Tips for Choosing the Best Vinyl Replacement Windows

March 2, 2022

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Resources help you make the right choice for your home

A little research goes a long way in identifying the best energy-efficient replacement windows for your home. How to choose energy-efficient vinyl windows isn’t a question with a quick answer.

The best vinyl replacement windows for your home represent a combination of comfort and long-term value that only you can determine. But a few simple considerations can lead you to the best selection of energy-efficient replacement windows for your unique set of needs.

1. Know your zone

Where you live can have a major impact on the best vinyl replacement windows you should buy.
To help homeowners identify the most energy-efficient replacement windows for their homes, the federal EPA has developed a climate zone map, dividing the country into four regions.

For each region, the EPA provides recommended values for the two major characteristics that affect the energy efficiency of vinyl windows:

  • U-Factor measures the insulating value of the entire window as a complete system. The lower the U-Factor, the better the window insulates.
  • SHGC, or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, represents the amount of heat from the sun that passes through the glass. Lower numbers show the glass is keeping heat from entering your home.

While these terms and their definitions sound pretty technical, their goal is simple and straightforward: To help you use less energy to stay warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and more comfortable all year-round.

All four of ProVia’s window lines—Endure, Aeris, Aspect and ecoLite—offer exceptional comfort, quality and energy efficiency.

2. Check the specs

Numbers don’t lie. Download vinyl replacement window specs from manufacturer websites and compare those figures to suggested performance values in your climate zone. Also, make sure the windows have been independently tested to meet strict Energy Efficiency Standards and check to see that the windows are ENERGY STAR® Certified. Qualified, energy-efficient windows offer several benefits, including:
  • Real money savings with lower energy bills
  • Reduced use of the Earth’s precious energy resources
  • Greater comfort, with an end to cold drafts and overheated spaces in your home
  • Additional protection for your floors, carpets and furniture, thanks to the low-emissivity coatings on ENERGY STAR certified windows that reduce UV sun damage

The National Fenestration Rating Council, an independent non-profit that establishes window, door and skylight energy performance ratings, helps homeowners compare products by the label that is applied to the products of participating suppliers. Homeowners can use the NFRC’s Certified Products Directory to find and compare ENERGY STAR certified windows.

3. Get a little technical

Double or triple panes…Low-E…argon gas…krypton gas…There are a wide range of replacement window glass upgrades available that make vinyl windows more energy efficient, and you’ll also want to consider components such as:
  • ComforTech™ Warm Edge Glazing System with Super Spacer®—the right spacers can reduce heat loss and interior condensation
  • Triple weather stripping—standard on some replacement windows, triple weather stripping greatly reduces air infiltration, while providing optimal energy efficiency
  • Frame construction—ProVia’s innovative multi-chamber design, with polystyrene rigid foam insulation filling window frame cavities, provides optimal thermal performance
  • Frame material—the frame material can make a major difference, too. ProVia replacement windows are composed of a premium high-performance vinyl compound uniquely formulated to withstand the harsh effects of weather and ultraviolet light, while providing superior color retention, dimensional stability and impact resistance.

How do you decide what makes sense in your climate and what you need to stay comfortable? Leverage what you’ve learned by connecting with a reputable window dealer, someone familiar with your region and the energy efficiency challenges your vinyl windows will face every day.

4. Look beyond the window

Poorly installed vinyl windows won’t deliver the comfort or performance for which you paid. But a reputable dealer—a licensed, insured company that sells and installs replacement windows—can help ensure your new energy-efficient vinyl windows deliver their full value. During installation, make sure to check on important factors like:
  • A little extra room for shimming and insulating
  • Existing trim work that is secure and big enough to fit your windows
  • Fiberglass insulation or non-expanding foam insulation that fills every crevice—Check for drafts by holding a flame up to the window to see if it flickers.
  • Proper flashing, drip cap included

5. Research, research, research

While educating yourself is important, you don’t need to be a window expert—you just need to know enough to pick the best energy-efficient replacement window for your home and circumstances out of the crowded marketplace. You can perform some useful due diligence by:
  • Checking the dealer’s rating at the Better Business Bureau or on the Guild Quality list—a way of recognizing service excellence
  • Visiting a showroom or asking to see lists of referrals and jobs in your neighborhood
  • Looking for a dealer that provides Good, Better, Best Product offerings, with a variety of price ranges for different performance levels

Don’t be afraid of a brand you’ve never heard of—brand names aren’t everything. Check the specs, research the manufacturer and review window energy efficiency ratings and you’ll find the best energy-efficient replacement windows for your home, regardless of brand recognition.

Ashley Ridenour

Marketing Manager - Doors & Windows

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