You’ve decided to make vinyl your go-to material for new replacement windows. Unfortunately, not all vinyl windows are created equal. There are many components and processes available for making vinyl replacement windows. This guide points out three specific features to look for when comparing and shopping vinyl replacement windows.

The host of the window can be considered the most important part of the window design as it provides the structural integrity of the window. All families experience constant change and movement throughout their lives. To combat these movements, look for windows with fully welded frames. Windows that are mechanically fastened, chemically bonded, or not fully welded are structurally weak and can bend or crack during temperature changes and movement.

Next, ask about the quality of the vinyl used in the window profiles. Ask your contractor if there is a large percentage of “regrind” or recycled vinyl in your frame. Windows that use a lot of recycled material are weaker because chemicals are added to increase the strength of recycled vinyl.

Finally, do vinyl replacement windows have proper drainage? A weeping system directs water away from windows and your home, reducing water infiltration.

Insulating glass system
Glass makes up almost 80% of the window and determines the thermal performance of the window. Look for windows with double or triple glazed glass encapsulations with a low-E coating and an argon or krypton fill. Low-E glass contains a microscopic coating like a filter. In summer, Low-E glass allows plenty of visible light to pass through while blocking infrared solar energy, keeping your room cool. In winter, glass helps keep rooms warm by reflecting heat back into the interior while letting in warm sunlight. The result is simple…lower energy costs! Additionally, Low-E glass blocks harmful UV rays, helping to reduce fading of carpets and furniture in your home. Insulating gases, such as argon or krypton, can be added to the air space of the glass unit. Both gases are denser than air, which prevents convection from forming, which reduces heat transfer between the inside and outside of the house. This can improve the comfort of your home while reducing your heating and cooling bills.

balance system

If purchasing the most popular double-hung vinyl replacement windows on the market, the type of balancing system used is a major factor in the ease of operation of the sash. The balancing system applies tension to the sash to keep it in the desired position and allows the sash to operate easily up and down. The three main balancing systems available include constant force balancing, helical balancing and pulley balancing.

Constant force balance works by using rolled steel coil springs to balance the weight of the sash. The number of coils used in a constant force balance system is determined by the weight of the sash and requires single, double or even triple coils. As the number of coils increases, they limit the travel and exit of the window.

Just like a tape measure with dirt on a coil can stick and be difficult to get back into the housing, a constant force balanced coil can stick when dirt and debris get into the coil. This makes it difficult to manipulate the window.

Spiral balances rely on the tension exerted on the screw rod inside the balance tube. Tension is applied by turning the screw rod protruding from the bottom of the tube counterclockwise. As more revolutions are applied, more tension is applied to the spring allowing it to balance the weight of the sash. As the sash weight increases, the balance needs to be turned more, causing the pressure on the internal spring to increase. This pressure makes it difficult to raise and lower the sash, weakening the balance and eventually causing the balance to fail, causing the top sash to drop and the bottom sash to stand.

The design and technology of the Block and Tackle balancing system is more advanced than in years past. Today, Block and Tackle Balances are considered a weight management system. The system works by using a series of pulleys to convert the minimum stretch of the coil spring into the desired amount of sash travel.

Block and Tackle Balance Systems use composite cords to connect the coil springs to the balance boots. This compound compound is used for climbing ropes and other high tension applications. Additionally, the pulley and pulley balancing system requires no lubrication or adjustment to keep it working properly.

This weight management system is designed to balance the exact weight of each sash. On average, the operating force of the trolley balance is 40% lower than that of the screw balance.

So when comparing windows to buy vinyl replacements, look for window systems with fully welded frames and sashes, high-performance insulating glass packaging, and block and pulley weight management systems. When these three features are combined, you can confidently buy a window system that will provide you with years of strength, comfort, energy savings and ease of operation.

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