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What is the difference between a fixed and picture window?

You have several options when searching for the right replacement windows for your home. Among the available types of replacement windows are fixed and picture windows, which look similar but have many differences. As a homeowner, knowing the difference between a fixed and picture window will enable you to choose the perfect replacement windows for your home. 

To help you choose the right window, here are the significant differences you need to know.

Design

One of the significant differences between a fixed and picture window is design. When you look at both types of windows, you can mistake one for the other; but they have subtle differences. 

Fixed windows can neither be opened nor closed. They are static and let maximum natural light into the house. Picture windows are a type of fixed windows, but they usually have larger frames than fixed windows.

Placement

Fixed windows can be installed in any part of your home but are mainly found in bathrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, family rooms, and basements. Picture windows on the other hand are best suited for areas where you want to enjoy the view of the outdoors, like the view of your backyard. You will enjoy amazing outdoor views and natural light with either window style. It should be noted that these windows cannot be cleaned from the inside. This may affect where you would like to install them in your home.

Functions

Both fixed and picture windows are great for unobstructed views and allowing a lot of natural light into your home. Picture windows do have an added function of matching the sitelines of other functioning windows in the same room offering a more contemporary, aesthetically pleasing look. 

Maintenance

Fixed windows are much cheaper to maintain than picture windows. Also, when you need replacement windows, fixed windows are more affordable than picture windows. But if you want a more expensive view, picture windows are the perfect choice for you.

Combine with Other Window Types For Ventilation

Since neither fixed or picture windows open or close, they do not offer any ventilation. However, picture windows can be installed with operable flanking windows, such as casement windows for added ventilation. Not only does this allow for airflow, you are still able to keep your unobstructed views and allow for plenty of natural light.

When considering the perfect replacement windows for your home, consider the differences discussed above before choosing either fixed windows or picture windows. One final advantage for both window styles is that they are both highly energy-efficient. 

A Guide to Window Efficiency Ratings

What is ENERGY STAR Certification and how are these ratings determined?

There are many things to consider when completing a renovation or upgrade as a homeowner, energy efficiency should be one of the top considerations. There are many benefits of utilizing energy-efficient replacement materials, such as replacement windows and replacement doors but the financial benefits are usually what stands out the most. Saving energy, means saving money on energy bills. 

If you are considering a window replacement project for your home, below we share a window efficiency ratings outline.

How is Window Efficiency Measured?

In agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has come to promote the use of ENERGY STAR Certification. This partnership with the Government of Canada ensures there are high-efficiency products available on the market, and that they are easily identified. To be granted certification, new products must be approved by third-party labs, which assess their performance.

Windows, doors, and even skylights are tested by accredited laboratories against industry standards, and the results are then verified further by a third party. Each product prototype is put through rigorous testing and simulations to test for qualities such as temperature resistance, insulation, air and water tightness, noise reduction, and more. To receive certification, these products must be tested by one of the following accredited laboratories:

  • CSA International (CSA)
  • Intertek Testing Services (ITS)
  • Labtest Certifications
  • Quality Auditing Institute Ltd. (QAI)
  • The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)
  • Keystone Certifications, Inc.

ENERGY STAR Certification

To qualify for certification, windows, doors, and skylight products must meet many different criteria. A select few meet the criteria, setting a high standard of efficiency among the market. In fact, only a very small number of products exceed this benchmark, which are then awarded the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient classification, the highest possible energy efficiency rating. In Canada, energy efficiency is determined by assessing the following metrics:

U-Factor

Also known as the U-Value, this measures the amount of heat that is transferred from a warm side of a window or door to the cold side.  Products with a lower U-Value will transfer heat slower, making them more efficient and lead to additional cost-savings. Less heat will be lost during colder months and less heat will enter the home during warmer months. It’s important to remember there are two different scales of measurement used; metric and imperial, which are expressed differently. 

