In previous blog posts we’ve discussed the importance of blocking the harmful UV rays that can enter your home through your windows. But that’s only the tip if the iceberg…or sunspot on the sun…or…well you get the point. Since we’ve already gone over some of the basics, let’s discuss the different types of UV rays, the harmful effects they can have on both you and your household, and how getting replacement windows can protect both your home an your family.
Have you ever walked by a large store window and noticed that areas of the display are faded or worn out by the sun? Maybe you have a piece of furniture on your deck that isn’t nearly as colorful as it used to be. When we see these examples we all know what has happened…the items have faded due to constant exposure to sunlight. But why?
The reason sunlight causes certain objects to wear and fade is because the UV rays are actually breaking up the molecules in the object. While the chemical reaction may be different, UV rays damage the molecules in your skin in a similar way.
When discussing UV rays it is important to remember that there are two types of UV light that concern us, UVB and UVA. UVB is the type of light responsible for sunburns and is a leading cause of skin cancer and skin damage. UVA is the type of light you find in tanning beds. It passes deeper into the skin and is therefore more damaging than UVB light. UVA causes wrinkles, skin cancer, etc.
While many people believe that standard window glass blocks UV radiation, this is untrue. Standard glass can allow up to 75% of UVA radiation to pass through it. This can damage your furniture, flooring, and most importantly, you and your loved ones. This is why we recommend our Low-E, Energy Star certified windows.
We’ve mentioned our Low-E windows on the blog before, and there is a good reason why. Our Low-E windows feature a thin film applied to each side of the glass that blocks out the majority of ultraviolet light waves.
This is important because Low-E windows not only lower your energy bills by reducing the amount of heat that gets into your home from the sun – a necessary detail for windows installed in Phoenix and Tucson – but they also significantly block the amount of harmful UV rays coming into your home. This is good for not only your floors and furniture, but also your family.
We’ve all had those moments when we open our electric or gas bill followed by clutching our chests in horror at the number staring back at us. Determined not to be beat by the rising costs of energy, we unplug all unnecessary electronics, tape down the light switches, and start living by candlelight. Okay, maybe not…but it sure can feel that way at times.
The real frustration comes when you’ve done everything you can think of to lower your energy usage, but for some reason the reduction in your energy bills isn’t nearly as significant as you had hoped for. In cases like these, maybe the problem doesn’t stem from the kids leaving the kitchen light on, but rather from the windows and doors in your home no longer doing their job.
What’s Really To Blame?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, inefficient or leaky windows and doors account for over 25% of the average households energy bills. Did you know that you cut your energy costs by 15% just by replacing your old windows with more energy efficient windows?
Many manufacturers recommend that windows be replaced after 20 years or so. If you live in Arizona, you also know how unforgiving the weather can be on houses, cars, and just about everything else. So when looking for replacement windows in Phoenix or Tucson, you want to make sure that they are built to last.
At American Openings, we know how important high-quality windows are to an energy-efficient home, especially in the brutal heat of Phoenix and Tucson. This is why we ensure that our aluminum replacement windows have high Energy Star ratings, and that we utilize high performance, Low-E windows.
Not only does the aluminum construction of our windows mean that they can stand up to a lifetime of harsh Phoenix or Tucson weather, but our Low-E windows feature a thin film applied to each side of your window’s glass in order to block out ultraviolet light waves while still allowing visible light waves to enter the home. This means the window gives you get all the light you need, but doesn’t allow the full intense heat of the Arizona sun to penetrate. Our ClimaGuard 55/27 Low-E glass and can prevent up to 73% of the heat that can enter your home, and is available in a wide selection of replacement window styles.
Old and inefficient doors can also be to blame when it comes to increasing energy costs in the home. This is why American Openings offers the highest quality available door replacement in Phoenix in Tucson.
With a smart home improvement investment in window replacements from American Openings, that electric or gas bill should become a little less frightening. So schedule your appointment with American Openings today, and be prepared to blow out the candles.
When it comes to home window replacement, homeowners often find themselves on edge about whether or not it’s really going to be worth the investment.
If programs like the Energy Star Initiative (boasting guaranteed returns on investment) aren’t enough to convince, then surely there must be some key factors that help make a decision like replacing your windows to be a no-brainer.
Cases Where You Should Always Replace Your Windows:
Indeed there are a few situations, and this is especially true for the Tucson and Phoenix environments, where homeowners can be assured that replacing their windows is a smart investment.
Some of those are as follows:
- If you have a window or windows with cracked panes, then a simple repair may seem like a feasible solution, but in reality your best option is a full replacement. Cracked panes provide little to no insulation and generally speaking it is difficult to just replace the glass of a window only.
You may be paying extra for a custom cut pane to be refitted, and the odds are that your old frame (unless the window was Energy Star qualified) isn’t nearly as efficient as new frames on the market today.
- For historic buildings, wooden window frames may seem very fitting, but on your average home in Tucson or Phoenix, they just don’t make the grade. If you’re thinking about replacing your windows, but found that some simple air sealing and weatherization could save you some money and leave you just as well off, then think again!
