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How to Choose Replacement Windows

Replacement windows are windows intended to fit into the exact same structure that used to hold the old or damaged windows. Although it looks easy to buy them, a few careful considerations have to be made.

Replacement Glass Ratings

When deciding which type of glass you need, have to consider two things – R-value and U-factor. These are manufacturer-assigned ratings on replacement windows, reflecting their efficiency.
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The R-value of a window shows its ability to insulate. These values start at 0.9, and an acceptable rating is 3 or higher.
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On the other hand, U-factor signifies the window’s ability to keep heat in. The acceptable range is 1.1 to 0.3; the lower the number, the better.

Single, Double and Triple Pane Windows

Single pane windows must only be used in areas where heat loss is not a problem (for instance, in detached garages). Double and triple-pane glass types are built with hermetically sealed panes of glass, with a bit of airspace in between.

General Glass Options

There are generally three glass options available today. One of the most widely used is termed low-emissivity or low-e glass. This glass has a special coating that does one of two things, depending on the season: keep heat in or keep it out.

Heat-absorbing glass is another option that keeps solar energy – thus the heat – outside. It helps stop sunlight from fading out furniture, drapes and carpets as well.

The third most common type of window glass is known as reflective glass, which works like heat-absorbing glass, except it uses a film that reflects harmful UV rays.

Basic Types of Replacement Windows


Aluminum frames’ popularity has declined in recent years due to energy inefficiency and their tendency to promote condensation.


Fiberglass replacement windows technically newbies in the industry. Though typically the priciest, they offer the most savings in users’ energy bill.


As wood is a natural insulator, wood frames also have rather impressive R-values. There is almost no problem in terms of condensation, although maintenance can be expensive due to the frames’ requirement for regular scraping and painting.


Vinyl has increased in popularity lately because of its energy efficiency and the variety of designs it comes in. Vinyl windows actually counter the condensation problem with their abilty to maintain warmth at the edges.


Fibrex is a wood and vinyl combo that offers the best features of both materials, creating a window with high energy efficiency and low maintenance requirements.

Before ordering replacement windows, make sure to consider at least two or three installers for comparison before you order replacement windows, consider at least two or three companies so you will be able to compare. Of course, you have to compare apples to apples, which means all estimates you receive should be based on exactly the same specs. Finally, take time to inquire about the company’s warranty and understand it fully.