What should you look for in new windows? | Home Design Find

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What should you look for in new windows?

Perhaps your home energy bills are depressingly high, and the energy audit says the problem is due to your windows. Maybe the issue is that your windows are fogging up. Cracks in the glass, leaks around the seals and who knows what else is causing them to let in moisture and interfere in your vision. Or you may find that your home appears dated and aged despite having been repainted. The solution in many cases is a new set of windows. But what factors should you look for in your new windows?

Windows home improvement

Energy Efficiency

Heating and air conditioning are anywhere from a quarter to two fifths of the average home’s energy usage. Opening a window to let in fresh air obviously costs you money, but windows that slowly leak air out through gaps in the frame do the same in a way you might ignore except for the higher energy bills. Your windows also let heat escape in the winter and enter in the summer, undermining your attempts to maintain a stable indoor temperature. The solution is choosing energy efficient windows. Double panes beat single pane windows. Triple pane windows dramatically reduce heat loss, but there are double pane windows that are almost as good thanks to neutral gases between the two window panes or films applied to the window.

How Light Passes Through

Windows have always let light in, and you’ve always had the option to choose glass with waves, distortion or patterns to protect your privacy. The most obvious example is bathroom windows that let natural light stream in but prevent peeping toms from seeing you in the shower. There are actually many more variations of this today. You can choose windows that let you look out but prevent others from seeing in. There are window treatments that can let sunlight in but reflect the heat out. In more expensive and highly engineered arrangements, morning light may be admitted but hot afternoon sun is reflected back. Or you may let sunlight in but reflect back artificial light in the evening.

How Well It Fits the Existing Infrastructure

Too many people make this mistake, and it will show. For example, choosing windows that are the wrong size for the existing window openings means you’re either adding extra joists to make it fit or cutting into the walls to try to make them large enough for the windows. Choosing window frames with material that clash with the existing home’s design creates other problems. PVC windows that come in the same color as the existing home siding or wood windows you can paint aren’t an issue. However, bright metal frames on a classic home or old-fashioned window frames in a modern home will clash.


Cost is going to be a factor in any purchase, but we consider it lower on the priority list because it can be offset in so many ways. For example, more expensive energy efficient windows may repay the difference in a few years in the form of lower energy bills. Windows that can be snapped inside your existing window frames will lower the overall cost of installation.

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