Choosing new windows for your home in Dallas / Fort Worth, whether it be new construction or replacement, the task can seem daunting. However, this home improvement can be one of the most satisfying and is definitely worth the effort. Windows should be the way we look at the world outside our home. Yet our habit is to cover them with shades and drapes to try to keep out the cold and hot weather. At American Window Systems™ we hope to be able to assist you in making the decision making process an enjoyable and educational experience.
Look from the inside and outside of your home at each window. Are they serving the purpose you want them to serve? If not, now is the time for you to take advantage of the opportunity to reshape the look your home’s windows. The example here shows a breakfast area before and after and which demonstrates how a change can make a big difference.
Choosing a Window for Texas
We suggest you research window manufacturers before installation companies or dealers. Most window replacement dealers are limited in the windows they can offer. For example, their windows may only come in a double-hung option, which is where both window sashes move up and down.
A Double-Hung window is a great choice for the right application, but the wrong choice for many applications. As an example, the main benefit of a double-hung window is that you can tilt both sashes in for cleaning. A bad application of a double-hung window would be on a large window where the top of the window is too large and heavy to tilt in.
A good application would be in a two story house using double-hung windows in the upstairs making them easy to clean from the inside of the house.
In Texas many of our homes windows’ have varying shapes. Many window companies cannot create a single window for distinctive shapes and are forced to put two windows together causing the view to be obstructed. An example of this is the pictures below of the arched windows. The picture below is actually of two windows, a rectangle one on the bottom and a half-round window stacked on top.
The window below left is the view that can be obtained by using a window manufacturer that can make the window into one unit. This also gives you an idea of how you can see the world differently from inside your home.
Our glass windows are made right here in Fort Worth, which gives us an understanding of what Texas homeowners need.
Choosing Grids or No Grids
You can also use the pictures below to visualize how windows with grids or without grids will look. Another thing to keep in mind is there are different types of grids.
The grids can be placed between the window’s glass panes for easy cleaning. Or for a more traditional look, called Simulated Divided Lite Grids, window grids can be applied to the outside of the glass.
There are several styles of windows to choose from, watch the video below for examples of these different window styles:
Window Frame Colors
The basic frame colors for windows have been historically white or tan. Today manufacturers are beginning to offer more and more colors. American Window Systems™ offers a wide selection of colors on all of our windows. Color options available to homeowners include white, almond, and adobe for the interior colors. Exterior color options include white, almond, adobe, and architectural bronze.
Choosing a Dealer
Window manufacturers know the dealers in your area that are familiar with their product and have certified installers for installing their window systems correctly. You want to choose a dealer that has experience with their windows because it helps the installation process go smoothly. American Window System only recommends the companies that we believe have excellent customer service, are easy to work with, and offer competitive pricing. In most areas in North Texas there are multiple dealer locations so that you can do your own research and see if the dealer meets your needs.
Understanding Energy Efficiency
There are several important areas of window design and construction that affect your windows’ energy efficiency. Each has an individual affect on efficiency.
The most important factor affecting energy efficiency is the window frame material:
The EnergyCore window frame material blocks thermal conductivity 6X better than fiberglass, 4X better than rigid PVC, and 3X better than wood. As a result, EnergyCore windows deliver superior energy performance. Wood is second most effective insulating frame material followed by fiberglass and then aluminum.
How a window’s energy efficiency is determined can get very complicated. We suggest you know the meaning of the energy efficiency numbers or the NFRC ratings on the windows and what they mean. For more information, please visit the NFRC website.
The second factor to consider is the glass package (the type of window glass and frame you choose):
Vinyl can be the most energy efficient package when built with a honeycomb design and filled with an insulating product. American Window uses EnergyCore™, which is an innovative patent-pending window system with Fusion Insulated Technology™ that offers superior thermal performance and greater energy savings.
The thickness of each glass pane should be at least 1/8” if not thicker for strength and sound reduction. On larger windows, the size of the window may require even thicker glass.
The overall thickness of the insulated space including the glass should be a minimum of ¾” and our EnergyCore is 1 and 1/8” overall. The more space between the glass panes increases the window’s insulating qualities.
We use Cardinal Glass and their patented LowE366 in all of our window systems. There are several options of LowE coating on the glass available to our customers. Cardinal Glass Industries leads the industry in the development of residential glass for windows and doors. They have 27 manufacturing locations around the United States including one in Waxahachie, Texas. To learn more about Cardinal Glass, click on the following link www.cardinalcorp.com.
