Vinyl Windows – Purchasing Quality
Vinyl Windows - Buy Quality
Cold drafts in the winter from windows are really an uncomfortable feeling. The drafts can be direct air leaks caused by inferior weather-stripping and/or old technology glass. Believe it or not, you can buy brand new vinyl windows today in your town that have both! The sales presentations are often slick and some of the claims made by the salespeople are not always the complete truth. So how do you buy a quality vinyl window? It is not as hard as you may think.
Ingredients are Important
Every part of a vinyl window contributes to its performance. If you want the actual vinyl to not fade and crack, then you better get vinyl that has the best titanium dioxide in it. This chemical blocks and absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Glass is glass, right? No way! Insulated glass has come light years from its inception. First we had standard insulated glass, then hard coat Low E, then soft coat Low E, and now Low E with invisible heat films.
The two pieces of glass are actually separated with a spacer that can directly affect inner glass temperatures. Old spacers were made with aluminum. Aluminum quickly conducts heat and cold. This is bad. New steel and plastic glass spacers slow down energy transfer. This is good!
The actual vinyl window frame and sash components vary in type and efficiency. Some windows have minimal chambers, others have lots of individual chambers. Some are hollow, others are foam filled.
How do you keep all of these parts straight in your mind? How will you know if you are getting a bad deal?
Vinyl Windows - Independent Testing
There are always good manufacturers in every product category. These are the ones who want to make a good product and strive for perfection and supplying great value to us, the consumer.
The vinyl window industry is no different. Because quality can vary from very poor to excellent, the good manufacturers banded together years ago to develop testing standards that allow high quality to be quantitatively measured.
There are three testing organizations. All of the testing standards are very technical - so much so that the average person can't begin to understand the testing methods and raw numbers that result from the test procedures. That is what engineers go to school for. Once the test data is refined and charted, it begins to make sense to us common folk.
The three testing organizations are: AAMA - NWWDA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association - Window & Door Manufacturers Association), NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) and Energy Star. If a vinyl window company goes to the effort to get tested by any one of these organizations, it is "trying harder." If it passes the tests, it is a great accomplishment. Suffice it to say that if you can find a vinyl window company that sells windows that have passed any or all of these standards,you have a great product. If you are looking for windows that save the most energy, then look for windows that are NFRC or Energy Star certified.