Like other forms of measurement, U-Factor measured in imperial and metric systems have different values. The metric U-factor, which is internationally used, is expressed as W/m²K. The metric system will have a larger value than imperial, so it’s particularly important to be aware of which form of measurement is being used when comparing products and standards.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

This metric is used to determine how much solar heat is transmitted through a window into a home. Measured on a scale of 0 to 1, a lower rating indicates that a lower amount of solar heat is transmitted. The benefits of this rating can be viewed either way, however.

Different types of glass and coatings are used to help reduce the amount of solar heat gain, which is great in warmer climates. Reducing the amount of heat conducted from solar energy can lower homeowners cooling costs tremendously. In turn, homes located in areas with cooler climates may value a higher SHGC rating, as more solar heat can help reduce heating costs.

Air Leakage

This rating is significant when selecting an energy-efficient window or door. Measured by the CSA 440 standard, products can be rated A1, least airtight, to A3 most airtight. The less airtight a window or door is, the more energy is lost to the outdoors. Whether you’re heating or cooling, air leakage reduces energy efficiency and can result in higher expenses. It’s best to choose a product with a higher air leakage rating.

Energy Rating (ER)

Taking other metrics into account, the energy rating provides a more accurate way of comparing the energy efficiency of different products. Considering a product’s U-Factor, SHFC, and air leakage, the Canadian Energy Rating offers a more thorough measurement for comparison. An ER rating is illustrated with a numerical value, which at one time was a range. 

Before 2020, different zones were designated across the country, which had varying minimum energy ratings depending on specific standards. Changes have since been made to this ENERGY STAR metric, however. Now, there is a minimum standard rating of ER 40 (metric) across Canada for ENERGY STAR Certified windows and doors.

R-Value

Although this metric is not tested against performance standards, it is often referred to in the industry by contractors. R-value is similar to U-Value, as it reflects the same process – the amount of heat transmitted through a window. However, R-Value represents the windows’ ability to retain heat, rather than the amount of heat lost. An energy-efficient window or door should have a higher R-Value, but a lower U-Value.

Visible Transmittance (VT)

This metric is indicated by a percentage and refers to the amount of light that can pass through a window. A lower value means the window allows less natural light to shine through, which is a result of the material used. As mentioned previously, coatings can be used on glass to reduce the solar heat gain of a product, which can also result in less light transmittance. 

What Are The Benefits of Energy-Efficient Windows?

  • Save money!

Choosing ENERGY STAR-certified windows, doors, and skylights helps to reduce your home’s energy consumption in several ways which leads to reduced heating and cooling costs.

  • Stay comfortable

By installing high-rated products, overheated rooms and cold drafts can be avoided, limiting the amount of energy required to make your living spaces comfortable. Having a consistently comfortable home throughout is just another major benefit of energy-efficient replacement windows and doors. 

  • Peace of mind

Investing in windows, doors, and skylights is an important and at times costly decision. You can enjoy peace of mind when your replacement windows and doors are qualified to perform as anticipated with ENERGY STAR Certification.

Most Current Updates

Before diving into a new window replacement project, it’s important to be aware of the current ENERGY STAR ratings. For instance, there were major changes to the Energy Rating metric, which at one time varied depending on specific climate zones.

What Are ENERGY STAR Climate Zones?

Canada is the second-largest country in the world and embraces a wide range of climates. Previously, there were different zones allocated across the country, each with its own minimum Energy Rating and/or U-Factor requirements. Up until 2015, there were four Climate Zones – A, B, C and D, from warmest to coldest. This system became confusing to homeowners who would mistakenly purchase products that were not sufficiently rated for their climate zone.

This standard has since been updated with one benchmark across all of Canada, making the process much easier for consumers. As of January 2020, any window, door, or skylight product must have a minimum Energy Rating (ER) of 40 or U-Factor of less than 1.05 W/m2·K to be ENERGY STAR Certified. Rated against the coldest climates in the country, consumers can rest assured that any certified product they choose will be energy-efficient and keep them warm! 

What is the importance of window glazing?

The term window glazing is actually referring to the window glass itself. If you are in the market for replacement windows you may have heard someone mention double glazed or triple glazed windows, they are referring to windows with two panes or three panes of glass. There are many options you will need to consider when deciding what type of replacement windows you would like for your home, style, frame material and glazing are just a few.

