Any New Savannah Replacement Window Is Better Than What I Have (Part II)

Find window prices in savannah

Any New Savannah Replacement Window Is Better Than What I Have (Part II)

In a previous post, we mentioned a mindset that basically says that if you install any new Savannah replacement windows, you are better off.  We used frame insulation as a prime example of how wrong this assumption can be.  Statistics clearly show, from a R value standpoint, the wood window that you are replacing is more energy efficient than a non-insulated Savannah vinyl replacement window.  Today, we’ll look at another area  where this anything is better than what I have mentality is not only incorrect, but can truly cost you.


It is almost natural to assume that if you buy any new Savannah replacement window, insure that is installed correctly, and the gap around the exterior of the window is caulked properly, you’ll  have an airtight window.  Unfortunately this is where one of the dirtiest little secrets when it comes to manufacturing a vinyl replacement window comes in; that is the air leakage rate.  There are many parts of the manufacturing process that can affect how well your new home windows handle air, and this is a major area where a manufacturer can save money.


So, when a Savannah replacement window dealer comes to show you their product, how do you know what constitutes a truly efficient window from an air leakage standpoint?  Interestingly, a staple of most window salesperson’s presentation repertoire is showing you how their sashes interlock where they meet.  They often will place a dollar bill in before they close the two parts together and ask you to try to pull it out and when you can’t they tell you that proves how airtight their window is.  Makes some sense, right?


The reality is that most often an interlocking sash proves just the opposite.  Take that same window and with the window locked and use the lift rail to try and move the sashes.  Almost always Savannah replacement windows with interlocking sashes will have some movement of the sashes, which the salesperson will typically try to explain away by saying that vinyl has to be able to expand and contract.  The truth is that the manufacturing tolerances are much larger than needed for an airtight window.  The interlocking sash really becomes the only thing that keeps more air from leaking into and out of your home.  According to the Department of Energy, if there is a gap around any of the sashes as small as 1/16″(which is easy to find with even the smallest movement of the sashes), it is the equivalent of taking a brick out of the side of your home.   Count the number of windows in your home and you can begin to really see the importance of this.


savannah vinyl replacement windowsMaybe the best, and easiest way to know is to ask the salesperson to show you the NFRC sticker for the Savannah replacement window product they are demonstrating to you.  This sticker, required to be on your windows at the time of install, includes several performance numbers, but the one you are looking for is the fourth one, the Air Leakage rate.  Without getting too technical, if published, this number will either be .1,.2, or .3, the lower the better.  As a point of reference, the .3 is the maximum allowable in new home construction in most markets today.  But did you catch it?  “If published”…  This is the one performance number that the NFRC allows each manufacturer to decide whether or not to publish.  The  question that you have to ask yourself is what would be the only reason a manufacturer would choose not to publish that number?  The big news is that only fewer than a handful of Savannah replacement window products have that number on the sticker.


So how is this germane to our “Anything is better than I what I have.” conversation?  Look at it this way, if you had a tire with three holes in it and you plugged two of them, what would you have?  That’s right, a FLAT TIRE!  Savannah window dealers can argue all day long who has the best frame or best glass, but if they don’t show that number, or do and it’s too high, you are setting yourself up for a flat tire, no matter what your new Savannah replacement windows cost.


Next time, we’ll look at the most exploited feature of a home window that you need to be aware of if you think that any Atlanta replacement window is better than what you already have.