Windows play an integral role in home construction and remodeling projects. They can improve a home's energy efficiency, enhance architectural design and provide essential daylighting.
Window shopping, however, can be a trying time for some consumers, especially considering the maze of choices, widely varying price ranges and conflicting sales pitches. Experts at Andersen Corporation, the nation's brand-leading window and patio door manufacturer, offer consumers these window-shopping tips to simplify the process:
Work with trained window experts.
Trained window experts will help you understand a window's performance, answer questions about energy efficiency and provide sound advice about remodeling projects.
Choose high-quality windows with a reliable warranty.
What a customer sales representative promises and what a warranty's fine print promises may be two different things. How long does the warranty last? What does it cover? Is it fully transferable should you sell your home? Is it non-prorated?
Buy only energy-efficient windows carrying the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label.
The NFRC label rates a window's energy performance and allows consumers to make apples-to-apples comparisons regarding U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The lower the U-Factor, the better the window prevents interior heat from escaping; the lower the SHGC, the better the window prevents unwanted solar heat from entering. Many states are now requiring all window products to carry the NFRC label. Check your local building codes for proper compliance.
Choose windows with low-emissivity (low-E) glass for maximum energy efficiency.
Low-E glass features transparent metallic coatings that significantly reduce heating and cooling costs year- round. Andersen® low-E glass, standard in most Andersen products, is an average of 41 percent more energy efficient in summer and 35 percent more energy efficient in winter than standard dual-pane glass.
Select energy-efficient windows that require minimal maintenance.
A wood window with a vinyl-coated exterior provides maximum energy efficiency, low maintenance and the beauty of a natural-wood interior finish. Andersen has been manufacturing vinyl-clad wood windows since the mid 1960s.
Maximize the light in your home with window combinations, skylights, high ceilings and light interiors.
Studies show that exposure to natural light has a positive effect on our emotional and physical health. But most people spend a majority of their time in artificially lit environments, receiving less than an hour of natural light a day. Not surprising, homeowners crave light-filled rooms, and adding windows is one of the top remodeling projects in the nation today.
Windows and skylights brighten and enhance living spaces, especially in homes with high ceilings and light-colored interiors. Using windows in interesting shapes such as arches, triangles and ovals is popular, or you may opt for a dramatic combination of standard-sized windows to bring in light.
Increase your home's curb appeal by designing special window combinations.
A cluster of windows not only flood a room with natural light, they add a unique design element that can pay off should you decide to sell. Windows also have become critical design elements to beautify a home's living environment.
Consider window accessories to improve a home's style.
One of the most popular window accessories is grilles. A number of styles and designs are available, including exterior, interior and grilles inserted between the two panes of glass. Other accessories include stained glass such as the Andersen Art Glass Collection, whose 11 designs are popular because you can use a window as a decorating tool without covering the window or blocking natural light.
The Andersen® brand is the most recognized and most used brand in the window and patio door industry. For a local dealer, more information, or a copy of the Andersen 20/10 limited warranty, visit www.andersenwindows.com or call 1-800-426-4261, ext. 3018.