Why is your window glazing important?

Safety and Security

Your replacement windows should be strong and help protect your home. Double glazed and triple glazed windows are harder to break than single glazed windows helping make your home more secure and providing you with the peace of mind that intruders will be held at bay.

Noise Reduction 

A multi-glazed window will help reduce the amount of noise that enters your home from the outside. A triple glazed window will offer more noise reduction than a double glazed window, and a quadruple glazed window will offer the best noise reduction allowing you to enjoy your home in peace and quiet. 

Better Energy Efficiency

Older, drafty windows cause spikes in your energy consumption, as your HVAC system needs to work harder to keep a consistent temperature in your home. A major benefit of replacement windows is that they will help increase your energy efficiency, and one of the ways they achieve this is with multiple window glazing. Glazing can increase energy efficiency for your home, reducing your carbon footprint and your energy bills. 

Increased Property Value

Installing new windows in your home not only helps with aesthetics and comfort but also helps increases your property value as well. If your new replacement windows are triple glazed it can even help increase your value more, as triple-glazed windows provide additional benefits than single and double glazed windows.

Less Heat Loss/Gain

Windows with more panes or glazing will absorb less heat from the outside during the summer and lose less heat from the inside during the winter months. This reduction in heat loss and heat gain will help keep your home colder in the summer and warmer in the winter. Another benefit of additional glazing is that you can sit right next to your window in the winter and not feel the extreme cold temperatures from the outside.

If you are in the market for replacement windows don’t overlook the importance of glazing as triple-paned glass has many added benefits.

Top Questions You Need to Ask a Window Replacement Company

When you are looking for replacement windows, you will come across many different window replacement companies. Unfortunately, not every contractor is able to deliver top-quality replacement windows and installations that you need for your home or business. The best way to weed out contractors that may not meet your expectations is by asking some key questions.

Below we look to highlight some top questions you should ask potential window replacement companies before your sign.

Are you Insured?

Before hiring any window replacement contractor, you should ask about their insurance. During the window replacement, some challenges may arise. If the company does not have the proper insurance, you may need to face these challenges yourself. To avoid such an unwanted situation, you need to work with a window replacement company that has adequate insurance. Generally, their insurance should cover liability, property damage, and workers’ compensation.

How long have you been in business?

Experience is an essential factor that you must consider before choosing a window replacement company. You can better understand the experience of a contractor through the number of years they have been in business. A company with numerous years of experience will likely have encountered various situations or issues that may arise and have the know how to move past them correctly.

Can I get references or referrals from previous projects?

Regardless of the years of experience of a company, you should get references or referrals from their previous projects. Although you are able to review photos of their previous projects, getting references from recent customers is better. From the list of references, call three or more customers to confirm the quality of the services of the company.

Can I get an estimate? How do I pay?

Getting an estimate can give you a good idea of how much you have to spend on the project. Generally, the estimate should cover various aspects of the work such as labor, materials, cleanup, and so on. A trustworthy company will give you a written estimate with the breakdown of the expenses. 

In addition, you should ask about the payment methods as well as the payment schedule. What’s the percentage you must pay before the beginning of the project? Answers to these questions can help you budget and prepare for payments.

Do you handle the window replacement yourself?

Some companies are fond of outsourcing their projects to subcontractors. The subcontractors will get the replacement windows and install them. Although many subcontractors can handle the project expertly, they are not the individuals that you made you built report and signed an agreement.  

How much time will the window replacement require?

The time required for the project will depend on the size and type of window installation you require. The contractor should be able to provide you with a rough time frame required to complete the job. After getting the estimated timeframe for the project, you should prepare your household for the possible disruption in your daily routine throughout the period.

What type of warranty do you offer?

Understanding warranties are important for any home renovation project. With windows, you need to make sure the contractor offers both product and labour warranties. It is standard for the window manufacturer to offer a warranty on the construction of the windows, but if an issue arises due to the installation, the manufacturer will not cover the issue. This is where the warranty on labour comes in.

