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Buying Windows in Sacramento, California
As a homeowner, investing in your home by making improvements is the best way to maintain the resale value of your home. Although most windows have a long lifespan, they do need to be replaced when they are no longer energy efficient or have begun to allow air or moisture into your home.
Sacramento homeowners who are ready to replace the windows in their home have numerous decisions to make before making a window purchase. Not only are there many operational styles available, windows are also highly customizable from the material used and glass options, to the style of the hardware. In addition to design, where your home is located should play a big role in selecting the right window for your home.
The City of Sacramento has unique building code and permit requirements they require homeowners and contractors to meet before making a major home improvement such as a window replacement. Sacramento is located in the south-central climate zone as designated by ENERGY STAR®, and it is important to consider just how well different window options will perform in your area before making a purchase. An energy efficient window will not only keep your home comfortable, it will also help you maintain affordable heating and cooling costs.
Basic Information About Buying Windows in Sacramento
It is helpful to obtain a basic understanding of window operational style and design options. First, you will need to decide between replacement and new construction windows. New construction windows must be attached directly to the studs of your home, making them appropriate for new building and remodeling situations where the frame is exposed. In comparison, replacement windows are uniquely designed to fit perfectly in the space left behind by the old window, making them appropriate in situations where there will be no construction or structural changes made to the surrounding wall.
Next, you will need to consider how you would like the windows to operate within your home. For example, one of the most popular windows for residential homes is the double hung window. This window has two, vertically hung sashes with one sliding upwards and the other downwards to open. If you prefer a window with a single sash, casement, hopper and awning windows all open outwards from the hinge. There are larger windows and more architecturally unique windows including picture windows, bay and bow windows, and arched windows to choose from as well.
Lastly, you will need to select the basic design elements of your windows. Typically, windows are available with wood, vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass frames with the option of various colors and finishes. You will also be able to select from a wide range of grid designs for the glass as well as hardware.
Requirements for Replacing Windows in Sacramento, California
Homeowners living in Sacramento, California are required to purchase a permit anytime they will be making major repairs or alterations to their home. Because of this, if you plan to replace your window, you will need to obtain a permit from the Building Permits & Inspections Division of the Department of Community Development. Depending on the work you plan to perform, you can anticipate spending between $350 and $1000 on your permit, according to the department’s website.
In addition to obtaining a permit, you will need to hire a contractor for the work who is properly licensed and insured. Sacramento contractors can obtain a general building license from the city, and these are required for them to replace windows in the city. Additionally, all contractors with employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance covering the cost of medical expenses and missed work in case an employee is injured while working on your home.
Paying for Windows in Sacramento
The city of Sacramento offers window rebates for qualifying window replacement. These rebates are $75 for every 25 square feet of window area replaced and cannot exceed $1000. In order to qualify for the rebate, the windows purchased must be installed by a Home Performance contractor as designated by the city.
If you do not qualify for the rebates offered by the city, or simply need options for paying for the remainder of your window costs, there are more conventional methods for paying for home improvements including credit cards, a home equity line of credit, or saving up to pay cash for your replacement windows.
Buying Windows for the Climate in Sacramento, California
According to ENERGY STAR®, Sacramento is a part of the south-central climate zone. These zones require both the use of heating and cooling depending on the season. Sacramento is located away from the coast. Homeowners can expect very warm summers, averaging 92 degrees in July, and very mild windows, averaging 54 degrees in January.
Before buying windows for your Sacramento home, you should take into consideration how they will perform in your specific climate. Energy efficient windows are best selected by understanding the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels that are placed on windows. These labels indicate the U-Factor, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, The Visible Transmittance, and the Air Leakage rating of the window.
The amount of heat that can pass through a window is represented by the U-Factor. A higher number indicates a window that allows a significant amount of heat to enter or leave the home. During seasons of extreme temperatures, your heating and cooling system will have to work harder to keep your home comfortable, costing you more money. It is always better to choose a low U-Factor rating, and in Sacramento the recommended U-Factor 0.30 or less.
When solar radiation passes through a window, it heats the home without the use of a heating system. This may be beneficial in areas with cold winters, but in Sacramento the winters are mild and the summers are hot and solar radiation can overheat your home. Because of this, a lower Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating is better in the south-central climate zone. In Sacramento, ENERGY STAR® recommends a rating of no more than 0.25.
The final two ratings on the NFRC label are the Visible Transmittance and Air Leakage ratings. The Visible Transmittance ratings indicates the area of glass of the window and the view it provides. There are no visible transmittance rating requirements in Sacramento, so this decision can be made based on personal preference. The Air Leakage rating represents the amount of air a window allows through, and in Sacramento it is best to select a window with an Air Leakage rating of no more than 0.30.
When in doubt, it is always best to purchase the window with the highest energy efficiency ratings. Not only will the choice lower your footprint and increase the sustainability of your home, buying ENERGY STAR® compliant windows can save Sacramento homeowners an average of $126 on yearly utility costs.