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Buying Windows in Syracuse, New York
If you are a homeowner living in Syracuse, New York you can take comfort in knowing the windows in your home should remain efficient and fully functional for up to 15 years, and possibly more, after being installed in your home. This means, the costly home improvement of installing new windows is only necessary every ten to fifteen years or if your windows are beginning to show warnings signs that their performance is beginning to decline. The most common indications a window needs replaced are finding moisture trapped between your window panes, struggling to open and close the window, or experiencing drafts or air leaks.
Outside of these warning signs, the benefits of early replacements don’t outweigh the costs. While new windows do provide savings on utility costs, if the windows are fully functional and less than ten years old, the energy savings provided are minimal, taking years to to provide savings equivalent to the initial expense of buying and installing the new windows.
If your windows are older than 15 years old, or if they are showing signs of wear and tear, it is time to begin planning for window replacements. As a homeowner living in Syracuse, New York, you can expect that your experience purchasing windows and hiring a contractor will be unique when compared to the experience of those in other areas of the country. This is because the climate in your region, as well as city permit requirements, should be carefully considered before making any changes to the windows in your home. In this window buying guide, we will provide the information you need to make smart decisions about replacing your windows in Syracuse, New York.
Prepare for Syracuse’s Cold Winters and Heavy Snowfall
Whether you are living in sunny California, or cold and snowy New York, the climate in your region should influence the window replacements you select for your home. In Syracuse, we know you experience mild summers when the average high is 82 degrees in the hottest month of the year and cold and snowy winters when the average low is 17 degrees during January, the coldest month of the year. Syracuse in also among the snowiest cities in North America, receiving an average annual snowfall of 124 inches, markedly higher than the national average snowfall of 22.4 inches. Additionally, each year Syracuse experiences an average of 41.54 inches of rain each year.
Why is this information so important? Understanding the climate where you live is an easy starting point for finding the most energy efficient windows for your home. To make your buying process simple, ENERGY STAR® has created a ratings system for windows included on the National Fenestration Ratings Council labels placed on new windows.
According to ENERGY STAR®, Syracuse is located in the Northern Climate Zone, a region characterized by a heavy reliance on home heating systems during winter months and minimal use of air conditioning systems during summer months.
When living in the Northern Climate Zone, there are two ratings on the NFRC label that should most heavily influence your window buying decisions. The first, the U-Factor rating, is a measure of the amount of heat that can be gained or lost through a specific window. Window replacement in Syracuse should have a U-Factor rating 0.27 or less to meet ENERGY STAR® requirements. The second rating, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, represents the amount of solar radiation passively heating the home when it passes through the window. Because Syracuse has a very cold climate, ENERGY STAR® indicates that any SHGC rating is appropriate.
The guidelines listed above are a helpful start to your window buying process, but it’s also important to consider the type of materials used to build your windows and how they will perform in a cold and snowy climate. Wood is considered to be the most energy efficient window frame, but it is also an expensive option. Second best to wood is fiberglass or vinyl, both options have exceptional insulation and a more budget-friendly price point. Additionally, two layers of glass with inert gas filling and Low-e coatings will provide the most energy savings to homes in this region.
Lastly, for areas of the country that experience a large amount of snow, Ready.gov, a weather preparedness website, advises homeowners to install storm windows to provide added protection from winter weather.
Complying with Syracuse’s Window Permit Requirements
As a homeowner living in Syracuse, your city has unique permit requirements set by the Code Enforcement Department of the city government. If the windows being installed are identical in size to the windows being replaced, the city does not require you or your contractor to obtain a permit. However, if changes are being made to the surrounding wall, you, or the contractor you have hired, will need to apply for a permit before beginning construction on your home.
Permit applications can be picked up and submitted at the Central Permit Office in room 101 of Syracuse City Hall Commons located at 201 East Washington Street, Syracuse, NY 13202. The office is open Monday thru Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and any questions can be answered by calling the office at (315)448-8600 or visiting the website here.
If you are planning to hire a contractor to replace your windows, keep in mind the City requires any contractor making major home improvements to have a general contractor’s license obtained through the state of New York. If the contractor you hire also has employees, check to be sure they are carrying worker’s compensation insurance that will cover the cost of medical expenses or missed wages if someone is hurt while working on your home.
When you choose to invest in energy efficient windows suited for the climate in Syracuse, you can expect to save between $91 and $424 on heating and cooling costs each year. Additionally, by improving the energy efficiency of your home, you will be lowering your consumption of energy produced from nonrenewable energy sources, taking a step towards a more environmentally friendly way of life.