|About Your House: Windows
Windows - Types, Features and Energy Ratings
Windows generally last 20-30 years and over the last 20 years new technologies as well as performance standards have been introduced
to help reduce heat loss or better energy efficiency. Windows can be a significant area of air loss which can translate into loss of
conditioned air (heat or A/C).
Today you can choose among many different styles of windows as well as the type of material the window is made from. Awning,
Casement, Fixed, Bay, Single/Double Hung, Tilt and Turn are just a few styles of windows where Aluminum, Wood, PVC and Fiberglass
are the types of material available. Some of the features you can choose are single pane, double or triple pane (generally the more panes
the better insulated, sometimes the cost of more panes may not justify the energy savings), low-E coating (helps improve the efficiency),
tilt in sashes (can provide the ability to open the operable window towards the inside of the house to easily clean the outside portion of the
glass) and cladding (typically for wood frame windows, provides a maintenance free siding around the outside frame of the window, makes
sure the outside of the window is properly caulked). Do your homework, window replacement either retro or complete frame can cost a lot
Not only is the type or style important in choosing windows but other factors such as Air Tightness, Water Resistance and Wind
Resistance are all performance related factors required in Canada as well Natural Resources Canada has introduced the Energy Star
Rating for Windows which takes into account several performance metrics (U-Factor,Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Air Leakage) which
translates into an Energy Rating or ER. The ER rating is also based on three climate zones in Canada. I have included some useful links
and .pdf's directly below to help you in your search. The Energy Ratings search is very helpful in pin pointing the exact make,model and
type of window but if all you really want to know is who sells qualifying windows then I have provided a link for that as well.
Window -Types, Features and Energy Ratings
There are two ways you can change your window. One is a retro fit (also known as an insert, where the frames are left and the interior is
cut away, possibly leaving less of a viewable area and possibly not as energy efficient, depending on how much insulation is around the
frame and the house wall) and the other is a full replacement of the frame and window. The retro fit is usually less expensive but the full
replacement may provide better insulating features around the frame and house wall. There are many contractors who can do retro fit
replacement but if your going to do the full replacement make sure the contractor you choose is capable of replacing the frame and
Retrofit or Full Frame Replacement - If you are going with the retro-fit and you have wood frame windows, make sure you fully inspect the
outside for rot, damage and or any potential deficiencies which may have an impact on energy efficiency and or water entry into the house.
If your outside wood frames are in good condition you may want to get a maintenance free siding, usually some type of aluminum, metal
frame, which encapsulates the wood frame to help reduce wear due to outside weather conditions. Make sure the windows are properly
caulked to help reduce water entry and air loss. More info
Sizing Calculators - I found a couple of sites (Becker Window and Doors and Ontario Windows and Doors) which have window cost
calculators. I cannot tell you how accurate they are and I am not providing these links as any type of endorsement of the dealers, you
MUST do your own due diligence and find an appropriate window, manufacturer and contractor/installer YOURSELF!. Make sure you read
any fine print, as these costs may or may not take into account additional services which may be required. Ask the questions!
Metal Frame Windows - usually older basement windows, typically installed in the 1980's - these window frames should be checked on a
regular basis for rust and or buckling, both may allow water to enter - These windows can also be protected with a maintenance free
cladding as outlined above as long as they are still in good condition. But the very lest they should be painted with an outdoor rust free
type paint to help reduce rusting. Replacing these frames can be expensive, they may also act like a lintel or support for the wall above the
window. Make sure your contractor goes over the options with you.
The link, Sills to Sash, below can provide a lot more information about windows; window installation, performance, certification etc. At the
home page is an 8 minute video, look along the bottom of the home page, I highly recommend you start with the video and then when your
done review some of the other information, at the home page go to the top menu and look around, very informative information.
esthetically pleasing and may limit your outside view. Over time some double pane windows may lose the seal between the window panes,
can drill small holes inside the window to allow this condensation to evaporate and some may even provide some type of cleaning to help get
the dirt out but for the cost will it happen again or maybe the cost of replacing the glass is not so much more. I recommend you explore both
Sometimes the window is still within the manufacturers life expectancy (around 20-30 years) but some of the parts are damaged and or your
experiencing air loss or cold air entry. If your somewhat inclined to do it yourself you can find parts for windows such as cranks, crack
handles, locks, weather striping etc, and replace them yourself. This may actually help with the energy efficiency. I believe Home Depot and
Lowes as well as other big box stores and local window specialist will carry parts.
Window screens are ideal to help reduce the possibility of insects or even small animals (birds) from getting inside your home when the
window is open or maybe your dog or cat has damaged the screen. Did you know that Home Depot carries parts to make a custom fit screen,
assuming you still have the actual screen frame. Home Depot also has a video on how to do it yourself.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for general information purposes only. Any reliance or action taken based on the
information, materials and techniques described are the responsibility of the user. Readers are advised to consult appropriate
professional resources to determine what is safe and suitable in their particular case. DASH Inspection Services assumes no
responsibility for any consequence arising from use of the information, materials and techniques described. Any reference to a
specific company is for general information only. I highly recommend you get a min of three quotes and do your homework.