The Ultimate Guide in Choosing the Best Indianapolis Replacement Windows for Your Home
For conscientious homeowners, window replacement goes beyond the principles of caveat emptor— buyer beware. It’s vital that you do your homework to ensure the character and quality of replacement windows are of the finest available within your price range.
But as with most things in life, if you want it done right, you’ve got to be well informed.
Be An Informed Consumer
Whether you’re ready to replace your windows now or you plan to it in the near future, there are many steps in the process to consider and a lot of different factors to weigh, including things like energy efficiency and durability.
Another important thing to consider is that your home’s windows are a major design element, especially when it comes to exteriors. In fact, they have the power to completely transform a home.
Should you consider custom-sized windows? Will bow or bay windows best accentuate your home’s architectural style? The truth is, the right window design can take your home from a work in progress to a work of art.
Most homeowners experience a little nervousness when making a decision that affects such a big part of any home’s look, feel, and energy efficiency. This is why we’ve put together some buying guidelines to help you be more informed and less overwhelmed.
Let’s get to it!
Is it Time to Evaluate the Need for Replacement Windows?
This is the most obvious first step in the process: you’ve got to determine whether you want or need to replace your current windows. But how do you know if it’s time?
There are some key tell-tale signs to look for which could mean window replacement is on the horizon. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have trouble opening or closing windows?
- Does your home feel drafty, especially near windows?
⇨ Pro tip: double or triple pane glass windows are now industry standard and prevent drafts more effectively. If your home was built before 1970, chances are its windows are made of single pane glass.
- Do you notice chipping, staining or general deterioration around your windows?
- Are they a pain to clean?
⇨ Hint: new windows offer lots of options that can make cleaning them a cinch.
- Can you clearly hear your neighbors’ barbecue guests chatting--- even when your windows are shut tight? What about lawn mowers, snow blowers, or a particularly spirited neighborhood kickball game?
⇨ Good to know: if you’re hearing outside noise when your windows are shut, chances are, they don’t provide adequate acoustic insulation.
- Are you tired of replacing faded carpets or furniture near or directly under your home’s windows?
- Do you have to take a deep, calming breath before opening your energy bill?
- Do your windows detract from rather than enhance your home’s curb appeal?
What are the Benefits to Replacement Windows?
Believe it or not, replacing your windows could yield a huge return on investment in terms of your home’s property value.
Just one of the potentially huge benefits of window replacement is lower energy costs— in fact, it can be one of the most cost-effective home improvements out there.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Aside from increasing energy efficiency, window replacements can also:
- Provide better security and safety
- Make cleaning and maintenance easier
- Provide effective acoustic insulation
- Have a huge favorable impact on your home’s curb appeal.
Home buyers and their realtors know it, and they’ll pay more for these benefits— which helps drive up home values overall.
Updated or upgraded windows don’t just give you more pleasure while you’re living in your home, they can add significant value to it as well.
How Does the Homeowner Determine the Energy-Efficiency for their Home?
Whether you’re building or buying a new home, or are thinking about replacing existing windows in an older home, energy efficiency should be on your short list of things to consider.
For one, windows that provide effective insulation from outdoor weather conditions make your heating and cooling systems exponentially more efficient. In fact, heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25-30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.
Know the Lingo
When making decisions related to your home’s energy efficiency, It’s important first to familiarize yourself with variable terms like air leakage and condensation rates as well as terms like:
- U-factor: The lower a window’s U-value, the greater a window’s resistance to heat flow and the better its ability to provide insulation.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): The fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window, either transmitted directly and/or absorbed and subsequently released as heat inside the home.
Ask which options will work best in your climate, and explore which features are important to you. For example, what frame type do you prefer? What glazing options do you have to choose from? Make a clear determination what your specific needs are.
Energy Performance Ratings
Once you’ve determined what your needs are, look for the ENERGY STAR label, which will tell you if a product is energy efficient.
But don’t stop there. Review the energy performance ratings from National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) to find the best match for you. NFRC-certified products are independently tested, certified and labeled, and can help you compare between energy-efficient products by breaking down energy performance in multiple categories.
What are the Best Window Frame Materials?
