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Buying Windows in Seattle, Washington
When you own a home, regular upkeep and preventative maintenance becomes a routine part of your everyday life. If you truly want to maintain the value of your home and increase it’s energy efficiency, regular home improvements must be made.
One project most homeowners only face a few times during their life is the replacement of the windows in their home. Typically, high quality windows can be expected to last for 15 years or more. Windows that need to be replaced will start to exhibit certain clues, including becoming difficult to open and close or allowing air to leak in or out of your home.
If it is time to replace your windows, your purchases should be made with your location in mind. In order for windows to protect your home from changing weather, they need to have been designed with your city’s unique climate in mind. Additionally, the city of Seattle has a set of building codes in place that may require you to obtain a residential building permit before starting your project.
In this Seattle, Washington window buying guide, you will find the information you need to move forward with installing replacement windows in your home.
Finding the Right Windows for the Climate in Seattle
The climate in Seattle is fairly mild, with warm and dry summers and cool, wet winters. During July, the warmest month of the year, the average high temperature is 75 degrees, 10 degrees below the national average high for the same month. In January, the coldest month of the year, the average low is 36.7, which is 16 degrees above the national average low for the same month. Even though Seattle is known for being a rainy city, your city actually only receives an average of 36.5 inches of rain.
According to guidelines put in place by ENERGY STAR®, Seattle is located in the Northern Climate Zone. This area of the country is known for relying heavily on their heating systems but rarely or never using their cooling system. ENERGY STAR® has created a set of guidelines that can be used to guide your search for the appropriate windows for your climate zone.
Homeowners in this region are advised to concern themselves primarily with the U-Factor rating of the windows they are considering buying. This rating indicates how much heat can leave your home through the window. Since the climate in Seattle is cool more than it is hot, ENERGY STAR® recommends a low U-Factor Rating, advising homeowners to avoid windows with a U-Factor rating of more than 0.27.
In addition to ENERGY STAR® compliance, it is also helpful to take a close look at the materials used to build the windows. Although wood is one of the most insulative materials out there, many find it is hard to maintain in wet climates. Not only are vinyl and fiberglass frames highly insulative, they are also very weather resistant and durable. These frames make an excellent choice for those who would prefer their windows to require very little maintenance and upkeep.
Complying with Seattle Window Replacement Requirements
In Seattle, you are generally not required to obtain a permit for a window replacement. If you find that your window installation will require you to make changes to the existing frame of your home, you will need to move forward with a permit application. A permit application can be completed online and all required forms can be submitted through the Seattle DCI Project Portal. If you have additional questions about applying for a permit, you can call the Department of Construction and Inspections at (206) 684-8850. You may also apply for a permit in person at the department’s office at 700 5th Avenue, 20th Floor, Seattle, Washington 98104. The office is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 08:00 am and 04:00 pm and Tuesday and Thursday between 10:30 am and 04:00 pm.
In Washington, all contractors are required to register with the Department of Labor & Industries. By doing so, the state can ensure that practicing contractors have the appropriate insurance, licensure, and training necessary to work in their speciality. Before hiring a contractor, always make sure they are registered with the Department of Labor & Industries and carrying both workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.
When you make the effort to find the right windows for your climate, and ensure you are in full compliance with all city regulations, you can rest assured knowing you have chosen the right windows for your home. This will not only save you between $57 and $460 on heating and cooling costs each year, it will also reduce your household’s footprint by lowering your consumption of the non-renewable energy that is used to heat and cool your home.