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Fargo, ND Window Replacement Guide
Imagine yourself cozying up in front of your large bay window to watch the falling snow. If that window is old and drafty, though, your toes are going to be frozen before you even get comfortable! Since some windows can last up to 40 years, it is likely that that draft has been getting stronger each year without you even realizing it. However, once you do, all you can probably think about is the strain that is being placed on your heating and cooling system–not to mention your wallet. By replacing your home’s windows you can starting saving money and improving your comfort level in no time.
Although most homeowners are novices at this type of renovation, they can garner the knowledge they need in order to make a sound investment with a bit of research and some well thought out decision making. This Fargo Window Replacement Guide will help get your started down that path by informing you about when a replacement is necessary, what materials will best be suited for the North Dakota climate, and what municipal regulations there are in order to renovate your home legally.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Fargo Home
Windows take a lot of abuse from the elements over the years, and this can take its toll on a window’s structural integrity. Rotting sections of wooden frames or warped vinyl windows pose serious issues to your home and your family’s wellbeing when not dealt with properly. If your windows are unable to open or close easily–or at all–then you will definitely want to have them replaced in order to allow your family an easy escape route should an emergency occur. Most rotting windows, though, can be given a little more life by making repairs where necessary. However, if your windows have begun to allow moisture into the exterior walls of your home, it is better to fully replace them and have your contractor check for signs of structural decay and mold within the surrounding walls.
A survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 47 percent of participants who chose to replace their windows did so in order to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Especially if you have single-pane windows throughout your house, you can improve your window’s performance by installing insulation sheeting, window coverings, or storm windows, though these tend to be a more temporary solution. However, when you opt for a full window replacement, you can expect to see upwards of a 15 percent decrease on your utility bills, which translates into hundreds of dollars saved in the first year alone. Considering NAR, also, found that homeowners were able to recoup upwards of 80 percent of their renovation budget in increased property values, it’s easy to see why a full window replacement is usually worth the expense.
Window Materials Matter in Fargo
In order to determine which windows will work best for your home and your budget, you will need to decide on what material(s) the frames will be constructed with and the level of energy efficiency you desire.
As technology has improved, so have building materials, which gives you seemingly endless options from which to choose. However, the three most popular materials are still aluminum, vinyl, and wood. Since Fargo’s temperatures regularly sit below zero in the winter, you will want to opt for a non-metal material, ruling out aluminum. When deciding between wood and vinyl, there are some important facts to keep in mind. In general, the lifespan for solid hardwood frames is going to potentially double that of vinyl. Plus, with wood, you aren’t locked into a particular color scheme like you are with vinyl. On the other hand, vinyl is substantially less expensive and technology has improved their durability significantly. Since the color is uniform throughout the vinyl, you never have to worry about chips or repair work either. Whether you choose the more traditional look of wood or the more budget-friendly vinyl, you should definitely decide to upgrade to a thermally-improved or insulated window since it will greatly enhance your window’s energy efficiency.
The glass itself has a lot to do with just how efficient a window will be. The two main indicators that predict how well a window will perform are the U-value and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The U-value evaluates how well a window is able to insulate your home’s interior temperature by measuring the rate at which heat escapes. The lower the U-value, the better the insulation. As for the SHGC, it assesses how well the windows can block solar radiation from entering your home. A third aspect to consider is the inclusion of a low emissivity (low E) coating which helps further block radiant solar heat, helping to keep your home far more comfortable. With Fargo’s cold winters, you will definitely want to choose at least double-paned, preferably triple-paned glass that has been filled with an insulating gas. These windows should, also, come with a U-value of less than or equal to 0.22, a SHGC of less than or equal to 0.25, and has a low-solar-gain low E coating. Any window that meets these standards will have a special designation from Energy Star and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
Building Permits, Inspections, and Fees for Fargo Residents
The City of Fargo requires that no renovation work begin before a building permit has been granted. Most contractors will take care of this step in the process, but if you would rather handle it yourself, you are certainly welcome to. An application is available online at the City of Fargo’s homepage and can be filed at 200 3rd Street North, Fargo, ND 58102. So long as you do not plan to structurally change the exterior of your home, you will not need to submit plans for review.
A fee will, also, be determined when you apply for your permit based upon the proposed cost of the renovation. For any project that is over $1,000 but less than $100,000, a fee of $35 will be incurred for the first $1,000, plus $4.80 for each additional $1,000 or fraction thereof. For example, if your renovation is expected to cost $20,000, your fee will be $126.20.
An inspection will need to be scheduled with a city official once all work has been completed to ensure that everything has been done to code. You can schedule this appointment by contacting the City of Fargo Inspections Department at (701) 241-1561. Any other questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.