Replacement Window Project Planning

The Case For High Performance Vinyl Energy Star Replacement Windows

 

By Frank Giuseppini

“Wow!” you say, as you come to the realization that you have a lot of choices as to the style, brands and materials that you select for your replacement window project.  As we covered in our article on The Cost of Replacement Windows and Patio Doors  there are distinct differences in the cost of replacement windows and patio doors available to you. But, the cost is just one of the important considerations you should have.  Another is the energy efficiency and comfort performance of the windows and patio doors. We at Jantek  want you to understand why that is, and so here we go!

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys ENERGY STAR® Program promotes the use of high-energy efficient technologies, materials and equipment in homes and commercial buildings. ENERGY STAR labeled homes use at least 30% less energy than homes built to meet the national Model Energy Code while maintaining or improving indoor air quality. If your considering a replacement window and patio door project then its pretty certain that your home or commercial building was built before there even was an “Energy Star Certified Home” or building designation. But… since windows and patio doors are such a large percentage of any home or commercial building’s “envelope,” there can be no doubt that replacing old low performance windows with high performance Vinyl Energy Star® windows will make a significant difference in the energy savings and comfort performance of your home or commercial building.  So, exactly what does this “high performance” mean and what are the benefits?

Well to start with, windows and patio doors typically comprise 10 to 25 percent of the exterior wall area of a home. Research studies report that windows in heating-dominated climates account for up to 25 percent of a typical houses heating load and that in cooling-dominated climates, windows account for up to 50 percent of the cooling load.

At Jantek, we design and manufacture only high performance vinyl Energy Star® windows and patio doors. With over 25 years in the window and patio door industry, we have perfected our craft and our expertise. That is, we are experts on the many technological advances have been made that significantly enhance the thermal performance of windows and patio doors. These technologies include improved framing materials, low-emissivity and solar control coatings, low-conductance gas fills, improved thermal breakand warm edge spacers, and better edge sealing techniques. These technologies can be used independently or in combination, but must be selected based on climate to optimize performance. Read on for a thorough understanding of this important criteria in your decision process. 

Windows can improve the thermal performance of homes by minimizing heat loss in heating-dominated climates and by minimizing solar heat gain icooling-dominated climatesThus windows with lower U-factors or higher R-values perform better in heating-dominated climates and windows with lower solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC) perform better in cooling-dominated climates. SHGC is a measure of the amount of solar energy that the glass in your window or patio door allows to pass. For a better understanding of SHGC, U-Factor and other important window performance criteria, take a look at our article on How To Use NFRC Factors To Compare Energy and Comfort Performance Of Window And Patio Door Brands   

The materials and design of the frame also influence thermal performance. Low conductance materials, the least conducting being vinyl, followed by others such as wood and fiberglass, perform better than high conductance materials such as aluminum or steel. will conduct or transfer heat at a slower rate. That means that the summer’s heat will transfer more slowly from outside to inside, and, the heat generated from your heating system will transfer more slowly from inside to out.  If you must use metal windows, then look for thermal breaks” in the window design in heating-dominated climates to avoid condensation and at least some reduction to thermal transfer

Air tightness is another important consideration. Windows are now being tested and rated for air tightness. A rating of 0.2 cfm/ft (cubic feet per minute of air leakage per linear foot of window edge) or lower is considered good

An effective building envelope is a key element for an energy-efficient home and your comfort. Replacing your old drafty, energy leaking windows with ENERGY STAR high performance windows can improve the effectiveness of the building envelope and improve comfort.

High-performance vinyl replacement windows can provide many benefits including:

Improved comfort. High-performance vinyl replacement windows reduce conductive heat losses and gains resulting in warmer interior surfaces during the winter andcooler interior surfaces during the summer. In homes, approximately 40 percent of our physical comfort is due to the radiant heat exchange between our bodies and the surrounding interior surfaces. Thus, high-performance windows improve comfort by reducing this radiant heat exchange. In addition, improved frames reduce drafts and provide more consistent temperatures throughout the house.

Quieter home. High-performance vinyl replacement  windows often utilize multiple glazing and insulated frames. These features reduce unwanted noise from the outside.

Increased quality. High-performance vinyl replacement windows are often constructed with better quality materials that can result in stronger, easier to operate, and longer lasting windows. As a result of these improvements, manufacturers frequently offer extended warranties on these products.

Improved indoor air quality. High-performance vinyl replacement windows and patio doors often have air tightness ratings o0.2 cfm/ft or less which reduce the amount of unconditioned air leakage into a house. This air leakage can bring in dirt, dust, and other impurities that can negatively affect indoor air quality.

Lower utility bills. High-performance vinyl replacement windows and patio doors are better insulated and more air-tight. These features reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling

which results in lower utility bills, making homes less expensive to operate.

