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Manchester Window Replacement Guide
Although Forbes thinks Manchester is one of the most livable cities in the country, that’s only true if your home’s windows keep you warm all winter long. Yet, replacing all the windows in your home is a steep undertaking considering that the average window costs between $300 and $700. When you add in labor and materials, you can expect to spend between $10,000 and $20,000 depending upon the quantity and style of your windows! So why do so many homeowners eagerly jump at the opportunity to take on a project this large? The National Association of Realtors have found that most do so in order to increase their home’s energy efficiency, and subsequently, greatly increase their comfort level whenever they’re at home.
If you’re ready to take on your own renovation, this Manchester Window Replacement Guide will help you understand when a replacement is truly needed, what materials are best suited for the New England climate, and what municipal regulations are in place to ensure the job is performed professionally and safely.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Manchester Home
With the humid winds off the Merrimack River blowing in almost 40 inches of rain and 61 inches of snow every year, it’s easy to see how a window’s framing can become damaged over the years. Between rot, general degradation, warping, and leakages, homeowners have their hands full. If you have begun to notice issues such as these, it is better to address them immediately, so as to prevent the damage from extending further into your home. Windows that have smaller sections of rot can be patched with epoxy in order to extend the life of these windows. Similarly, the addition of wood filler can help seal open cracks. However, if your windows have warped significantly over time causing large openings to form and no longer allow the window to function properly, there is little repair work that can be done, and it is time for a full replacement. Be sure to have your contractor check the structural integrity of the exterior walls around the window openings to ensure that damage has not occurred there.
Energy efficiency is an incredibly important component to consider when deciding whether or not to replace a window. Energy Star has found that homeowners who replace their single-pane windows with Energy Star approved alternatives see their utility bills fall by an average of 12 percent, resulting in hundreds of dollars saved for a homeowner in a year. When you combine that with the fact that many homeowners recoup upwards of 80 of their renovation budget in increased property value and any state or federal incentives that your renovation may qualify for, it makes the expense of fully replacing your windows far more affordable.
Window Materials Matter in Manchester
What once was an industry dominated by only a couple of choices has morphed into one flooded with endless options that most of us need a little help in deciphering. Energy Star and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) have established specific descriptors that allow for anyone to know exactly how a window will function under specific conditions. U-values establish how well a window is able to restrict the transference of a home’s internal air temperatures through the fenestration, with lower values showing better insulation performance. Whereas U-values judge transmission from the inside out, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) works from the outside in, measuring how well a window is able to block solar heat from ever entering a home. Unlike U-values, there is no magic number with SHGC, and instead, you need to look at your particular needs based on your city’s climate to find what numeration range is best suited for your home. Windows that have U-values and SHGC values that fit within the IECC and Energy Star parameters, typically, have a low-, medium-, or high-solar-gain low emissivity (low E) coating on them to help shield out additional solar radiation. With all this in mind, the average Manchester home would do well to have U-values of 0.22 or less, a SHGC of 0.4 or less, and either a low- or medium-solar-gain low E coating. To find out which window provides your home with the best energy efficiency and comfort, talk to a professional who can evaluate your home’s orientation and shading level.
Framing materials are just as important in insulating your home from the elements, with the three common materials being wood, vinyl, and aluminum. In general, aluminum would be a disastrous decision given Manchester’s freezing winters because metal frames can cause moisture to condense within the surface of the window frame, resulting in extensive, irreparable damage. So long as you opt for the thermally improved or insulated upgrade, either wood or vinyl will hold you in good stead for years to come, and the final decision will come down to personal preference. Vinyl is incredibly affordable and maintenance-free, but is still prone to structural duress when exposed to direct sunlight and extreme heat. Wood, on the other hand, is a classic beauty that you can alter throughout the life of the window, but does come with a hefty price tag.
Manchester Window Permits, Inspections, and Fees
Either the homeowner or the contractor must obtain a building permit before any work can legally begin on the property. Although most contractors are willing to fulfill this requirement, if you prefer to do so yourself, you will need to complete an application at the City of Manchester Building Department, located at 1 City Hall Plaza, West Wing, Manchester, NH 03101. If you would rather an application be mailed to you beforehand, contact the Planning and Community Development Department at (603) 624-6450 or email PCD@ManchesterNH.gov. A fee will be due at the time the application is filed. You can expect the fee to be 1 percent of the estimated cost of your renovation, but no less than $30. For example, if your renovation is projected to be $15,000, your building permit fee will be $150. Usually only the completed application and fee will be all that is required for a permit to be issued that same day.
An inspection must be scheduled with a city official once all work has been completed. Scheduling requests must be made between 8:00 and 9:00 for south and east locations and 1:00 to 2:00 for north and west locations on the same day that you hope to have to official arrive. These requests need to be made directly with the inspector, rather than by leaving a voicemail. To schedule your inspection, contact (603) 624-6450, extension 6732.