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When Is The Best Time To Get New Windows

When is the best time to replace your windows? Many things come into play here and one of the major considerations is whether or not you home is 15 years old or older.

As a homeowner, especially if your house is an older design, when is the best time for you to consider getting new windows. This can be a tricky question but there are some thing that can make this an easier decision for you. With older homes, especially those 15 years or older, one of the things you might need to watch out for is your energy costs. Older homes typically have older outdated single panned designs. These are typically constructed of simple wooden frames with grooves cut in them that are sized to fit a single panned glass. This glass unfortunately does not have the thermal or insulation capacity of newer designed efficient Energy Star rated ones. These older style designs are all extremely inefficient and can cause you all kinds of problems. This inefficiency never used to be a problem to homeowners mainly because heating and cooling costs were extremely low in the United States. You could heat and cool a home for literally just pennies a day decades ago but of course that has all completely changed. Much of the rise in energy costs have been driven by the increasing price of oil worldwide. A barrel of oil not that long ago was generally in the $20 a barrel range or less but today because of the increasing scarcity of production quotas barrel prices are averaging $60 or more. But technology has come to the rescue. The biggest culprit of energy loss in a private home or even a business is through the windows and this has not escaped the notice of designer and builders. To combat this the normal single pane window has been completely transformed. Most of these today are Energy Star compliant. Energy Star was set up as a part of the United States Department of Energy to institute parameters for energy efficiency in several manufacturing sectors. One of these was the manufacture of efficient windows because in a home these are the best locations for energy loss and resulting higher energy bills.

The cost of replacement can be expensive and run anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 for a 2000 to 3000 square foot home. But cost aside the benefits to you can far outweigh these initial costs. It is a fact that the installation of new windows is one of the few home improvement investments where it is possible to recoup you money if you decide to sell your home in the future or even keep it over the remainder of your life through energy savings. In addition to this financial incentive Energy Star compliant new windows can also eligible for tax credit incentives. The other thing you will notice with this upgrade is a much more comfortable and quieter environment for you and your family. What is the dollar value of that improvement? You also need to keep in mind that your saving can vary according to the climate of your homes location. Those that see the biggest energy savings are usually located in the hottest and coldest climates in the United States. These would typically be in the desert southwest and northern regions of the country.

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What Are Energy Star Windows

Windows have greatly changed over the years. From their beginnings as simple openings covered with glass they have evolved into energy efficient items with superior insulating qualities.

Windows and the materials to construct them have been around since the beginnings of civilized societies. Initially they were just open portals in buildings covered by shutters. As technology progressed, though, wooden shutters and slats gave way to the use of manufactured glass to cover these openings. Glass was much more appealing for homes and buildings because it was transparent. Even though the first glass was extremely fragile and easily broken this material only needed to be protected from damage during severe storms. In the construction industry much has changed over the years and this includes the materials used in the manufacture and designs of windows. The technology, however, didn’t really accelerate until the 20th century. During this time more and more consideration was given to the insulating characteristics of building materials. One of the new developments in this area was the institution of Energy Star ratings. These ratings have been established by Energy Star, which is a part of the United States Department of Energy. The Department of Energy has taken the lead in encouraging businesses and individuals to not only be aware of energy waste but to help encourage all Americans to do what they can to help the country be more energy efficient. The benefits of doing this are obvious as more energy efficiency means lower heating and cooling bills. In addition, depending on the type of energy efficient equipment you install, there are also tax incentives available.

The anatomy of windows that are deemed Energy Star efficient are much different than the normal single pane windows we all grew up with. These old style designs were exceedingly simple and consisted of a simple wooden frame with channels cut in the frame that were just large enough so that a single pane of glass could be fitted. Of course these types had almost no insulation value and very little thermal mass. As a consequence, regardless of weather conditions, the outside temperatures had no problem moving into the home or building. The other problem associated with this old style was temperature leakage. Many times these openings would lose their seals as a result age or just wear and of course this allowed the heated or cooled air in the building or home to leak out.

Energy Star windows are manufactured completely differently than old style types. First take a look at the materials used for the frames. A variety of quality low maintenance material can be used for the framing. There are choices between using fiberglass, wood and vinyl systems that are not only low maintenance but also have additional thermal mass to help reduce heat leakage and heat transfer into the home. Most of the glass used in these new styles use low e glass. This is glass that has a special coating applied to it that is designed to reflect both ultraviolet and infrared radiation to help keep the heat outside in the summer and the heat inside in the months. The glass used is also multi-paned, either double or triple spaced. In between the panes there is always an inert gas such as argon to increase the insulating properties. In addition for added strength and stability the glass panes are held in place by warm edge spacers for added stability and additional insulation.

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Home Heating In America

With the dawn of home heating in America, further design and innovation has revolutionized the industry of home comfort to include not only central air units in our homes but also the development of the heat pump.

Early in the history of America, one of the major additions to any home was a source of warmth. Most of the colonies at that time were all located along the east coast of the continent and most of them were in the northern latitudes. These colonies included Maryland north and east to the New England colony of Maine. What this meant was that during the winters most of the colonies were bitter cold. To counter these freezing temperatures all early homes were equipped with simple open wood burning brick fireplaces that not only provided warmth to make it more comfortable in the winter months, but could also be used for cooking meals. In 1745 this began to change as a comfort new source was introduced that was slowly accepted as an alternative to the open fireplace. This was the invention, by Benjamin Franklin, of his Franklin stove. This new stove proved to be much more efficient in providing a central source of heating in a home. The stove was constructed of cast iron and could be centrally placed. When it was fired up, the cast iron efficiently and evenly radiated warmth from the stove to all areas of the home. This stove was so brilliantly designed and effective it is still in use today. The other side benefit of Franklin’s stove was that it could also be used for cooking. By 1885 heating in the majority of the homes in America was supplied by either brick fireplaces or the Franklin stove.

By the end of the 1800s a new invention hit the scene. This was the invention of the cast iron radiator. This cast iron radiator came about by necessity because the large metropolitan areas of the country were being filled with apartments. These apartments needed a centrally located source that could be made available to all the tenants in the apartment building to keep them warm. A coal-fired boiler that was usually located in the basement of the building fed the cast iron radiators in each apartment. The boiler would deliver hot water throughout the building to each radiator. As technical innovation continued gas and oil fired versions of the boiler eventually replaced all of the coal-fired models.

In the 20th century Willis Carrier invented the first process to cool air by means of a mechanical process. With his invention a new industry was born, air conditioning. This eventually swept across America and it wasn’t long before these air conditioners began to show up in housing. These air conditioners were much more common in the south and southwest than in the northern states. The other innovation that developed from this was the idea to combine both cooling and heating in one device. This combination became the dawn of central air conditioning and heating in homes. These dual units generally consisted of a heating unit in the attic that was either gas fired or electric and a separate unit out side that composed the cooling unit. These have been even further refines today into a single heat pump technology designed to be more efficient and use less electricity than earlier models.

 

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