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Columbus Roofing: Article About Energy Efficient Windows

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With the US Department of Energy pushing for higher energy efficiency standards, as well as offering homeowners incentives, many people are considering replacement windows. Changing out old windows for newer energy efficient ones can significantly alter a home's heat loss profile. Columbus roofing contractors are a good place to start asking around about the options available. Before deciding on a new set of windows, there are a few things homeowners should consider.

First is the potential energy savings. The US Department of Energy estimates that 45 percent of total energy usage in the average home goes to heating and cooling, and as much as four percent of the total energy is lost through windows. Depending on how much a household spends per month on utilities, the windows could potentially pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time.

Secondly, homeowners should know the difference in the labor involved in installing replacement windows versus windows made for a fresh installation. Replacement windows are built to fit into preexisting frames without the need to remove trim and siding, whereas primary installation windows are made with flanges that must be fastened with nails or screws into the surrounding wood beneath the cladding and trim.

Another thing that may determine which type of window is right for a given situation is the condition of the existing frame.

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Sometimes moisture can seep in around an old or improperly installed window. This often leads to damage to the surrounding wood framing and will necessitate more extensive remodeling in order to receive the full benefit of replacement windows.

Once this hurdle is past, it is time to select the material for the replacement window. Vinyl windows offer low cost, great durability and good insulating. They need little maintenance and should last many years. Some historic districts will prohibit their installation due to aesthetic guidelines. Wood windows are more expensive and heavier but offer good insulation. They do require a little more upkeep, but they can last just as long as vinyl if properly cared for. Aluminum windows are light weight and relatively inexpensive, but typically poorly insulated. These require similar upkeep to vinyl. Finally, composite windows are made from layers of different materials to offer homeowners more advantages while offsetting many of the disadvantages of single material construction. They can vary greatly in price, specifications and quality. As with any home repair or remodel, each situation is unique. It is always good advice to consult a reputable contractor before making any big purchases.

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