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When Shopping for Windows, Focus on Comfort

dining room with large double hung windowsIn a market like Northeast Ohio, where winter weather is a challenge each year, you need to consider the comfort level your windows and entry doors will offer you. After all, a window that looks beautiful but doesn’t keep your home comfortable isn’t much use to you.

Windows should connect the homeowner with the beauty of the outdoors while maintaining a comfortable setting on the inside. Northeast Ohio winters can be brutal. Many days, temperatures can be below freezing, and they can drop below zero for several weeks of the year. Frigid, shrieking wind will howl and rattle your old windows, and you may even feel drafts — or lose the warm air put out by your heating system!

A high-quality window is essential to your home comfort, particularly amid Northeast Ohio’s winters.

How To Identify a Window That Will Keep You Comfortable

The Window Professor says that to identify a high-quality window, you first need to look at the frame and sashes (the part of the window that operates). If your window were a car, this would be the chassis — the basic framework that holds and supports the rest of the system.

Good-quality windows have foam in the frame and sash. Foam is a good insulator, which is why it’s added to a refrigerator to keep the interior compartments cold. Think about it: Regardless of all the other features a new refrigerator offers, like stainless steel, ice maker, LED lights, etc., would you purchase it without foam filling? No, because all that cold air would slip right out, and your food would spoil!

The same is true for windows. No matter how good they look, they won’t keep you comfortable if they don’t have foam insulation. Our windows come standard with foam-filled frames and sashes to ensure the utmost comfort and lower utility bills.

Now, let’s talk about the most visible part of a window: the GLASS. Glass typically makes up 75–80% of a window. The Window Professor considers the glass the engine of the window. You wouldn’t buy a new truck without the four-cylinder engine in it, would you? Of course not: It wouldn’t do the job you bought it for. It wouldn’t haul the dirt, pull your boat, or provide enough power to merge onto the expressway. So why would you purchase a window with inferior glass?

Winter Thermal Comfort

Science tells us that warm air always travels toward the cold. In a home, that warm air typically travels to the windows in the room. Once that warm air reaches the window glass, it becomes dense and cold and drops to the floor, circulating back around the room.

As homeowners, we feel the chill and react by putting on a sweatshirt, maybe closing the blinds, or — the worst option — turning the thermostat up a degree or two. Adjusting the thermostat up just one degree could cost you 5% more on your heating bill. The technical term for this is a convective loop. The best way to slow down this loop and improve your comfort is to put the correct piece of glass in your window.

Summer Thermal Comfort

Naturally, the reverse happens in the summer. As a homeowner sits in front of their window enjoying the beautiful sunshine, they become uncomfortable from the radiant heat pouring in.

They typically react by moving to another part of the room, away from the window. Maybe they would close the blinds/drapes, but now they are sitting in a dark room. Or perhaps they would turn the air conditioning down a degree or two. It’s important to know that doing this is even worse for your utility bill than turning the thermostat up in the winter.

How Replacement Windows Keep You Comfortable

According to the Department of Energy, windows that are at least 20 years old have enough cracks around them that, when added up, can equal a 3-foot by 3-foot opening. That’s like leaving one of your windows open year-round! Several things are happening with that much air exchange in your home.

  • Hot air is escaping
  • Cold air is coming in
  • Moisture is escaping
  • Noise is coming in

All these concerns are addressed with new quality replacement windows. They keep hot air from escaping, saving you on your heating dollars, and they keep cold air from coming in, making you more comfortable. Less noise is entering your home, which makes it quieter and more comfortable. You may notice more moisture collecting on your windows — believe it or not, that’s proof that your new windows are doing their job! (The Window Professor addresses this in an earlier post.)

Many homeowners only think windows will save them money on their heating/cooling bills and may overlook the important benefit of comfort. This benefit will give you returns on day one, so you don’t have to wait until your utility bill comes.

Learn more about our top-quality replacement windows by calling the Zen Windows Cleveland team today at (216) 430-0587 or contacting us online.

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