Reduced obsolescence. Based on recent trends for improved efficiency, high-performance vinyl windows and patio doors are expected to become standard practice for thbuilding industry, therefore homes with high-performance windows are, therefore, expected to be less vulnerable to obsolescence.

Fewer condensation problems. High-performance windows stay warmer in the winter resulting in drier windows with fewer condensation-related problems. Condensation can stain fabrics, lead to mold and mildew build-up, and in cold climates cause damage due to the freeze/thaw cycle.

Reduced wear on home furnishings. Low-E coatings can block up to 98 percent of the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. This radiation causescurtains, window treatments, carpeting, and furniture to fade and wear faster.

Improved resale position. High-performance windows can provide the many impressive benefits listed above resulting in a more comfortable, quieter,and higher quality home with lower utility bills and fewer condensation and fading problems. These benefits can translate into higher resale value.

So hopefully I have given you a better understanding of the quality dimension of your replacement window and patio door project. This is just one piece of the total picture. We address more of the pieces in our other blog articles so check them out.  In the meantime if you would like to discuss more of your questions with our replacement window experts, or maybe you are ready for a quick no hassle Free TeleEstimate/Virtual Estimate for Vinyl replacement windows and patio doors, you can also give us a call at (609) 564-1030 x13 and we will be happy to help.

Up Next:

The Ultimate Replacement Window Contractor Vetting Checklist

The Cost of Replacement Windows and Patio Doors

Answering Your Vinyl Replacement Window and Patio Door Installation Project Questions

 

Answering Your Vinyl Replacement Window and Patio Door Installation Project Questions

       By Frank Giuseppini

Do you like the idea of having new affordable and energy efficient vinyl replacement windows and patio doors but aren’t sure what is involved in the installation process?  

With us at Jantek Windows being the only vinyl replacement window and patio door manufacturer with employee based installation experience (more than 500,000 vinyl replacement windows and patio doors installed over the last 25 years), we’re kind of experts in our field. Over the years we’ve heard every installation question under the sun.

 If you have concerns about how vinyl replacement window and patio door installations are done, keep reading because we’re answering the most commonly asked vinyl replacement window installation questions to help you decide if vinyl replacement windows and patio doors are a good choice for your home or business. 

Vinyl Replacement Windows and Patio Door Installation FAQ’s

How long will it take to install my windows?

An experienced and well trained installation crew, like Jantek Windows employee vinyl replacement window and patio door installation crews,  should be able to install around 10 windows in a workday. Of course this number could be significantly lower or higher based on the experience of the vinyl replacement window contractor and the specific nature of your job with regard to the accessibility of the window openings, the condition of the rough openings (eg. wood rot, square, etc.) and the type of window or patio door being installed. Also, if your house was built prior to 1978 and the lead test on the existing window area is positive, the installers must use EPA renovate right work practices which will slow down the work by about 20% time. 

I don’t want to replace all my windows, what’s the minimum you will do?

You don’t have to do your entire job at one time, although there are good reasons to do so. If an experienced installation crew can do about 10 windows a day, then a job with about 10 windows makes the most sense from the contractor’s job cost (and thus your price) efficiency standpoint. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do less windows… Jantek does provide Free TeleEstimate/Virtual Estimate< for turnkey installation two or more vinyl replacement windows.

Isn’t it better to wait for warmer weather to install my Vinyl replacement windows to avoid heat loss and discomfort?

The short answer is…No.

The long answer is that an experienced and well trained installation crew, like Jantek Windows employee vinyl replacement window and patio door installation crews, ensures that no window opening is open for more that about 10 – 15 minutes during the installation process so there is not much opportunity for the temperature in your house to be affected, be it the heater or the air conditioner.  Before the old window is removed Jantek’s employee window installers check the opening for size and compare that to the replacement size to ensure that there are no issues (we like to call this “measure twice cut once!”). They will stage the vinyl replacement window or patio door near to the opening prior to removing the old one. Once the old window or door is removed the vinyl replacement window or patio door is immediately inserted into the opening and secured. This is repeated for all of the openings. When all the vinyl replacement windows and patio doors are set in their openings, the crew will trim and seal the interior and exterior of all the openings per the job requirements. 

Will you have to alter my current window openings to fit the replacement windows?

At Jantek Windows we design manufacture and install only custom sized vinyl replacement windows and patio doors to within 1/8” inch of your existing window openings so there is never a need to alter your existing opening. If you purchase from a company or contractor that uses stock size vinyl replacement windows or patio doors the installation crew may need to alter the size of your opening, either smaller or larger to make them fit correctly and avoid leaks or operational issues. In the case of stock sized vinyl replacement windows and patio doors, depending on the extent of the alterations, certain municipalities may require permits.

What exactly is included in the price and what should I expect on the day of installation?

