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Columbus, OH Window Replacement Guide
Everyone realizes that renovations and general maintenance are just part of homeownership. However, deciding to replace your windows is a substantially more involved process than simply changing a paint color. Add in that most windows last between 10 and 40 years, and it is likely that a homeowner has gone through the process only once, at best. This lack of experience coupled with the fact that you can expect to pay $300 to $700 per window can make a homeowner overwhelmed even before he or she begins.
Replacing your windows can be well worth the time and money in increasing your property value and decreasing your monthly utility bills. Due to the amount of inclimate weather that Columbus has, your windows need to be able to withstand blizzards as well as intense summer sun, all while being as energy efficient as possible. To ensure that the job is done properly, the City of Columbus has strict building permit and inspection guidelines that must be followed.
This Columbus Window Replacement Guide will walk you through the steps necessary to determine when a replacement is needed, which window materials and design are best for the Ohio climate, and the municipal requirements to ensure that the job is done to code.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Columbus Home
If your home is more than 30 years old, chances are it is time for an upgrade. However, age alone is not the sole indicator for knowing when your windows need to go. If they have begun to rot or leak, then you run the risk of more extensive structural damage to your home by not replacing them. Also, if your windows are difficult to open and close or do not open at all due to warping, then you have a serious safety hazard on your hands. Considering Columbus gets 35 inches of rain and 25 inches of snow on average annually, it is easy to see how this type of damage can occur.
All of the snow and months of cold temperatures drive utility bills up by hundreds of dollars in Columbus homes that have single-pane windows. In this instance, it would be incumbent on you and your monthly budget to install a more energy efficient option.
Window Materials Matter in Columbus
When considering which type of window you would like in your home, you will need to decide on what material the window framing is made from, single versus double-paned windows, and any sort of specialized energy efficiency coating.
Your three main window frame material options are wood, aluminum, and vinyl. In Columbus, it is best to avoid aluminum windows since they transfer thermal energy, which narrows down the field to wood or vinyl. Usually solid wood frame windows are the most expensive, but they are also incredibly durable and have the potential to outlast their vinyl counterpart. Plus, they are frequently now covered in vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass to provide the wood with extra protection from the elements and remove your need of ever having to repaint. On the other hand, vinyl is usually the least expensive window option and holds the same no-repaint perk. However, vinyl windows tend to have fewer color options and certainly cannot be stained.
Energy Efficient Windows for Your Columbus Home
Though most energy efficient windows will cost you more at the outset, they will definitely start saving you money from the very first day they are installed. For a typical home, when you choose to replace your single-pane windows with Energy Star options, you can expect to see a savings of $126 to $465 a year.
These windows will have both a low U-value and a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The U-value measures the rate at which a window is able to conduct heat flow from the exterior of your home to the interior and vice versa. SHGC is similar in its description except that it examines solar radiation instead. In Columbus, you should choose a window with both of these values being 0.3 or lower. Virtually, all of these will be gas-filled, double-paned windows with a low E-coating.
Windows Permits, Inspections, and Fees in Columbus
The City of Columbus requires that you obtain a building permit before beginning your renovation. Though most permits require submission of building plans, standard window replacement in a single family home is exempt from this step. Depending on the breadth of the work to be completed, you may need to provide a certified address, certificate of appropriateness, site plans, building construction drawings, energy-conservation analysis, and a building permit. Permits will be issued to either a licensed contractor who is registered to work with the City of Columbus or to the property owner so long as they plan to do the work themselves without a contractor.
Within the city are designated historic districts. To find out if your home lies within one of these zones, consult this map. If it is determined that you do live within a historic district, you can expect the proposed design to need to be reviewed and a Certificate of Appropriateness to be issued before a building permit will be granted.
An application processing fee is assessed at the time you submit your application. For standard window renovations, the fee is $75 and this includes one inspection and can be combined with your roofing and/or siding application if you are doing those renovations as well. If your window replacement project does require plan reviews, an additional $125 per hour will be charged.
Once your renovation project has been completed, a city official will need to come inspect the work that has been done. You are able to schedule the appointment by phone at 614-645-8235, by fax at 614-645-2433, or online here. Any requests for inspection that are made prior to 4PM will be scheduled for the next business day.
The City of Columbus has an incredibly helpful and user-friendly website for any further information you might need. You can find the Building and Zoning Office are 757 Carolyn Avenue, Columbus, OH 43224, and they are open Monday through Friday from 9 to 4.