Window Replacement 101: Energy Efficiency, Window Options & Cost
Are you an Edmonton homeowner considering replacing windows in your residence?
Whether you’ve just started the process or have been putting it off because you think it’s too complicated or expensive, this window replacement guide will help. This comprehensive outline will identify in simple terms the methods for attaining various levels of energy efficiency, compare replacement windows by type, and provide average price ranges for full-frame installation and retrofit replacement in Edmonton homes.
Natural Resources Canada identifies three separate Energy Star® Climate Zones in the country. Each is based on the average annual temperature – Zone 1 is considered the mildest, Zone 2 is moderate, and Zone 3 is the coldest. Edmonton homes are located somewhere between Zone 2 and 3. As you might imagine, these colder areas require more energy-efficient windows to minimize energy costs and maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home.
The experts at Ecoline Windows, a Canadian window manufacturer, indicate that the main elements for achieving optimum thermo-insulation are high-quality glass panes, window coatings, gas injection, and spacers.
- Double pane – two panes of glass are generally the minimum required for harsh climates.
- Triple pane – three-pane units provide an additional sheet of glass that’s sandwiched between two outer panes. These are even more beneficial for areas where prolonged winter temperatures can affect the overall window energy efficiency.
- Low-E, or low-emissive, coatings – block heat loss and allow warm sunlight to penetrate during cold winter temperatures. During warmer months, Low-E coatings allow more visible sunlight to enter while blocking harmful UV rays.
- Argon and Krypton gas – conducts 50-percent less heat than air and is injected into the sealed glass window as an additional insulator to reduce even more heat loss, condensation, and cold infiltration. Triple-pane windows have an extra layer of gas for more durability and better performance than double-pane windows.
- Metal or foam spacer – higher quality windows use a metal or foam spacer between the layers of glass to reduce condensation and keep your home warmer.
- Engineered Thermal Insulation foam (ETI®) – inserted into large spaces in vinyl windows to reduce heat and cold transfer. It is used in place of expandable foam for its improved energy performance, durability, and temperature stability.
Variety of Replacement Window Options
While the original windows in your home may be made from wood or aluminum, the majority of replacement windows are made from vinyl or fiberglass. The new technologies used and energy efficiency attained have inspired window manufacturers to predominantly use man-made materials over wood. Primary window styles include casement, awning, sliding, hung, fixed and custom, bay and bow. Replacement windows should generally be of the same type and style as previously installed. This will reduce additional installation time and costs.
- Casement windows – these are tall and narrow. They open outward with a crank handle and offer excellent ventilation. They can open left or right.
- Combination casement windows – a combination of both operable casement and stationary windows. The operable side can open left or right.
Common casement window problems include warping and bowing due to exposure to changing temperatures, weight of unit, and dark sash colours that absorb UV rays. Casement windows may stick open if pushed past the egress hinge angle. Screen placement is inside and may slightly decrease visibility.
- Awning windows – the bottom of the window tilts away from the house to provide excellent ventilation, easy access, maximum light, and can be opened in any weather conditions.
Common awning window concerns are the limited smaller sizes available. The heavy sash of a larger window could cause it to warp or break.
- Single tilt slider windows – combines a movable sash with a stationary one. Can tilt in for easy cleaning.
- Double slider butterfly windows – includes two movable sashes for excellent ventilation and cleaning access.
- End vent slider windows – made primarily for windows in excess of 74 inches and features two venting sashes and a fixed centre sash.
Common slider window problems involve the reliance on weatherstripping to prevent drafts and air leaks. This means they are less soundproof than compression sealed windows and may be difficult to operate. Drainage channels can sometimes become clogged leading to water pooling inside the window.
- Single-hung windows – one sash is stationary and one operates vertically. It can also be tilted in for easy cleaning.
- Double-hung windows – both sashes move up and down and tilt for cleaning.
Common hung window problems are that they are not as energy efficient as other styles due to the use of weatherstripping that can break down and the sash may not stay up properly, depending on the quality of the window.
- Custom shaped windows – are typically fixed and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Bay windows – generally consist of one large fixed window and two casements on either side. The entire window is cantilevered out to provide additional seating and natural light.
- Bow windows – curved combination of four or more casement windows (fixed, operating or a combination of both.) This window is also cantilevered out for window seating.
When you compare replacement windows, it’s important to understand that there can be a significant difference in cost depending on the location, window style, and installation method.
A full-frame installation means that all window parts, including brickmoulds, jambs, and trim, are replaced. This method allows your contractor to check from damage, rotting, mold, and moisture issues. It is also more costly than a retrofit.
A retrofit replacement only replaces the glass and window frame. All original construction frame materials remain in place. This method is less expensive but does not address any structural problems.
Prices vary greatly for style, Low-E coatings, gas injection and installation method. Some savings can be found during winter months when contractors are looking for business.
- Bedroom or Kitchen: $800 to $1,600.
- Living Room: $1,800 to $3,000.
- Bow or Bay window: $2,800 to $4,500.
- Basement window: $450 to $800.
By reviewing this guide before you begin shopping for a window replacement contractor in Edmonton you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your specific needs. Whether you replace just a few windows or do a wholesale change, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the improved energy efficiency new window technologies offer.