By getting answers to these questions, you should get a better understanding of the window replacement company you are engaging with, which should also help you make your decision on if this is the company you feel comfortable with partnering on your window replacement project with.

Should I Get Double Hung or Single Hung Windows?

When you are renovating or remodeling your home, replacement windows should be considered a must. New windows will provide your home with a revitalized appearance, will providing better energy efficiency and security for your home. When selecting the windows styles for your replacement, you do not need to choose the same style window that was previously installed. You can choose windows that meet your usage and design needs. Two popular choices, which we get a lot of questions about, is single hung windows and double-hung windows. Both window types are similar in design and function but have some important differences.

We will be highlighting the differences between Single-hung and  Double-hung windows below:

As mentioned above, both window styles are extremely similar, in fact, it is hard to notice any difference from a good distance away. However, there is one major difference between them. Both styles of windows consist of two sashes – an upper sash and a lower sash. However, in a single hung window, the upper sash is fixed, meaning it cannot be moved, the lower sash can move up and down for the standard operation. On a double-hung window, both the upper and lower sashes are capable of sliding up and down.

Single Hung Windows: Pros and Cons

Single-hung windows are commonly found in most older homes as they have been in use for decades. They are still utilized in some newer homes today. Due to the simpler design and manufacturing process, single hung windows are known to be cheaper than their double-hung counterparts. They also tend to be more weather resistant and energy-efficient due to fewer moving parts. With only one operational sash, ventilation is limited versus a double-hung window, and replacement of a damaged section may be more difficult as a large portion of the window is built as a single piece. Cleaning a single hung window will require more effort than a double-hung window, as you are not able to reach the exterior of the top sash from inside your home.

Double Hung Windows: Pros and Cons

With the ability to open both sashes, double-hung windows are exceptional when it comes to allowing air to enter your home. The natural cooling effect you can realize from this type of window can also increase your home’s comfort level on warmer days. The ability to open both sashes from the inside of your home, means no ladders are needed to clean the entire window, as you can complete the chore from the safety of your home. By opening just the top sash, you eliminate any potential accidents and increase the safety of your home, especially if there are children and pets in your home. Due to the design and more complex manufacturing and installation procedure of double-hung windows, they are more expensive to have installed than a single hung window. With more moving parts, the chances of something wearing out or breaking down is also higher than a single hung window, simply because there is more that can go wrong.

Which type should you buy?

There is no one answer to this question, both replacement windows styles offer a wide range of benefits that you can enjoy, but they also have their own drawbacks. Although most modern homes are fitted with double-hung windows, single hung windows are able to provide the same look at a fraction of the cost, but with more potential upkeep. 

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Windows?

After using windows for an extended period, a time will come for you to replace them with newer, safer, and more efficient models. But, how do you know it is time for replacement windows? Well, below we look to highlight some of the signs that indicate it is time to change your windows.

  • Your windows lack the latest safety features

As technology advances, the safety features of windows are also improving. However, if you are using windows that were installed over a decade ago, they will not be fitted with the latest safety features as most modern windows have. 

  • You want to renovate an old home

Perhaps you are looking to upgrade the look of your family home or you have a rental property that requires a makeover. No home renovation project is complete without updating the windows and doors. Your windows and doors directly influence your home’s aesthetics, both inside and out.

  • Your energy bills are high

When functioning optimally, your windows should keep your internal and external environment separate, without allowing for heat loss. Consequently, your reliance on your heating and cooling systems will not be that great. However, if your windows are draughty or faulty, they will allow for air to enter and escape your home leading you to rely heavily on your heating and cooling systems to maintain a comfortable internal home temperature. This, in turn, will increase your energy bills. If you begin to notice your energy bills creeping up unseasonably, it may be time you looked into replacement windows.

  • You have single pane Windows

Thirty-plus years ago, single-pane windows were still being utilized in homes. Since then window design has changed, at minimum double pane windows are utilized in residences, with triple-pane windows increasing in popularity. Double or triple-paned windows are significantly better at preventing heat from escaping your home during the winter months, and from heat entering in the summer months. 

