Q: How can I choose a window that will hold up to the Upper Midwest’s extremes?

Filed in Home Experts by on June 18, 2014

A: Kermit Nelson at Ottertail Home Center gets asked to recommend the “best window” a lot.

Marvin Summer Lake Porch photo

“All the windows are made pretty well around here,” he says, noting Andersen, Marvin and Thermo-Tech brands. But there are so many variables in getting the right window for a particular home that he hesitates to call out a single window.

Instead, Nelson suggests consumers look at the energy efficiency of the product and the placement of windows in the home. Windows with a low U factor — a measurement of how much heat gets through — have higher insulating properties. Adding a Low-e glaze to the glass can also improve efficiency. In winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, “it will let more of that energy from the sun pass through,” he says; in summer, it deflects the sun “so it doesn’t heat up the house.”

Even with efficient windows, he says, direction is important. It’s not ideal to put large windows on the north side of the home, for example, because that’s coldest in winter. And big bay windows on the south side may benefit in summer from a glare-reducing tint. Large windows also need structural support; consult with your contractor about what’s feasible for your home.

A word about material: Nelson says this winter’s sub-zero temperatures caused a lot of condensation issues for his customers. “You really have to dry out the house” to prevent moisture build-up when it’s that cold, he explains. Choosing a vinyl-clad window means you don’t have to worry about water damage.

by Emily King, a writer from St. Paul

Photo Source: Marvin Windows & Doors

 

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