Thinking it’s time to replace your windows? There was a time when the more glass windows your house had, the wealthier you were presumed to be. In fact, for a time in colonial America there was a tax on windows to support the Revolutionary War effort. The poorest folks, the ones with only wooden shutters instead of glass, were spared.
Now, of course, shutters are typically just for decoration. Not only can everyone have windows, but the more the merrier. Their style and placement influences every aspect of a home’s interior; from how bright or dark a room is to where the furniture will fit. Not to mention the significance of the views looking outside.
If you’re buying an older house or looking for a great home improvement project, the most important consideration is to get replacement windows that provide great climate control while conserving energy. Beyond that, there are a wide number of design options to explore. If you do a search for window companies near me, you’ll find a pro who can guide you to the right choice for you and your home.
If you are going to replace your windows, today we have a long list of great features. Today’s windows come with improved energy-efficiency. This will keep your home more comfortable while saving money on heating and air conditioning. Newer windows have Low-E coatings—microscopically thin layers of transparent metal that slow heat transfer through the glass to reflect heat back into the room in winter and reflect it out in the summer.
The space between the layers of standard double-paned windows is filled with air. But spend a little more to have a cushion of argon or krypton gas between the layers that makes them extra efficient at lowering radiant heat loss.
If you live in an area subject to hurricanes, tornadoes and other high wind events, there are laminated window glass panes similar to the ones in car windshields. These have the ability to withstand a hit from a 9-pound 2×4 piece of lumber shot out of a cannon at 34 mph. Windows like these are now a requirement for new construction in a number of states. Even if you’re not in one of these states, it’s a great feature for windows that face onto a yard where your kids play baseball or there’s another potential high-impact activity.
The newest technology in home windows is dynamic glass that gradually darkens or lightens in response to automatic or manual controls. These electrochromic windows are controlled by a transparent conductor placed between the glass panes. The system uses electric current and it blocks heat gain while remaining transparent.
Something even newer is dynamic glass that darkens or lightens on its own in response to temperature. Combined with Low-E coated double panes, this technology blocks the heat from the sun and provides maximum cooling efficiency.
There’s also privacy glass, which uses liquid crystal technology to switch instantly from clear to a frosted opaque. It can even be tinted in your choice of colors! It works via electric current that can be controlled by a wall switch, remote control, motion sensor, light sensor or timer. While it has no energy-saving function, privacy glass is an interesting choice for interior doors and partitions where you might want the light to shine through from an adjoining space.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you’re often visited by wild birds, you know that they sometimes injure themselves (or worse) by crashing into windows because they don’t recognize the clear glass as a barrier. Happily, there’s window glass available now that employs a patterned coating visible to birds but not to humans. It’s available with Low-E coated double panes and it’s been tested and approved by the American Bird Conservatory.
Self-Cleaning For Windows
Robotic window cleaners (imagine a Roomba for your windows) are now available and are an especially interesting consideration for high, hard-to-reach areas that would otherwise involve hiring window cleaners or climbing a ladder to do it yourself. Using motor-powered suction, these robotic devices clean from edge to edge and can be used inside or out. If you were thinking of installing extra-tall or clerestory windows, knowing you can use one of these robotic cleaners might make your decision easier.
Is It Time to Replace Your Windows?
Only you can answer that but we hope this article has given you some food for thought. It’s a fairly big purchase so do your homework. We hope you’ve learned more about today’s many window options.