A turnkey vinyl replacement window and patio door installation package from Jantek Windows includes all of the following:

  •  Measure and customize the design of all or your vinyl replacement windows and patio doors to within 1/8” of your current window opening.
  •  Lead test if for residential buildings built pre 1978·     
  • Manufacture your custom vinyl replacement windows and patio doors in our Medford New Jersey Factory.
  • The vinyl replacement windows and patio doors are delivered on the day of start of your installation.
  • On the day of installation a Jantek employee installation crew (not a subcontractor) will:

o   Use US-EPA Lead Safe installation process if Lead is present without additional charge to you.

o   Remove your existing windows and patio doors

o   Remove and Replace shutters if present

o   Inspect and remediate any wood rot issues in the opening

o   Secure the new vinyl replacement windows and patio doors into the existing opening.

o   Install pvc coated exterior capping over trim

o    Seal exterior to siding or masonary with exterior silicone caulk

o   Finish trim and use paintable latex caulk to window interior

o   Clean up and vacuum interior leave it dust and debris free

o   Clean up all exterior debris

o   Remove all old windows and doors and debris from property.

o   Perform a written 26 point job inspection upon completion of work.

o   Review the Jantek Windows warranty and the Jantek Windows Parts and Service process with the customer.

o   Execute the Certificate of Completion with the customer prior to collection of any balance due on the job.

Read about Jantek Windows manuracturer’s installation instructions

 

My house was built before 1978, does that mean you have to test for lead paint?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency under 40 CFR Part 745 Subpart E requires that any contractor installing windows into homes built prior to 1978 must be certified and licensed by the EPA to do so.  Prior to installing vinyl replacement windows into any property built before 1978, Jantek Windows will preform a simple test on the current windows and openings for the presence of lead paint. Jantek will do this at no additional charge.  If lead paint is found, then we will conduct the installation of the Vinyl Replacement windows in accordance with the specific EPA guidelines for performing such work, again, at no charge to you, in order to protect your and our employees health. It does add a bit of time to the installation but it’s the law… and it’s the right thing to do!

Read about US-EPA Lead Safe Work Practices

Will I be able to re-use my window coverings after the replacement windows are installed?

In most cases yes, however that depends on three things.  First of all the type of window coverings. Secondly, the depth of the structural window opening or “pocket” as measured from the interior wall to the exterior stops. Third, the depth (thickness) of the vinyl replacement window’s master frame. 

A good quality vinyl replacement window should have a masterframe depth/thickness of 3 ¼ inches as part of the design for structural integrity.  The vinyl replacement window master frame may be thicker than that of your old window, especially if you have metal windows or old vinyl new construction windows. In that case you will experience some “loss of sill,” that is, the space between the master frame of the replacement vinyl window and the interior wall will be narrower after the installation of the vinyl replacement window. 

If your window coverings are anchored on the wall surface outside of the window pocket, then there will most likely be no issue with re-using them.  If your current window coverings are installed in the interior of the window pocket adjacent to the window frame you may still be able to re-use them unless the pocket depth remaining after the replacement vinyl window is installed is too narrow to anchor the original hardware. This can be the case with wide profile window treatments that are typically anchored inside the window pocket such as internal shutters or very wide panel blinds.   

Will my replacement window installation require a permit and inspection? 

It is rare that a permit will be required by any state or local authority when the job is for direct replacement of windows and patio doors without structural modification of an existing window or patio door opening.

 If the project includes creating a new opening, or enlarging or shrinking an existing opening, then your job will require permits. In the case of a commercial building or an apartment complex, or in the event that a building is in an historic district, there may be a requirement for a permit.  We at Jantek Windows specialize specifically in direct replacement projects and most of our jobs do not require permits.   

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Here are some useful vinyl replacement window and patio door articles to check out next:  

The Ultimate Replacement Window Contractor Vetting Checklist

The Cost of Replacement Windows and Patio Doors

At Jantek Windows, we design, manufacture and install world class vinyl replacement windows and patio doors for customers across New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. If you’d like to explore your vinyl replacement window and patio door options, you can browse our product models and explore our gallery and YouTube channel, or request custom pricing and information using the button below. 

Request a free, quick no hassle TeleEstimate/Virtual Estimate   

The Ultimate Replacement Window Contractor Vetting Checklist


By Frank Giuseppini

If you are seriously considering a replacement window project, you’ve probably discovered that there are a lot of decisions to make!

At the top of this list stands one preeminent question:

How do I select a reputable replacement window contractor?

This question is so important because the expertise and integrity of your replacement window and patio door contractor will play a huge role in determining the final outcome of your project.

To assist you in this process, we at Jantek Windows have put together a checklist to help you vet replacement window contractors. This checklist is based on our experience of not only working with over a thousand replacement window customers throughout Southern New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area, but also from helping hundreds of folks who found us through the internet find reputable replacement window contractors in their area (see more about this below).

