With ever-rising utility bills and new tax incentives from the government to install energy efficient windows, you may be wondering which kind of materials work best with your home. Choosing between aluminum-clad and vinyl-clad windows may initially present a challenge. But there are so many advantages when it comes to vinyl windows that it presents an outstanding option.
If you still have the original aluminum windows most builders installed in the 1960s, you may already be experiencing drafts, mold issues, and rattling. Vinyl windows are known for their excellent energy-efficient, insulating qualities as well as their ability to muffle outdoor noise.
All things being equal, the efficiency and durability of any window comes down to the quality of your installation. That's why you may not want to try it yourself! When you buy vinyl windows, it's a good idea to hire an installer who has certifications, training, and experience with the materials.
When shopping, consider buying vinyl replacement windows that qualify for a tax credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Windows with U-factors and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) equal to or less than .30 meet the government requirements for the credit. Under the provisions, you can recoup up to 30 percent or a maximum of $1,500 of the cost of your vinyl windows. Installation is not included.
Tax credits aside, you should consider replacement windows that are certified for high performance by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC conducts an independent evaluation of windows. Its window label shows you the U-factor, the SHGC, and whether it has an ENERGY STAR rating.
Find a local window replacement pro near you. Shop wisely.
About the author: Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.