Popular Cities in Arkansas
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Guide to Window Replacement in Arkansas
Arkansas is the “Natural State,” known for its mountains, valleys, woodlands and rivers. It makes sense that energy efficiency would be important to many Arkansas residents, as it helps preserve the beauty of the surrounding nature by cutting down on fossil fuel use. One of the ways you can optimize energy use is by replacing old windows with new, efficient ones that better insulate your home.
Quality, energy efficient windows don’t come cheap, but thankfully a $200 residential energy tax credit is available in Arkansas for windows, doors, and skylights. Additionally, you could save on your monthly energy bills by investing in windows that perform well against the summer heat and winter cold.
Advantages of Upgrading Windows in Arkansas
Old windows can be an eyesore, but their potential problems go far beyond that. Cracks and leaks can lead to home damage as well as a high rate of heat exchange, which causes discomfort and higher energy bills. If your windows are more than a couple decades old, consider replacing them for these advantages:
- Energy efficiency: Certain types of windows and glazings allow less heat to transfer from inside to out.
- Added home value: While updating windows may be more functional than exciting, prospective homebuyers will appreciate the security of knowing that the property is better insulated and that they won’t need to make this replacement themselves for quite some time. Additionally, you could take the opportunity to add an aesthetic window that opens up the space and makes it more appealing.
- Comfort: The only thing more frustrating than throwing money at your heating and air conditioning system is knowing that it’s all going to waste because your house is constantly too hot or too cold. Improving insulation is the first step to keeping the temperature comfortable, but investing in quality windows can also make a huge difference.
- Lower maintenance: The paint coating, glazing, and hardware on new windows are a great deal more durable than those used on windows that are 15 to 20 years old. This means less repainting, reapplying glaze, and repairing cracks.
- Security and damage protection: New windows are tested against break-ins, storms, and other things that put your family and home at risk.
Understanding Window Rating Systems in Arkansas
It’s easy to set out on a journey for energy efficient windows, but when you get down to actually shopping for products, you may be asking yourself what it is that you should be looking for. Instead of trusting any product that boasts energy efficiency, take a closer look at these window performance ratings:
U-factor – in order to help keep your home nice and cool during a hot and humid summer, or warm and toasty in the winter, windows have to have be able to block heat transfer. The U-factor rating indicates how much non-solar heat the product allows through – therefore, the lower the U-factor, the lower the rate of heat transfer, the better the product.
Visible transmittance (VT) – the VT rating has to do with how much light is allowed through the glazing. A window with a low VT rating may not allow as much natural sunlight as you would like into your home. On the other hand, a window with a high VT rating might cause too much glare. The desirable VT rating depends on your home’s lighting needs.
Air leakage (AL) – according to Energy Efficiency Arkansas, air leaks around windows and doors can account for 10 percent of home heating costs. Thankfully, this rating can guide you toward products with lower air leakage – a lower AL rating indicates a better product in this regard.
Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) – a low SHGC means the product is lessening the amount of solar radiation allowed into your home. The tricky part here is that a high SHGC helps keep your home warm in winter, while a low SHGC helps keep it cool in the summer. Carefully consider which will be most advantageous to you before basing your decision off of this rating.
Light-to-solar gain (LSG) – ideally, your windows are going to transmit sunlight while blocking out solar heat. The LSG rating shows the relationship between SHGC and VT. Look for a higher number here, as it indicates a higher amount of light allowed in without adding excessive heat.
Energy Efficient Windows in Arkansas
The rating systems above aren’t the only factors to consider when it comes to efficiency. Double and triple-paned windows offer better insulation, and hold a layer of gas in between each pane that decreases heat transference. Low-emissive coatings can also be an important thing to look for, as these coatings allow less heat through the glass.
Window Replacement Styles Arkansas
The performance and functionality of windows are obviously important factors, but this doesn’t mean the visual appeal should be forgotten. Research the following windows styles so that you can find the perfect match that will amp up curb appeal:
Single-hung – a single-hung window includes an upper sash that is fixed in place and a lower sash that opens.
Double-hung – a double-hung window also has an upper and lower sash, but either can be opened.
Bay, bow, and box windows – These three types all consist of one frame that includes three or four separate panes. Bay windows are angled and include three panes which protrude from the wall and add square footage to a room. Bow windows are similar but include four panes, and protrude from the wall in a rounded shape. Box windows do not add square footage to a room, but protrude from the exterior and offer a ledge inside for storage space. All of these add an exterior dynamic feature, expand views of the outdoors, and bring in more sunlight.
Arch top and elliptical – these small, decorative windows can give your home a more classic or elaborate look.
Picture – like bay windows, portrait windows are expansive and consist of multiple panes, but they do not protrude from the structure.
French casement – this type opens outward, and is named after the same feature characteristic of French doors.
Arkansas Window Replacement Materials
Window frames can be made from several different materials that vary in durability, heat conductance, and appearance:
Wood – wood can have a beautiful and natural aesthetic, but its looks come with a price: moisture retention can cause damage to the wood. However, adding a coating to the wood can reduce the likelihood of damage and the need for maintenance.
Vinyl – this material is one of the most common, as it is affordable, durable, low-maintenance, and moisture-resistant.
Aluminum – this is a nice, lightweight material, but it conducts heat.
Fiberglass – fiberglass can match the look of any home, and it also can be insulated, which is a big plus when it comes to energy efficiency.
Choosing the Right Replacement Windows for Arkansas Weather
While the climate in Arkansas varies from region to region, it’s common for the entire state to experience many hot summer days and cold winter days, with a fair amount of humidity. Rainstorms, thunderstorms, ice storms, and tornadoes occasionally occur depending on the seasons, which means the Arkansas home has to be prepared for a variety of conditions.
Now that you know more about the rating systems and materials, you can make better decisions for your home regarding the weather. Moisture and heat resistance are both extremely important in most area of Arkansas, so wood and aluminum may not be the best choices for window frames. With high summer temperatures, a low SHGC and U-factor may be the keys to keeping your home cool.
Finding the Right Contractor for Window Replacement in Arkansas
The quality, energy efficiency, and lifespan of your windows can be compromised by incorrect sizing or poor insulation. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced professional who can get the job done right, preventing damage to your home or to your new investment. Window installation requires specific skills, especially if the projects involves cutting through the wall to install a bigger or different type of window. The right contractor will be able to spot any potential problems before the project begins and will know how to make your new windows as efficient as possible.
Be sure to contact several multiple contractors to get estimates. Look through the Better Business Bureau of Arkansas directory to make sure they are licensed and trustworthy before you move forward.
Obtaining a Permit for Arkansas Window Replacement
Replacement windows usually require a building permit. Contact your city or county’s building or development office, or visit Arkansas’ Division of Building Authority website for more details before beginning the project. The permit can only be submitted by you or your contractor.