Wood framed windows do not stand up to the harsh environment of the Arizona desert. They are simply inefficient. Vinyl and thermal aluminum are the leading materials in window construction for good reason, because they are designed to withstand the most bizarre weather and still save you significant amounts of energy.
- One of the most common things we see in window replacement is homeowners who are indecisive about replacing single pane windows. Fear not though, there have been countless studies done on the significance in energy saving of dual or triple pane windows compared to single pane ones.
In fact, a huge basis for the rising popularity of home window replacement is due to research and development having proven that the most energy efficient upgrade to a home is switching out old single panes with double or triple panes instead.
Literally the industry would not be what it was today if replacing single pane windows didn’t make such a drastic and noticeable difference. With the majority of older homes having single panes in every opening, as we move towards a greener lifestyle it only makes sense that we change what was once thought to be the only option, into something much grander and more efficient.
There may be a few other key factors we could list here, but we’ll leave it at just three. In particular, it’s in these three cases that a homeowner has the lowest risk and greatest return for fully replacing their home windows.
Other situations may need other variables factored-in in order to make them a worthwhile investment, but for these three situations we can almost always assure you (without even visiting) that you’ve made the right decision in opting for new home window replacements.
As always though, be sure to contact several window replacement contractors in your area and take the time to go over the quotes they offer. You shouldn’t make your final decision on window replacement without having first spoke with industry professionals about your home’s specific needs.
Call or email today to schedule your free in-home consultation, or just to ask a few questions, and we’ll be happy to assist you!
Shopping around for window replacements isn’t the most difficult task, but with it comes a myriad of terms and information that may easily confuse your typical consumer.
So if you’re gathering quotes and trying your best to absorb all the facts and advantages being thrown at you, then be sure to read through this list of window replacement terminology first!
Common Window Replacement Terms You May Hear and What They Mean:
Argon Filled – This refers to a double pane window with argon gas injected between the two panes. Argon compliments and enhances the overall insulation and energy efficiency of the window.
Brand – This simply refers to the brand of the window, or rather the manufacturer who actually constructed the window. Many window companies work in partnership with such manufacturers and are their own company, but offer a brand of window that is not their own. As a local manufacturer, American Openings constructs its own windows and doesn’t order your replacements through a distributor located elsewhere.
Condensation – This refers to the build-up of moisture or frost, either around a window frame or in between the panes.
Dual Pane – This refers to the construction of the window having utilized two panes of glass rather than one. Double pane windows are far more energy efficient than old single pane windows.
Energy Efficient – This refers to the window being constructed so that it may provide for energy savings. Don’t be fooled though. Nearly any window is more energy efficient than a single pane window. Only Energy Star Windows can guarantee you will make your invested money back through energy bill savings.
Energy Star – This refers to the window being Energy Star qualified. That means that of all the energy efficient windows out there, it is of the utmost superiority. As noted above, only Energy Star Windows can guarantee your money back through energy savings.
Frame – The frame of a window is simply the outer construction of the window that holds the glass panes in place. Frames can be anywhere from extremely energy efficient to completely imprudent depending on the materials used and the environment they are being used in. Common frames include thermal aluminum and vinyl, amongst other less efficient options (wood, etc.).
Gas Filled – This refers to a gas filling between the panes of the window. For instance, either Argon or Krypton gas; both of which increase the overall insulation and energy efficiency of the window.
Krypton Filled – This refers specifically to the window being injected with Krypton gas between the panes. Quite similar to Argon gas, this will provide for extra insulation and energy efficiency.
Low-E Coated – This refers to windows using low emissivity glass. Low-E coatings are a thin film applied to each side of your window’s glass in order to block out long wave infrared energy (UV light waves) while still allowing short waves (visible light waves) to enter the home.
NFRC- This refers to the National Fenestration Rating Council, which “provides accurate information to measure and compare energy performance of windows, doors and skylights.” Ratings such as the R and U-Value were created by the NFRC to make shopping for energy efficient products easier. As a reference, Energy Star qualified products have only the most superior in NFRC ratings.
R-Value – This refers to the measurement of a material’s resistance to heat flow and unwanted energy transfer. A higher R-Value typically means better overall efficiency.
SHGC – Better known as the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, the SHGC of a window determines its ability to deflect solar heat. SHGC is expressed as a value from 0 to 1, with 0 implying the lowest possible solar heat transmission.
Spacer – Spacers are often the most overlooked part of energy efficient window construction. The spacer is what separates, but also holds together the panes of glass. Without an efficient material and quality construction of the window spacer, the entire window can lose much of its potential energy efficiency.
Triple Pane – This refers again to the number of glass panes being used in the construction of the window. More panes generally means more insulation and better energy efficiency; however, triple pane windows in particular are best suited for colder climates that don’t often experience extreme heat.
U-Value -This refers to the measurement of a window’s ability to insulate. Generally U-Values run between 0.20 and 1.20, with the lower numbers indicating a better resistance to heat flow and better overall insulation. In a hot place like Tucson or Phoenix, you don’t want to overdo insulation, so a balanced U-Value is key to maximum energy efficiency.