  • Your windows are broken, damaged, or warped

Damaged, broken, and warped windows are security concerns for your home, as burglars can take advantage of the issue and easily enter your home. If you can see physical damages on your windows, so can someone that is looking for faults to take advantage of.

  • Your windows are difficult to operate

Windows are designed to be opened and closed easily. When your windows are difficult to operate, they will take additional effort and strain to open or close, they can allow for intruders to access your home as they may not lock properly, they can represent a potential safety risk in the case of a windowpane falling out, or glass breaking.

  • The noise comes into your home from outside

If your windows are closed but you still hear lots of noise from outside your home, there is a potential issue with your windows. This is usually because the windows don’t offer enough acoustic insulation or are no longer sealing properly. As the issue continues to grow, you will begin to experience more interruptions and distractions from the outside noise. 

If you are experiencing one or more of the above issues with your windows, it is probably a good time to start looking into replacement options. When looking for a window replacement contractor to complete your replacement project, look for an experienced contractor that specializes in window and door replacement.

5 Reasons To Replace Your Windows Before Winter Arrives

Winter comes with beautiful scenery and cool weather, but it can pose a big risk to your home and fixtures if appropriate measures are not taken. As a part of your winter preparation, getting replacement windows should be a priority. Your windows are some of the most exposed parts of your home and they play an important role in protecting you against the harsh winter temperatures. One of the best ways to ensure your home is winter-ready by replacing your older windows with new replacement windows

Here are five reasons why you should replace your windows before winter arrives. 

1. Better comfort

Old windows tend to be less effective in protecting against the harsh temperatures of winter. With new replacement windows, you have better insulation capacity and they are better equipped to withstand the cold weather conditions. This way, your home is better able to maintain its internal temperature without having to heavily rely on your heating system, ultimately increasing your comfort as there is less fluctuation in temperature.  

2. Reduced heating costs

With the insulation efficiency of replacement windows, you get to save on the energy used to heat your home. New windows have better features and stronger materials to prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from escaping. This keeps your home’s temperature at a steadier rate, reducing the need for your HVAC system from continuously running to warm up your home. In the end, with new replacement windows, you are able to reduce your utility bills and the overall cost of heating your home during the colder winter months.

3. Prevent wear and tear

With older windows, is it not uncommon to need to aggressively use your heating systems during winter to ensure your home is maintaining a comfortable internal temperature? However, this aggressive usage can lead to premature wear on your HVAC system., By changing your windows before winter is in full effect, you can prevent damage caused by wear and tear to your heating system.

 4. End of season deals  

Winter isn’t exactly the peak period for the sale of windows, which makes it perfect for you to get a bargain on your replacements. There are several discounts and deals available on top-line windows and frames so you can get premium quality. By installing the new windows just before winter arrives you’ll get the best value at discounted prices. 

 5. Contractor availability  

Additionally, contractors who install replacement windows are usually more available during winter. You may have to deal with the cold for a day, while the installation is going on but you won’t have to stress when booking the contractor. You can also get an off-season discount on charges for installation. 

To avoid the potential damage and unforeseen expenses associated with older windows, it is best to have replacement windows installed before winter arrives. PM Windows & Doors has been providing industry-leading replacement windows to the Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph areas since 1984. Give us a call today at 1-800-479-4499 to schedule your no-obligation consultation today!

5 Signs It’s Time To Replace The Windows In Your Home

Windows are an important aspect of any home, not only do they provide a reprieve from the elements they also add to a home’s aesthetic appeal and provide security for the occupants and belongings inside the home. However, like most aspects of a home, your windows can begin to wear and breakdown providing reduced protection from the elements, detracting from your home’s beauty, and even potentially become a weakness in your home’s security. Regular maintenance and small repairs can help prolong the lifespan of your windows, but as time passes you may need to consider replacing your older windows.

