloth. Try to avoid high pressure spray to clean the windows. Do not use blades, knife to clean the doors and windows as their might be scratches. Roller can be cleaned once in 6 months. To clean it first use the vacuum cleaner to take out the loose material, then use a cloth and water and a dish wash liquid to finish the cleaning. Proper maintenance of weep system is required to assure proper drainage. Water can be filled up in sill or track. It should be cleaned regularly to avoid dust. A soft bottle brush can be used to clear the openings. Casement window should be cleaned regularly. To clean this use a soft cloth soaked in water with a dish washing liquid.

Due to UV rays from the sun, your Denver windows and doors may be worn out in order to avoid this repaint and re-caulk should be done every year. Try to clean the brass hardware on the window with the help of a soft cotton cloth. Clean the window track regularly otherwise dust will build up and it may become harder to open them. The screens should also be cleaned regularly to avoid bugs to enter. To clean the screen soak them in a tub full of water and then clean it with a garden hose. This may increase the screen life.

Condensation means the fog that can be seen on the glass of your Denver windows. It happens because of high humidity in the house. It generally appears as moisture on the glass of the window. If moisture is seen on the windows it is because of high humidity at home. When the interior temperature of the house is 70 degrees the inside humidity should be according to the outside temperature. When the outside temperature is -20 degrees and below the inside humidity can be 15 percent. When the outside temperature is 10 F to 0 F the inside humidity can be 30 percent. Considering the outside temperature the inside humidity has to be adjusted. Humidity can be reduced by opening the curtains everyday so that the house air can enter the window. Let air circulate in the bathroom, kitchen everyday so that there could be less humidity. Try to keep the humidity level of the house under control with the help of a humidifier. Keep in mind that items such as clothes exhaust fans, gas heaters are vented properly.

I hope these tips for maintaining your vinyl windows and vinyl doors has been helpful. Remember, if you do not keep up with cleaning these products, they will not last as long.