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Buying Windows in Columbia, South Carolina
Homeownership is a big accomplishment for many, and regular maintenance is one way you can continue to invest in your home. Every year, you can expect to be faced with tasks, both big and small, that must be accomplished in order to maintain the value of your home. While most windows are meant to last for 15 years or more, replacing the windows in your home is likely to be one of the tasks you can expect to undertake at some point during your journey as a homeowner.
Windows that no longer open and close easily, are causing drafts in your home, or are older than 15 years old may need to be replaced. Poorly performing windows cost you money in the long run, lowering the overall energy efficiency of your home and raising your heating and cooling expenses as a result.
As you begin your search for window replacements, it is helpful to understand the climate where you live and any requirements the city of Columbia may have for major home improvement projects. Whether you need help applying for a building permit, hiring a contractor, or hunting down the perfect window for your location, this Columbia Window Buying Guide contains the most important information you need to guide your search.
Finding Windows for the Climate in Columbia
In order for a window to be energy efficient, it must be designed with your local weather in mind. In Columbia, the summers are hot and moderately humid, with the average high reaching 92 degrees in July, the hottest month of the year. The winters are short and mild, and the average low is 37.1 during January, the coldest month of the year.
In Columbia, you also receive an estimated 45.1 inches of rain each year, which is significantly more than the national average of 36.5 inches. When it comes to snow, you can expect to see little to no snow since Columbia only receives an average of 1 inch of snow each year.
When you are installing replacement windows in your home in Columbia, you should be primarily concerned with preparing for the the warm summer temperatures and choosing windows that can withstand heavy rainfall. ENERGY STAR® has done the hard work for you by placing National Fenestration Ratings Council labels on new windows, indicating just how energy efficient the window truly is.
Columbia homeowners should concern themselves with the U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient ratings found on the NFRC label. The U-Factor rating indicates how much heat can be lost through the window and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating indicates how much solar radiation can pass through the window and heat the home. According to ENERGY STAR® criteria, Columbia is located in the South-Central Climate Zone and windows used in this region should have a U-factor rating of 0.30 or less and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient of 0.25 or less.
In addition to ENERGY STAR® guidelines, it is also helpful to understand how different building materials perform in different climates. Both wood and vinyl window frames are considered to offer the most insulation to a home. Wood, although very efficient, is more expensive than vinyl and requires a lot of regular upkeep for a long life. Additionally, wood has been known to have difficulty with excess moisture, while vinyl is more durable and weather resistant. Multi-pane windows with inert gas filling and low-e glazing are also an essential part of windows that are energy efficient in hot climates.
Complying with Columbia Window Replacement Requirements
In Columbia, the city requires homeowners to apply for a standard renovation permit before making major changes to their home, including window replacements. If you are not making any changes to the surrounding walls, the permit process is simple and does not require you to submit detailed plans. A permit application can be found online on the Development & Inspections Department website. The government in each city is responsible for outlining building codes that regulate both new building and home improvement projects. Your completed application can be submitted in person at 1136 Washington Street, Columbia, SC 29201, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you have specific questions about the permit application process, you can contact the office at (803) 545-3483.
When hiring a contractor, it is best to be sure they have received the appropriate licensure through the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Registration. The state does not require all contractors to carry a license, but if they will be making any adjustments to the surrounding walls, they are required to have a building license. Contractors working on your home should also carry both workers’ compensation and general liability insurance, as this will protect you from any potential expenses that could occur if someone is injured or your property is damaged while the contractor is working on your home.
With the help of this Columbia Window Buying Guide, you can easily locate windows that are durable enough to withstand the changing weather in your region and efficient enough to save you between $59 and $446 on heating and cooling expenses each year.