Wood-frame windows were once standard, but homeowners never appreciated the fact that, for looks and longevity, wood requires periodic painting or staining. Later, aluminum frames proved quite popular, thanks to their easy care and low cost. Being a highly conductive metal, however, aluminum does not insulate as well as wood. Fortunately, according to Jim Eldredge, a manager with Sears Home Services, there's one material that manages to overcome both shortcomings. "With the latest vinyl windows," Eldredge says, "you get thermal performance rivaling that of wood, and you get the low- or no-maintenance virtues of aluminum. It's really the best of both of worlds," he concludes.
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- The Window, Reinvented: 6 Features That Changed Everything
The Window, Reinvented: 6 Features That Changed Everything
The Best of Both Worlds
At the End of the Day
Against a background of rising energy costs, manufacturers have made great strides toward improving window efficiency. The advantage is that, in homes with high-efficiency windows, the HVAC system need not work overtime to counteract the effect of drafts and air leaks. The homeowner therefore enjoys lower monthly bills. Indeed, for the budget-conscious, windows are no longer a liability. If you're looking to cut costs, Dave Lincon of Sears Home Services recommends concentrating on windows rated by Energy Star. After all, he says, there's a simple reason why the Sears Weatherbeater line carries the certification: "At the end of the day, Energy Star windows help you save."
The Way It Should Be
It wasn't so long ago that most windows held only a single pane of glass. Nowadays, multiple panes are the norm. By way of example, Lincon points out that many of the window styles installed by Sears Home Services are double-paned—in part for structural strength, but even more so for enhanced efficiency. Plus, Lincon says that between the two panes of glass in Sears Weatherbeater windows, there's a sealed unit of argon gas. Colorless, odorless, and non-toxic, the denser-than-air gas provides an added layer of insulation. "Put your hand to an old window in winter, and it's cold to the touch," Lincoln remarks. "New windows keep the cold out and the warmth in—the way it should be."
Sunscreen for Your House
Yet another state-of-the-art technology comes integrated with Sears Weatherbeater windows and other high-efficiency models. It didn't exist for previous generations, but today, window glass often features a micro-thin coating of metal oxide. Commonly known as low-E, the coating blocks out solar heat gain in the summer, while preventing the escape of heat energy in the winter. That's not all, though. In addition to limiting heat transmission, low-E also filters the bleaching effects of ultraviolet light. In so doing, it protects your upholstered furniture, fabric floor coverings, and wall-hung artwork from fading over time. Jim Eldredge of Sears Home Services calls it "sunscreen for your house."
For Some, A Must
Whether on account of an intruder or debris borne aloft by the wind, single-pane glass windows could shatter with relative ease. Providing peace of mind to homeowners today are laminated glass windows, such as those belonging to the Sears Weatherbeater Max line. Outfitted with an interlayer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), impact-resistant windows deliver enhanced strength well suited to homes with security concerns, storm vulnerabilities, or both. "Security glass may not be for everyone," says Eldredge of Sears, but under certain circumstances, it's "a must." To explore your options, seek out a local contractor or book online to schedule a free in-home consultation with Sears Home Services.
If you live on a street with a fair amount of traffic, from cars or passersby, you might expect the room with the most windows to be the noisiest. But it doesn't have to be. Many of the same window technologies that offer thermal insulation also deliver insulation against sound. According to Lincon of Sears Home Services, homeowners often notice the change right away. "Time and time again, I work with clients who report that after replacing old windows, their living spaces seem quieter and more peaceful—like it's the same house, but in a new location." Similar to increased home resale value, hushed interiors are one of the "hidden benefits" of window replacement, he adds.