We also have options for double-pane and triple-pane window systems. In the past customers also had the option of a single pane window system, however they are no longer being manufactured for new construction or replacement windows. Double-pane windows can often improve the energy efficiency of the home well enough allowing homeowners to avoid the extra expense of a triple-pane window. However, if it is maximum energy efficiency you want triple-pane windows will meet your need.
The third area of concern for energy efficiency is the space system used between the window glass panes.
We use Warm Edge Technology in all of American Window Systems™ product lines
Warm Edge Technology refers to the type of spacer material used to separate the panes of glass (or glazing) in an insulating glass window unit. If the material is less conductive than a conventional aluminum spacer at the edge of the glass, it is said to be warm edge. Most newer window spacers are less conductive and outperform aluminum. But there's still one small problem – they may contain some kind of metal, which is highly conductive.
All of American Window Systems™ spacer products are considered to be low-conductivity, warm edge spacer products that effectively block the heat escape path. They also provide some of the best thermal performance and durability in the industry.
Energy Star Knowledge Center
There is a lot of information out there about energy efficiency and how homeowners can increase their home’s performance. It can be extremely overwhelming. There is a wealth of energy efficiency information on the Energy Star Website without overwhelming you.
Energy Star Windows
Installing energy star windows gives you three major benefits. One benefit and probably the biggest is saving money and energy. Who doesn’t enjoy saving money? Your home’s skylights, windows, and doors are where you lose the most energy. Energy star approved products use less energy reducing greenhouse gases produced by powers plants that heat and cool our homes. By installing energy star rated doors, skylights, and windows you can lower your energy bill each month. On average homeowners can save on average about 7 – 15% of your energy bill. Your energy savings are dependent upon the climate you live in. The visual map below breaks the United States down into regions and provides average savings for homeowners in that specific area.
To show you a single or double pane window can impact here are some numbers to consider:
Single pane windows: homeowners can save on average $146 - $501 and 1,147 - 3,839 pounds of CO2, which equals to 59 – 196 gallons of gasoline each year.
Double pane, clear glass windows: homeowners can save on average $71 - $247 and 692 – 2,825 pounds of CO2, which equals 35 – 144 gallons of gasoline each year.
The second benefit is keeping your home comfortable at all times through the year. No one likes to deal with changing temperatures in their house and it’s an unnecessary hassle. Energy efficient windows, doors, and skylights help regulate your home’s temperature and leave you and your loved ones more comfortable.
The third benefit is that energy efficient windows, doors, and skylights also protect your furniture and other valuables in your home. They are manufactured with a sunscreen coating to block out ultraviolet light to reduce fabric fading and discoloring.
For more information on Energy Star windows, doors, and skylights go to the Energy Star website.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a nonprofit organization that empowers consumers who are in the market for energy efficient windows, doors, and skylight to research and see true window rating test results. The NFRC label on these products assure that these products have been independently tested, certified and labeled. The NFRC does not recommend which products to buy, it simply provides you with information on how the product will perform so you can compare energy efficiency performance and decide for yourself which window, door or skylight is right for you.More Information
The IVP is a program to verify the performance ratings of ENERGY STAR® qualified products. This program ensures that ENERGY STAR products continue to perform in the marketplace as originally designed and certified. This program is only for ENERGY STAR Partners.More Information
At American Window System we don’t just make one window. We make three completely different windows systems and profiles to help you find the right window system to match your home and your budget. Depending on your home and application we have the window for you.
• V25 Slimline Series which is our slim frame for applications and budgets that needs to be slim.
• V85 American Series which is the more traditional look and feel of replacement windows and has slightly better energy efficiency still at a budget price.
• The EnergyCore is our best window and offers the most options. In fact, we think it is the best window on the market today. The EnergyCore window has achieved the EPA’s top window ranking as “Most Energy Efficient” meaning that our standards go well beyond the Energy Star requirements for our part of the country and the competition. For more information on Energy Star requirements please click on the following link www.energystar.gov
The replacement of your windows in your home can be one of the most enjoyable and beneficial upgrades of your home, but is an investment. Many homeowners have the financial resources to pay cash, check, or credit card directly to the dealer. However, if needed most of our recommended dealers have financing options available. Another option available to homeowners is receiving a home improvement loan with their personal banking facility. Also, homeowners will often replace their existing windows over a period of time to help disperse the overall cost.