Now that you’ve determined what your energy efficiency requirements are, you’ll need to decide what materials will best fit those needs. Most homeowners choose from three popular options, each of which has its own advantages:
If you’re going for natural beauty and a classic look, wood frames are the way to go. If centuries-old craftsmanship and character appeals to you, take a second look at using wood-framed windows.
They’re endlessly stylish, resistant to damage and are available in a huge selection of wood grains including pine, mahogany and douglas fir.
Windows made from Fiberglass are strong, durable and versatile. Pella windows offer a unique, patented five-layer Duracast® fiberglass composite that’s longer-lasting than many of the other materials available on market.
Fiberglass windows are known to be resistant to damage, energy-efficient and competitively priced, which makes them a popular choice.
If ease of maintenance and energy efficiency are at the top of your list, look no further than vinyl windows. These windows require minimal maintenance, and like their counterparts, are long-lasting, resistant to damage, energy efficient and come in a variety of color options.
Vinyl windows are also extremely popular for their budget friendly nature, and for their ability to decrease heat loss and limit the intrusion of outside sound.
What are the Different Window Styles?
Whether your style is classical, functional, transitional or eclectic, choosing windows has never been easier. Windows now come in a dizzying array of styles including:
- Awning (hinged at the top and swing outward from the bottom)
- Casement (hinged at the side and swing outward)
- Single-hung (raised from the bottom) and double-hung (raised from the bottom and the top for dual ventilation)
- Sliding (move horizontally for easy access to fresh air)
- Bay or Bow windows
- Custom and Specialty and special shape windows
The wide-ranging options available today make it possible for even the most discriminating decorator to design windows that befit and enhance their home’s unique style.
How Do Pella Replacement Windows Compare to Other Windows?
In business since 1925, Pella is the nation’s premiere and best known window manufacturer. But aside from offering nearly a century’s worth of experience, the company is a recognized leader in technology and innovation.
Quality Meets Innovation
Pella doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all when it comes to its products, and also tests its products to ensure all its designs withstand the test of time, so that with a Pella window, you get innovation seamlessly integrated with time-tested practicality.
With over 150 product and design patents under its belt, Pella continues to pioneer new products, even revolutionizing single- and double-hang window screens with its Integrated Rolscreen® retractable screen in 2018.
Commitment to Sustainability
Contributing to the sustainable building movement, Pella offers product lines with energy-efficient options that will meet or exceed ENERGY STAR certification in all 50 states.
In partnership with the EPA, Pella works to make products that save homeowners energy and money, and which promote energy-efficiency while at the same time helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Reduced Costs for Homeowners
Pella’s ENERGY STAR certified windows cause your home’s heating and cooling systems to work more efficiently, and help keep warm air in during the winter, and cold air out in the summer. Choosing a Pella ENERGY STAR certified product can save a typical homeowner an estimated $101 to $538 per year in energy costs.
Why Choose a Pella Certified Contractor?
What most people don’t immediately realize is that when it comes to replacing windows, your manufacturer is only as good as your installer. By that we mean, if your installer hasn’t done a good job, no matter how well the windows are made, you won’t see significant benefits from replacing them.
And what’s worse? Your Pella warranty could be null and void if it’s determined your contractor was careless.
What Does it Mean to be Pella Certified?
Many homeowners find peace of mind in hiring a Pella Certified Contractor to install their window replacements.
These homeowners can rest well because to become Pella certified, a contractor must:
- Complete Pella’s specialized orientation and window installation training
- Participate in ongoing education at industry conferences
- Attend Pella-led annual training and education initiatives so they’re up to date with the latest products and installation techniques
It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to invest a lot of time, energy and dollars in choosing the best, most energy-efficient, most attractive windows only to have them installed by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing.
Once You’re Resolved to Replace
You’ve completed your due diligence, researched energy-efficient ratings and design options. You’ve decided on the best material to use in harmony with your existing architecture, and you’ve envisioned your home with better natural lighting, more acoustic insulation and the curbside appeal of your dreams.
It’s time to hire a contractor and start this exciting home improvement project! As a Pella Certified Contractor, JD Hostetter knows your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make in your life. It’s our mission to partner with you to properly maintain and enhance that investment, and to provide the kind of precision, high-quality work that’ll make you fall in love with your home all over again.