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Energy Efficient Windows Clearly Better

Federal rules governing energy-efficiency claims can help consumers make smart budget choices when installing new windows.

Connecticut BBB Helps Consumers Compare and Choose

The warm weather is here and many consumers are looking to make home improvements while sticking to a budget. Connecticut BBB advises consumers to balance cost effectiveness with energy efficiency, inasmuch as more efficient windows, doors and skylights can result in significant long term energy savings.

Start by looking for products that carry the Energy Performance Ratings label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The label can help determine how well a product will perform its key functions - helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, keeping out wind and resisting condensation.  Information on the label enables builders and consumers to reliably compare one product with another, and make informed decisions.

As with any home improvement project, it’s important to make sure you are dealing with a reputable contractor and high quality materials.  Connecticut BBB encourages consumers to consult with their home contractor to see that all energy performance materials carry this information label.

If you are looking for a well-insulated room, check the window’s “U-Factor” - During the cold winter months, you’ll want to make sure your windows are trapping heat. U-Factor ratings generally fall between 0.20 and 1.20. The lower the U-value, the greater a window's resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value.

Is your room sunny and bright? - The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rates how much solar radiation is admitted through the window. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window's solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits in the house.

Are you looking for a well-lit room or light that’s more muted? - Visible Transmittance (VT) is an optical property that indicates the amount of visible light transmitted through the window. VT is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The higher the VT, the more light is transmitted.

Make sure your window doesn’t give off any unwanted breeziness - Heat loss and gain occur by Air Leakage (AL) through cracks in the window assembly. The lower the AL, the less air will pass through cracks in the window assembly.

Check to see that your window will be free from any water leakage - The higher the Condensation Resistance (CR) rating, the better a product is at resisting formation of condensation. While this rating cannot predict condensation, it can provide a credible method of comparing the potential of various products for condensation formation. CR is expressed as a number between 1 and 100.

For more home improvement tips you can trust, visit http://www.ct.bbb.org and for more information on the Energy Performance Ratings label, visit http://www.nfrc.org .

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steven DeVaux September 01, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Outstanding explaination for John.Public. Thanks!
ctmom September 01, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I don't know how much Andersen has changed in recent years, but we bought a 50-year old house with what certainly appeared to be original Andersen crank out casements ... and they were in great shape. We had to replace them only because we did a gut remodel that required it (and we replaced them with Andersens because that's what our architect recommended). Perhaps newer Andersen products are of lesser quality (maybe they're now being made in China?) but I think Mr. Murphy's unilateral condemnation of them is unfair. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence (like our house) of Andersens which have stood the test of time admirably. (He also must have a great deal more money to spend on such things than most of us!!) Our architect recommended them for our remodeling job, though in fairness, they were ordered directly from a distributor, not through a big box store. We have been VERY happy with both the windows (casements) and the Andersen French doors.
Sean M September 02, 2012 at 04:30 AM
I used to sell this product. Very high quality. Anderson is no where near as good as the image. If you want wood replacement, look into the Harvey window. Do not use sash kits.
Sean M September 02, 2012 at 04:31 AM
I was in the business. We would not sell Anderson because of the numerous issues with them and they were significantly more expensive than many high quality windows.
OpportunistWatch September 02, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Pella and Anderson windows are not a good choice based on experience with both. The Anderson window is a mass market big box window along with Pella that have always had issues but that keeps their name out there.

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