So, regardless of where you live or whether you are looking for wood clad, metal, composite or vinyl replacement windows, this checklist will help you identify various criteria to look for when selecting your replacement window contractor.

Okay, lets get right to it!

The Ultimate Replacement Window Contractor Vetting Checklist

Contractor Name: ___________________________________________________________

1. Business Information and Experience

__ The company is licensed and insured
Note: ask if the name on the license is the same as the company name. If not, find out why.

__ Find out how many years the company has been in business
Years in business: __________
Note: 63% of contractors fail within the first three years after start-up

2. Customer Reviews/References

Ask the following questions of the replacement window contractor:

1. How many replacement window projects have you installed since in business? __________
2. How many were installed last year? _________
3. Of those installations, how many reviews/references can you provide in the form of either an social media post (make sure any post is from a valid person with an actual account on the social media platform) from an actual customer, or on a reference list for you to contact? ________

Note: if the replacement window contractor provides less than half of their customers as references, we consider this to be a red flag. Our experience has been that the vast majority of people when asked are willing to go on a reference list. In our opinion, providing less than half of the customers as references equates to less than a 50% chance of being happy in the end.

__ Satisfy yourself that there are at least 20 good replacement window project customers for this contractor.

When reviewing social media posts, or contacting references, pay attention to key satisfaction factors like :
1. The customer would use the replacement window contractor again.
2. The customer enjoyed project experience
3. The customer was happy with the product style and options
4. The customer was happy with the price
5. If issues or problems arose, the customer was happy in the end

3. Reviews and Ratings

__ Collectively, the replacement window contractor has at least a 5:1 good review to bad review ratio
__ They responded reasonably to negative reviews when possible

4. Products Used By the Replacment Window Contractor

__ Who manufacturer’s the products that the replacement window contractor uses?
__ The products the replacement window contractor uses have good reviews in the marketplace
__ The customer references / reviews gave the products used by the builder positive ratings
__ The products are backed by competitive warranties
__ The contractor will handle any product warranty issues (or do you have to deal with the manufacturer?)

5. Installation Workmanship Warranty

Note: an installation workmanship warranty would cover issues that could arise such as window operation, leaks, structural problems, etc. The minimum workmanship warranty by law in most states is one year.
• What is the duration of the replacement window contractor’s workmanship warranty? _______________________________________________________________________
• What specifically does the replacement window contractor’s workmanship warranty cover? _______________________________________________________________________
• What happens in the event that a repair is needed? (Is there a fee, who pays for materials, etc)? _________________________________________________________________________

6. Installation Practices
• Does the replacement window contractor have any installation or construction practices that distinguish them from the competition? ________________________________________________________________________
• Are these practices relevant? ________________________________________________________________________

• Does the replacement window contractor utilize sub-contractors or their own employees to install your replacement windows or patio doors? (subcontractors will require their own insurance and EPA Certifications.)
_________________________________________________

7. Design and Project Planning
__ The replacement window contractor will present a plan to you before the project begins showing the following:

  •  Copy of their contractor’s license
  • Insurance certificate (for any subcontractors as well)
  • EPA Lead certification (for pre-1978 residences)
  • EPA Renovate Right Pamphlet (for pre -1978 residences)
  • Confirm:
    • Custom sizes
    • List exact style and location of each window or patio door
    • List options for each window or patio door
    • List each type of installation for each opening
  • Copy of the warranty

8. Pricing and Contract
__ After assessing the scope of work (product and installation requirements) the replacement window contractor will provide you with a formal written estimate or quotation.
__ Upon your decision to move forward with your project the replacement window contractor will provide you with a separate, detailed contract, that will incorporate the scope of work and the price for all of the work from the estimate, with additional details of specific exclusions, legal jurisdiction, 3 day right of recission (most states), applicable legal jurisdiction, certification of insurance and warranty, etc.
__ When you decide to proceed, the contractor will confirm all of the details on your estimate and provide you with a legal contract that covers all of the requirements for performance on their part as well as the price that you will pay for all of the work.
__ If changes are made to the scope of work prior to or during the start of work these will be approved by you and documented in a formal “Change Order” and any change in price, up or down, based on the scope of work changes will be reflected. Any Change Order will become part of your contract.

Note: Never sign the estimate! Try to avoid going into an agreement with a hand written summary “estimate” that lacks all of the detail of a legal contract. This is a tactic some contractors use to make the initial price of the project seem lower than what it will be and also to avoid being held to task in the event something should go wrong.

Look here for to learn more on The Cost of Replacement Windows and Patio Doors

We hope you will find this helpful on your quest to finding the perfect replacement window and patio door contractor.

If you’d like to see a variety of design examples, take a look at our Project Gallery

If you would like to have a quick “no hassle” vinyl replacement window and patio door TeleEstimate/Virtual Estimate we would be happy to provide one!

Thanks and good luck!