Save money by investing in the right windows
"My front windows face southwest. I have no shade trees in the front yard, so I'm expecting my front rooms to get hot this summer. I also have condensation between the panes. I plan to replace the windows but am getting conflicting advice. Should I get low-e (low-emissivity) glass and rely on it to block infrared heat waves, or get clear glass and have an infrared-reflective film applied? Which will give me the best results?" — Angie's Llist member Roger Linville
"If you want to save money in the long run, do it right the first time," says Matt Miller, marketing manager of highly rated Renewal By Andersen in Northborough, Mass., also licensed to service Boston. "Remember, you get what you pay for."
Skeptical of window film for its tendency to be more sensitive to the elements, he instead recommends looking into high-tech modern windows that come with 13 to 17 different special heat-blocking chemicals already built into the glass for higher efficiency.
Buying basic energy efficient windows that are eligible for the $1,500 federal tax credit are also a good option, he says, but they won't last as long.
The condensation that Linville has identified in between his window panes is caused by inexpensive vinyl framing, which is sensitive to heat changes and will contract.
"Vinyl is not temperature stable, and the seals will fail," Miller says.
That is one good reason to replace his windows with energy efficient or high-tech Fibrex ones, which lasts up to 40 years. Although pricey, he says the investment will pay for itself in longevity.
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