Fenestration and Other Things I Didn’t Know About Windows
Recently I began to consider replacing some of the windows in my home. Since I live alone and am a totally uninformed handyperson, I went to the internet and asked, “When should I replace the windows in my home?” I found an absolute deluge of information answering my question and some articles including the word fenestration. It means any opening in a building like windows, doors, or skylights, etc. Not only that, but there is a National Fenestration Rating Council, a nonprofit organization which provides independent rating and labeling systems for energy performance products used to fill these openings. They also provide certification for ENERGY STAR products, which I had heard of. I also found that this council rates windows and evaluates their efficiency, and that labels with this information are displayed on some windows.
There were several good lists of things for homeowners to do to help themselves decide when to replace their windows, so I chose things I thought made sense for me. The first thing to consider was how the windows looked to me, so I looked outside to check the condition of the windows to see if there was any rot or cracking in the frames or broken window panes. Next, I checked inside to be sure there was no damage or water coming in and no air that I could feel entering the house. Water coming inside can be an especially difficult problem because it can ruin walls, furniture, and carpet, and it can lead to the presence of dangerous mold. After that, I opened each window to see how efficiently it opened and to check for water within the frame. Another good indicator that you might need new windows is condensation in the summer or frost buildup on windows in winter. Heating and cooling costs can be a signal that your windows need to be replaced. The US Department of Energy says that thirty percent of a building’s energy can be lost through windows. Replacing old windows with more energy efficient ones should result in immediate savings on heating and cooling bills, but it should also offer you more comfort, quiet, curb appeal, and security. In some cases there are even government tax incentives or electric or gas company rebates.
One especially interesting fact I discovered during my research was that some replacement companies use windows that are “off the rack” while others have the window made to fit the opening. If your contractor uses “off the rack” windows, he may have to remodel the space to fit the window which may not be cost effective and may take away from the aesthetic appeal of your home. The last thing to consider after you’ve decided to get new windows is to choose the right person or company to install them Check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Be sure the company you choose is capable, honest, experienced and has a good reputation in the community.