Below we have highlighted 5 signs that it may be time to replace your windows:

1. There’s a draft, even with a closed window

When closed, your windows should form a tight seal preventing any air from passing through. If you can feel a slight draft coming from around your windows or hear a faint whistling sound coming from your windows when closed chances are your windows are not sealing properly anymore or that space has formed between your frame and wall. A drafty window can be a cause of tension because it will not only cause your HVAC system to work harder to maintain optimal internal room temperature, it can also lead to potential water damage. If air can find its way through, small drops of water will be able to as well. 

2. Increased energy costs

If you see an unexpected spike in your energy bills, do not just ignore it. When your windows are not working optimally, they allow for air to transfer between from inside your home out, and from outside in. This forces your furnace to work overtime to keep your home warm in the winter and your air conditioning system is do the same to cool your home in the summer. Inevitably this will result in a noticeable jump in your energy bills. 

3. Poor operation

If you find that your windows are not opening and closing smoothly as they once did, or perhaps at all. It should be taken as a sign to look into replacement windows. Over time your window frames may bend or bow making it harder for your windows to open or close properly. 

4. Increased presence of external noise

 Windows are not expected to be totally soundproof, but when installed properly they will help reduce a great amount of outside noise. If you begin to notice that there is a significant amount of external noise now noticeable in your home, it could mean that your windows are no longer sealing properly and therefore no longer keeping the outside noise at bay.   

5. Decaying frames 

If you have wooden windows and notice that the frames are beginning to break apart and are withering away, unfortunately, a fresh coat of paint will not rectify the issue. Replacement windows will not only help increase your home’s security but will also help boost your home’s curb appeal.

Letting Everyone In

There is a growing demand for doors allowing disabled access due to our population aging and people living longer. There is also a demand for larger doors in entryways, as we as easy to use lever handle hardware. The extent of accessible business is huge compared to 20 years ago. And thanks to the introduction of AODA, it has stayed at a steady level.

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5 Questions You Need To Ask Your Replacement Window Company

When shopping around for replacement windows, you will have the option to choose windows that cover a wide variety of materials, styles, designs, and energy efficiency. You should take the time to choose the right windows for your needs. However, prior to making your final decision, it is important to utilize the time with the sales consultant from the windows replacement company to fully understand their process and products. Having all your questions answered and any concerns addressed will help you make your decision confidently and get the project started smoothly.

To help you out, we have put together a list of five key questions you should ask your sales consultant, prior to signing the window replacement agreement.

1. Ask For a Full Explanation of The Window’s Operation

It is important to know that the replacement windows you are buying operate and function in a way that is suitable for your home. The company representative should be able to provide you with detailed information about the replacement windows, covering ventilation or climate control, safety, security, and cleaning. Any energy-efficient features of the replacement windows should also be explained. 

2. Inquire About Window Finishes

No matter what type of windows you choose to go with, you should request details about the interior and exterior finishes of windows. It is essential to consider how the new windows will complement the existing aesthetics of your home. Choosing the right finishes will increase your curb appeal as well as add to your interior design. 

3. Ask About Any Additional Fees

Hidden fees are a surprise that no one gets excited over. Prior to signing your agreement, clarify that the price on the quote is the all-in price and includes all material, installation, cleanup, and garbage removal. You don’t want to project to be completed only to find out that you are responsible for disposing of your old windows, or cleaning up any mess left behind. 

4. Understand the Warranties

Have the consultant review both the warranty on the windows and the installation. For the most part, the windows themselves come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but this warranty does not cover issues with the installation. It is important to know the types of warranties and support you will have after the installation. You should also ask for their warranty policy in writing.

5. Ask What You Can Do in Preparation for Windows Installation

There will be some small steps you can take to help make the installation process successful. Ask the product consultant about how you can plan for the installation in your home. There may be some things you will be able to take care of prior to their arrival, such as moving any breakable items out of the way or even removing window coverings. 

Peace of mind is very important when hiring a professional to complete any home renovation project. Do not leave any questions unasked. Get as many details as you need about the replacement windows, materials, costs, and installation so that you can make an informed decision. If the responses given are not clear or you still have doubts, ask for clarity. If this still doesn’t instill confidence, look for a contractor that will live up to your expectations.