In Houston, the replacement and installation of home windows is a big business. In most cases, you’ll see a sticker on every new window you’re considering purchasing. If you’re wondering exactly what they mean, you’re certainly not alone. There’s quite a bit of information on that sticker you’ll want to know about your new windows.
First, it’s important to understand the acronym on your windows. NFRC is the National Fenestration Rating Council. They oversee all of the ratings and labeling on windows and doors that are sold and marketed throughout the U.S. The first box you’ll see on that sticker refers to the U-Factor. This discusses how successful the replacement home windows you chose for your Cypress, TX, home or office can stop the level of heat transfer occurring. Essentially, it’s a measure of insulation efficiency. Many people look to new windows to keep heating and cooling bills down, and that’s key in the hot Texas sun. You want to look for something with a fairly low U-factor, because the lower the number, the more of that heat you’ll manage to keep out. Anything that runs below 0.60 will work for you, but if you can get that number lower, you’re going to be far better off in the long run.
You’ll also see a rating for the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. As with the U-Factor, the lower the number, the better this is going to be. It’s going to keep your cooling bills down quite a bit. It address the amount of infrared light that is allow to pass through The Visible Light Transmittance is another rating you’ll see on there. This one looks at the total amount of visible light that the window choice lets in. It won’t have as much of an impact on the heat you’re getting from the window, so you want a higher number here. After all, you’re probably putting windows in to get a bit more natural light, so you can go as high as you like with this number.
If you’re concerned about air leakage, you’ll certainly want to look at that box on the sticker. The last thing you want is for your new windows to leak air, because it can make your home extremely drafty. You’ll find this number in a fairly small box, but it’s important to note that the NFRC doesn’t mandate that number on the sticker, so not every window manufacturer actually includes it on there. You may also want to look at the condensation resistance number. You want to keep moisture out of your home, as it can create mold and moisture problems. You’ll notice this number goes up with the number of panes your window choice has. This, like the air leakage number, is not mandated, so you may not find it on every window choice on the market today.
Understanding exactly what you’re getting in a given window package is key to making sure you’re happy with the window choice. Talk to your contractor if you have any questions before the window is installed.
Dining Room Window Sticker (http://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/308619370/) / CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)