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Buying Windows in Providence, Rhode Island
When you own a home regular maintenance and upkeep is essential to maintaining the value of your home. One of the regular maintenance tasks many homeowners face at least once in their life is replacing all of the windows in their house. High quality windows are meant to perform optimally for ten to fifteen years. Because of this, replacing your home’s windows can be a big undertaking and a large investment.
How do you know for sure it is time for replacement windows? If your windows are older than 15 years, if they are causing drafts or air leaks in your home, or if you are having trouble opening and closing your windows, it is probably time to begin planning to replace your windows.
When shopping for new windows, energy efficiency should be at the forefront of your mind. Windows allow sunshine and fresh air into your home, but they are also meant to protect the interior of your home from changing weather. Windows that are truly energy efficient will relieve some of the burden of keeping your home comfortable that is placed on your heating and cooling system.
Because of this, when you buy new windows, you will want to be sure they are good fit for your home and the climate where you live in Rhode Island. Additionally, Rhode Island has unique building codes and permit requirements you will need to follow when making any major home improvements to your home.
In this Providence window buying guide, we aim to simplify your search for the right windows for your home by outlining the need to know information about the climate where you live and any city guidelines you need to consider before moving forward with your window replacement.
Finding Windows for the Climate in Providence
ENERGY STAR® has created climate zones based on the weather in different regions of the United States. Using these guidelines, you can easily find windows that comply with ENERGY STAR® guidelines and perform efficiently where you live. Providence is located in the Northern Climate Zone, an area of the country known for long and cold winters and short summers. In January, the coldest month of the year, the average low is 21 degrees. In July, the warmest month of the year, the average high is 83 degrees.
Providence also receives an average of 47.88 inches of rain each year, roughly 8 inches higher than the national average. The average annual snowfall in Providence each year is 33.5 inches, nearly ten inches above the national average snowfall of 25 inches.
As a homeowner living in Providence, your main concerns when buying windows are keeping your home warm during the winter without exceeding your monthly heating and cooling budget and protecting your home from heavy rain and snowfall. Energy efficiency in low temperature climates can be achieved by complying with Energy Star® requirements and inspecting the ratings placed on the National Fenestration Ratings Council label that is placed on new windows.
On this label, you will find the U-Factor rating, a measurement of how much heat can be lost through the window. In a cold climate like Rhode Island, ENERGY STAR® requires windows to have a U-Factor rating of 0.27 or less.
Another factor to consider in a cold climate that receives a lot of rain and snow is the materials that are used to build the windows. Wood window frames offer the most insulation, but can be very costly and require a lot of maintenance. Additionally, wood often does poorly in high moisture regions and may swell as a reaction to the presence of excess water. Because of this, highly energy efficient vinyl or fiberglass is likely the best choice for your home in Providence. Not only do these materials perform well in cold climates, they are also very durable and require very little maintenance over the life of the window.
Complying with Providence Window Replacement Requirements
The government in each city is responsible for outlining building codes that regulate both new building and home improvement projects. The Providence Department of Inspections & Standards has created a Guide to Permitting that outlines the requirements for window replacements. As a homeowner living in Providence, you are required to apply for a building permit for all window replacement projects.
A permit application can be found in the Guide to Permitting and can be submitted directly to Department of Inspections & Standards located at 444 Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903. The office is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 08:30 a.m. and 04:30 p.m.. If you have further questions about the permit application process, you can call the department directly at (401) 680-5201.
The state of Rhode Island requires all contractors to be registered with the state. In order to successfully register, each contractor is required to complete a minimum of 5 hours of continuing education each year. Before you hire a contractor to install new windows in your home, it is in your best interest to make sure they are in compliance will all state registration requirements.
Using the information provided in this Providence window buying guide, you can find the most energy efficient windows for your home. When you purchase ENERGY STAR® compliant windows, you can expect to save between $91 and $465 on your utility expenses each year.