American Exteriors – Comparing Energy Efficient Windows with Builder Grade Products

There are several differences between builder grade windows and professional grade windows which effect energy efficiency and performance (measured by U-Factor). American Exteriors highlights the advantages of professional grade windows, including better spacing systems, custom build fitting, and type of frame.

To the untrained eye it is very difficult to differentiate between a builder grade vinyl product and a high performance one. You can compare NFRC ratings but a simple inspection can also reveal these differences. Using the NFRC labels on your window, compare the U-Factors. A better performing window should have a U-Factor of less than .30, most builder grade products carry a U-Factor of .50 or higher. Visually inspect the windows determine what the spacing system is, is it aluminum or another metal product? Doing this will help you determine if this is an automated manufacturing versus a custom process. Is the frame hollow block or multi-chambered unit? Multi-chambering allows for more insulating pockets within the frame thus making the product more energy efficient. Is the window custom built for an existing home or the original window? Builders often take shortcuts to install windows, not only is the window low performance the installation is often done to a blueprint and not an exact opening. Rather than rebuild a window to account for minor inconsistencies in the construction, builders install their product on hand and take shortcuts to make it fit. This usually results in gaps and eventually drafts. Most consumers buying homes do not measure the performance of the window and therefore most builders do not use a high quality product. Instead they invest in upgrades to more noticeable products like granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Taking a few moments to determine the quality of windows in your home could save you money in the long run. High performance windows are not only visually appealing they save energy and keep you comfortable. For more smart tips on improving the energy efficiency and comfort of your home make sure you join our social network by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find more helpful videos just like this one on our YouTube channel.
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