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Honolulu Window Replacement Guide
The average window can be expected to last anywhere from 10 to 40 years, but at some point, even the sturdiest of windows will need to be replaced. From energy efficiency to frame materials to municipal regulation, a homeowner has a lot to consider before contacting their contractor and beginning a project of this magnitude. It is important to take the time to make yourself knowledgeable about a few basic aspects of this process before embarking, so as to save you time and money along the way.
This Honolulu Window Replacement Guide will aid you in that process by teaching you how to recognize when a replacement is necessary, the different materials available on the market, and all that is required to ensure that the job is done safely and legally.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Honolulu Home
Although Honolulu doesn’t suffer from extreme temperature swings throughout the year, the warm, moist climate–not to mention the hurricanes–can do a number on a home’s windows. If you have begun to notice that your windows allow breezes to blow in through the glass itself, it is high time to upgrade. Those older windows are making your HVAC unit work substantially harder, and is, subsequently, driving up your energy bills. In fact, the Efficient Windows Collaborative found that homeowners who replaced their single-pane windows for a more energy efficient alternative saw a 15 percent drop in their utility bills overall. That can amount to a savings of as much as several hundred dollars a year!
Another issue to look for is whether your window frames have warped over time. The more misshapen your windows are, the more difficult they will be to open and close. In some instances, this simple action may even be impossible. A window failing of this nature is a huge problem that needs to be addressed quickly, considering the safety risks that come with not being able to escape your home easily were an emergency to transpire.
Risks come in many forms though and leaky windows are a substantial risk to your home’s health. When water seeps into your home’s walls, it usually gets trapped there, slowly rotting the exterior structure of your home and allowing dangerous mold to begin growing. There are steps that can be taken in this instance to help put off a full renovation; though, you will need to monitor the repairs closely to ensure that the issue has been solved.
Window Materials Matter in Honolulu
When considering which type of window you would like for your home, you will need to decide on the window framing material, single versus multiple paned windows, and any sort of specialized energy efficiency coating.
The window market is now flooded with countless options for framing materials or combinations of several different framing materials, and each has its own merit, though, the three most common materials are solid hardwood, aluminum, and vinyl. Although wooden frames are typically the most durable, in Honolulu’s climate this is simply not the case. If you are looking for the longevity that only wood can provide, then opt for a wood frame that has been coated in vinyl. This will seal and protect the wood from the elements, while still giving your windows the sturdiest base on the market. You can expect to pay top dollar for this choice, though. If you are looking for a less expensive option and are willing to sacrifice a bit of staying power, than either vinyl or thermally improved aluminum will suffice. Both are quite strong, require minimal to no maintenance, and will sufficiently manage the solar heat.
Energy Star and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) have made it easy to gauge just how energy efficient a window is by measuring three specific attributes of a window’s glass: U-value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), and low emissivity (low E). U-values measure how quickly heat is lost through the window assembly, meaning that the lower the U-value is, the better your window is at insulating your home. SHGC works in a similar way, measuring how well your window is able to block solar radiation from ever entering your home. Finally, low E coating allows a window to better reflect radiant solar heat.
Although there are many options available that will provide your home with better energy efficiency, the best possible window for Honolulu would be gas-filled double paned windows that have a U-value of less than 0.3, a SHGC value of equal to or less than 0.25, and a low-solar-gain low-E coating in an improved wooden frame.
Lastly, your family’s safety is incredibly important. Considering that the central Pacific Basin has seen more days with multiple hurricanes than every other year combined since 1970, upgrading to impact resistant windows that are far sturdier than a traditional window assembly due to enhanced construction and installment measures is a sound investment for any home.
Building Permits, Inspections, and Fees for Honolulu Residents
The City of Honolulu requires that a building permit be obtained before any work begins on your window replacement renovation. Although some applications can be filed online, most improvements of this scope are too large to do so. If your job falls within the latter category, then your application must be submitted Monday through Friday from 7:45 to 4:30 at the Frank F Fasi Municipal Building which is located at 650 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813.
For renovations that do not require any structural changes, you will only need to provide a completed application and a fee. To determine what your fee will be, use the calculation tool provided on the City of Honolulu’s webpage.
Once all work has been completed, a final inspection must take place. You can schedule this inspection by faxing this form to (808) 768-4400 at least 48 hours prior to your requested time.