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Window Replacement in Schenectady, New York
Excited about getting new windows, Schenectadians? You have every reason to be–this upgrade could save you money on your heating and cooling costs and qualify you for some state and federal incentives as well. But first, you’ll want to prepare yourself for what comes next. Window replacements can be complicated projects that may require special permits to complete. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure your windows are properly inspected and abide by energy codes in the area. This guide will walk you through the basics of using contractors, applying for permits and inspections, and provide those much needed details for energy efficiency rebates.
Schenectady Window Contractor Requirements
You are not necessarily required to work with a contractor for repairs made in Schenectady. You may do the work yourself by signing a homeowner waiver when you apply for a permit. If you decide to install your windows on your own, however, you should be aware that you could be held liable for any damage that occurs during the repair. Additionally, you’ll have to certify that you have proper homeowner’s insurance before you begin the job. For this reason, we recommend locating a licensed contractor in your area who can do the work for you. Unless you have experience with skilled labor, it can potentially be dangerous and costly to perform repairs by yourself.
Applying for Window Permits in Schedectady
Almost any kind of repair work you carry out on your Schenectady home requires a permit, and window replacement is no exception. However, if you are making a direct replacement, it’s possible that you could be exempt from filing for a full building permit. To file an exemption, you’ll need to complete the city’s Certificate of Ordinary Repair form. A Building Inspector will make the final call on whether or not a full permit is required. No matter how big a job, however, you’ll want to visit the Bureau of Code Enforcement office to get paperwork and approval for your replacement. The office is located in City Hall at 105 Jay St., Room 17 Schenectady, NY 12305.
If the Building Inspector determines that you do need to apply for a building permit, you’ll also have to have some information together in order to complete your application. This includes a document detailing the scope of the work, including dimensions and materials used, as well as the total cost. And if you’ll be working with a contractor, he or she will have to submit their insurance information as well. If you’ll be doing the work yourself, you’ll have to sign a waiver stating as much. Because of this, it is good to have your contractor lined up and your window model picked out before you go in to file the permits.
Schedectady’ Window Replacement Requirements
Any new windows that get installed in New York have to conform to the state’s energy code requirements. Because inefficient windows commonly cause heating and cooling use to rise, the state has adopted policies dictating which products can be used on its homes. The code rates windows using an industry measurement called U-factor. A window’s U-factor tells how much heat flow a window allows through its glass and frame–essentially, how well the window works to insulate your home. The lower the U-factor rating, the better the window is at preventing heat loss.
In New York, windows must have a U-factor no greater than 0.35. However, better insulation translates to more energy savings, and so we recommend going with a slightly lower U-factor, if possible. One easy way to check if a window is rated for efficiency in your area is to look for the ENERGY STAR certification on the window’s label. ENERGY STAR is a program run by the EPA that evaluates home products and determines whether or not they are energy-efficient.
Window Inspections in Schenectady
Whether you’ve applied for a building permit or a Certificate of Ordinary Repair, you’ll need to have that document displayed outside while the work is being carried out–that way, the Building Inspector will know that it’s being done above board. If you were asked to file for a full permit, you’ll likely need to have an inspection performed as well. You can schedule one by visiting the Bureau of Code Enforcement office in City Hall.
Insulation and Window Care in Schenectady
Energy efficiency means nothing if your windows are not properly sealed. Especially in areas with tough winters, like in New York, insulation makes a huge difference in your heating costs and energy use. Part of the installation process for new windows should be applying caulking to all stationary joints to keep air from leaking in or out. Additionally, weatherstripping should be added to any moving parts to keep out drafts.
After you’ve spent several hundred dollars installing and insulating your windows, you want to get as much life out of them as you can. Washing them thoroughly and often will help, but you should only use soap and water, never harsh cleaners, and wash them only on cooler days. Energy efficient windows, in particular, can be damaged by chemicals, and should not be cleaned when the sun is bright.
Rebates and Incentives for Window Replacement in Schenectady
Although the city of Schenectady does not offer any of its own rebate programs, New York State’s Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSDERA, has several loans for which Schenectady residents may be eligible. They are:
- Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program: Approves homeowners for low interest loans and material discounts for up to 10 percent of the total cost. An official energy audit is required in order to apply. You can find out more information here.
- Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program: This program is similar to the regular Home Performance program, but offered only to low-income households. It also offers low interest loans and a potential 50 percent materials discount. Its program details are here.
ENERGY STAR labeled windows won’t just net you savings with the State of New York. Using these products in your home also qualifies you for a national rebate program–up to 10 percent of cost of energy efficient windows, with a maximum rebate of $200. To apply, just submit form 5695 when you do your taxes.