How Should Your New Windows Open?
While it might seem like a simple thing, the manner in which your windows open can affect how efficient they are, how easy the are to use, and how long they are likely to last. While far from the only factor in these equations, it is one that is worth considering. Here is the breakdown for each item.
Maximize Their Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is a concern for many modern homeowners. How well your windows contain heat can have a major impact on your overall energy costs. Most windows will do just fine, but some choices are still better than others.
- The most efficient window is going to be one that doesn't open. While this certainly isn't an option for windows that must open for safety reasons, it is for many others. If you honestly won't open the window often, if at all, then this is going to a be a good choice.
- Casement windows are hinged, usually on the side, and use a crank to open and close. While any window that is capable of opening won't be sealed as well as one that doesn't, the latching mechanisms available on this type of window create a very tight seal.
- If your preference is to open windows instead of running the air on mild days, then you may want to install some awning windows. They work similar to the casement style, but the hinges are at the top instead of the side. The advantage here is that you can continue to ventilate your home, even during mild rainstorms without getting water inside your home.
Make Sure They Are Easy To Use
Ease of use will depend greatly on the location of installation. Obviously, a window that doesn't open won't require any effort to use (other than cleaning), but other mechanisms have varied usefulness. For the easiest opening, look for windows that use a crank to open and close them. The mechanics will do most of the work, and this is very important in areas that are hard to reach. To make the process even easier, these types of windows can also be connected to an automatic system which will allow you to control them remotely.
For many homes, double hung windows are one of your few options. These do require that you manually open and close them, but there are ways to make this easier. High end double hung windows contain a network of cables and weights in the frame that offset the weight of the window, making it easier to open. From there, it is simply a matter of ensuring the tracks remain clear of debris, and the window will slide open and closed easily every time.
Invest In Windows That Will Last As Long As You Own Your Home
Longevity is another issue at hand when choosing windows. To a certain extent, the quality of manufacturing will be the biggest contributor to this, but style does come in a close second. The principle here is that the more moving parts a window has, the more places it can break down. This is the downside of casement windows-- the crank mechanism takes a beating every time you open or close the window, and those pieces just aren't going to last forever. Double hung and sliding windows (they work just like sliding doors) have moving parts, but are much simpler mechanically, which often translates into longevity.
Choosing windows that fit your goals is an important part of the shopping process. By choosing an opening mechanism that fits with those goals, you get yourself a long way through the process and eliminate a lot of options that just aren't going to work out for you. For more about this topic, talk to a window installation contractor.