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California Window Replacement – Buying Windows in Cali
Homeowners often face the tough task of purchasing and replacing windows in their home. It might be just a couple of windows needed for a room addition, or a complete set to maximize their homes energy efficiency or for a newly constructed home.
Several considerations must be made before purchasing new California replacement windows for either new home construction or replacement of existing windows in your home. The style and operational design are most important when it comes to aesthetic appeal. You may opt for the ever popular double hung window which utilizes both an upper and lower vertical sash with the latter capable of opening to ventilate the room. Other circumstances might lead you to select a different design such as a bay, a garden window, or casement window that opens outwards, providing more appeal, aesthetics, or operational function to your home. No matter which style of window you choose, you will find they are available in a wide variety of designs, colors, and materials suited for your individual needs and climate zones.
Window Frames and Glazing
Aside from the type and design of window, another consideration is the frame and glazing options that determine the window’s life span and expected energy efficiency. The Energy.gov website provides valuable information with a breakdown of the different frames and glazing options that are available. The website also lists the pros and cons of each frame material and glazing option.
Return of Investment for Windows Replacement in California
Replacing or installing new windows provides many benefits to you. The most obvious is the aesthetic appeal it adds to your home or business. This is especially true with older buildings fitted with dated or inoperable window systems. Another benefit from new window installation is the increased property value you can expect upon completion. New windows provide an ideal marketing tool that makes it more attractive to potential home buyers when selling your home.
Windows Loans, Programs and Funding Options for Californians
Investing in new windows for your home or business can carry a significant out-of-pocket expense. Paying for your windows upfront will always be the best option as homeowners will benefit from rebates and incentive programs. However, property owners who do not have the luxury of on hand cash to cover the purchase have other options.
The State of California is working together with lenders to provide lower-cost financing for energy efficiency investments throughout the state. California’s Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing program has been developed to help borrower’s to achieve better rates and financing terms than what they may otherwise qualify for.
Another option designed to help California residents pay for energy upgrades is through PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. This program is an innovative financing option that allows the loan to be repaid via annual property assessments through your property tax bill.
Banks and other lending institutions often provide attractive loan rates for home improvement upgrades to your home. You can also explore the traditional route of financing your California replacement windows purchase through HELOC’s “Home Equity Lines of Credit and both secured and unsecured loans.
Permits for Replacement Windows in California
After choosing a style, type and operational preference, California residents will need to obtain a construction permit before beginning window installation buying guide. The requirements may vary from city to city but usually require a building permit that is issued through the applicable city’s building department. After meeting the requirements for window installation in your city you are free to hire a contractor or install the new windows yourself.
Hiring a Windows Contractor in California
Before hiring a window installation contractor, it is in your best interests to verify several important factors before signing on the dotted line. Most California cities require contractors to hold Workers Compensation Insurance for their employees. The insurance covers any job related injuries suffered by the employees while on the job, which so happens to be your home. This releases you of any financial liabilities related to their injury, which protects you, your home and financial assets from potential lawsuits related to the injury.
The contractor should also posses a valid general building license and liability insurance. The general building license provides you with an additional assurance — not a guarantee — that they know what they are doing as rigorous testing and continuing education is usually required to obtain the license. Liability insurance covers the job site — your home — in the event of any mishaps during installation. This could be any sort of job related circumstance such as broken windows, broken plumbing or incorrect installation. In any event, it provides you and your home with additional protection.
In addition, it is also a good idea to ask for and verify references. Often, you can gain a truckload of valuable information regarding said contractor by contacting previous customers. Information such as contractor’s timeliness, quality of work competed, job site cleanliness and if they stayed within the budget restraints of the project are all important aspects to consider. To further your research, check with the applicable California replacement windows supplier to determine the reliability of your contractor and the scope of their work.
Finally, contact the Better Business Bureau to inquire about any customer complaints or pending lawsuits against said contractor. Contractor referral lists provide a valuable resource by listing, grading and providing customer feedback for thousands of contractors throughout the State of California.
Contact your local building department to verify requirements subject to your area before hiring a contractor as permit requirements may vary between localities.
The California Climate and Window Installation
Purchasing the right California replacement windows along with meeting the stringent requirements by the state of California can often be more difficult than the actual installation itself. California’s climate is as diverse as it comes with both a dry, desert climate as well as an alpine region subjected to blistery cold with moderate regions mixed in between. For this reason, their window codes and requirements are designed to provide the most efficiency for each applicable region.
Careful thought goes into California replacement windows and are designed with a strong emphasis placed on the applicable environments of each region. The International Energy Code Council (IECC) recognizes five climate zones in California. The requirements vary for each zone and are the same for windows in new construction, additions, remodeling and replacement of existing windows.
An easy to read chart is available on their site Energy Code Compliance Guide to Window Selection in California that will allow you to identify your climate zone as well as window/door U-factors and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The U-factor rates heat loss or gain with the lower the number, the more energy efficiency you can expect. The SHGC measures the amount of solar radiation allowed to penetrate through your California replacement windows. As with the U-factor, lower rating numbers are desirable as they offer more efficiency.
According to the California Energy Commission, and based on the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, all new California replacement windows and exterior doors must meet the energy performance standards required by the state. New windows must be dual-glazed and meet the Lowe-E standard with a maximum U-factor of .32 and an SHGC-factor of .25 or less.
Homeowners who live in climate regions that experience a high rate of moisture should pay close attention to the CR or condensation rating of new windows. The condensation rating measures the condensation resistance of a window. CR is measured as a number between 1 and 100. Higher numbers represent better resistance to condensation, which according to the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) reduces the potential for window damage, and mold and mildew growth.
California Replacement Windows Rebates and Incentives
California is leading our nation when it comes to renewable energy, but did you know they are also paving the way in energy conservation? Along with their major power companies, many rebates and incentives are available for Low- E window purchases. For example, residents of Pasadena, California can expect a $.030 per square foot rebate when purchasing dual pane, Low-E windows and glass doors. Combine that with a $0.15 per square foot rebate when you buy local and you could realize a nice savings. You must fill out an application and include the NFRC label or invoice stating U-factors and SHGC values meeting the requirements of your climate zone. You can find a detailed list along with required applications by visiting Energy Upgrade California.
Federal agencies, utilities, and others offer a variety of tax credits, rebates and incentives to promote energy conservation, efficiency as well as renewable energy sources. Taking advantage of the available rebates and incentive programs can reduce the costs associated with energy efficient upgrades. With the abundance of energy conservation rebates and incentive programs available both in the state of California and through the Federal Government, it easy to get lost and overlook programs that might save you money. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) sponsored by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center provides a comprehensive list of rebate polices and incentive programs by state. Residents of the state of California can expect to find approximately 224 programs on the site offering home improvement rebates from Energy Star rated appliances to window installation and upgrades.
Replacing or installing new windows in your California home provides many benefits. There are many available options, rebates and incentive programs to help save you money and provide attractive financing for window replacement or installation in the State of California. As with any rebate or incentive program, as funding diminishes some of the options may expire or be suspended until additional funding is realized. It is to your advantage to explore all the available options and act within their respective time-frames accordingly.