VT – Otherwise known as Visible Transmittance, the VT value of a window simply tells you how much visible light is being let through. This is done a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 being the maximum amount of visible light being transmitted. Visible light is not to be confused with UV light, which can damage not only you, but also many objects within your home. A quality window will transmit very low amounts of UV light while still allowing for a decent amount of VT.
At American Openings, all of our windows come Energy Star qualified and locally manufactured. That means you get the best of both worlds: maximum energy savings, and windows that are specifically designed for the Tucson and Phoenix environments.
If you have any questions about any other terms you may have encountered or just want to learn more about what the best options for window replacements in your home are, then please don’t hesitate to call or email us today! We’ll be happy to help!
If you’re studying up on window replacements before deciding what may be best for your home, then you’ve probably come across a multitude of window companies that boast the benefits of vinyl windows.
But what about the companies like American Openings that also include aluminum window replacement options alongside their vinyl selections?
Many times you may hear vinyl-only installers tell you that aluminum cannot compete with their product, but this is most likely because their distributor simply doesn’t offer aluminum options for them to talk up.
However, there is also the possibility that vinyl is the best option for your home as well as your personal design needs. In such a case, vinyl-only installers may simply be looking out for your best interest in overlooking aluminum as an option.
Due to this, you may have encountered a large mix of information about the two different window framing options, so we’re here to clarify between what’s right and wrong when it comes to aluminum versus vinyl window replacements.
Comparing and Contrasting Vinyl & Aluminum Windows
The most obvious and critical difference between vinyl and aluminum is the superior energy efficiency of vinyl.
Because it’s well known that modern vinyl does best to insulate and maintain in-home temperatures, often times people assume then that aluminum windows must be completely opposite in this sense.
This is especially true because most consumers are unaware that ‘aluminum’ windows use a framing material that is more accurately referred to as ‘thermal’ aluminum. With the simple addition of its descriptive adjective it becomes immediately apparent that this is no ordinary aluminum.
They may not be as energy efficient as vinyl windows, but Energy Star qualified windows are still just that, and as such are guaranteed to earn you your money back through energy savings – whether they be framed with vinyl or aluminum is a non-factor really.
So why does a homeowner choose one type of window replacement over the other?
Simply put, it is most often a decision that hinders on the homeowner’s style needs as well as their budget.
Although it’s true that aluminum windows offer companies a smaller profit margin, we feel that it’s in the best interest of the customer to be able to decide what works best for their personal needs.
Of course we’ll only recommend what we feel is the absolute best option for your home, but should you prefer say – a less obstructed outward view, or a less costly choice that doesn’t sacrifice durability, then you may want to overlook a vinyl recommendation and go with aluminum instead.
Vinyl has a variety of styles to choose from, but it’s actually aluminum that is easiest to manipulate and therefore can be formed into more irregular window shapes.
Another thing to consider is if you will want to paint your frames along with your home’s exterior at a later date. If so, this can only be done with aluminum frames, as vinyl cannot be painted; however, it can certainly be manufactured to your specific style needs prior to installation.
More differences include vinyl being slightly more durable and energy efficient overall, but it also lacks the superior moisture resistance of aluminum.
All in all the most common discrepancy for homeowners, between choosing vinyl or aluminum, is in the frame itself. With thinner, sleeker, less-noticeable frames – aluminum windows win the battle for that picturesque view you’ve been wanting.
Vinyl on the other hand takes the cake for overall insulation and efficiency, and though they can cost slightly more they also save slightly more to counter the extra toll of the investment.
It may seem rather bizarre that one might choose aluminum windows purely for their aesthetics, even in this scorching desert environment, but the fact of the matter is that many homes in the Tucson and Phoenix areas were built during a time where aluminum was the main alternative to inefficient wood frames.
With this in mind, it can be difficult for a homeowner to completely offset the style and appearance of their home’s exterior by installing all new vinyl replacement windows when their home looks far better with the aluminum framing in each opening.
That said, it’s quite clear that really it’s up to the homeowner whether or not they want to go with vinyl or aluminum replacements.
If they are both Energy Star qualified, it’s ensured that you will be saving money, which is the main purpose of replacing your old home windows, so then it simply becomes a question of aesthetic preference.
Hopefully this helps some to clarify the matter of aluminum versus vinyl, and you can now make the right decision for your home window replacements!
For more information you can also reference an older blog post we did highlighting the main features of vinyl windows as well as some of the differences of aluminum windows.
Click Here to read more!
At American Openings a top priority of ours has always been customer service. We want you to feel comfortable and informed in making your decision to replace your home’s old windows or doors.
That’s why we make it easy and convenient for you to set up an appointment and have your home’s openings assessed by our knowledgeable and professional team!
Just look for the “Make Your Appointment” or “Contact Us” boxes throughout the site and fill out the form to get started on scheduling your free in-home estimate.
After you’ve provided us with your name, email and a phone number we can contact you by, we will take the time to evaluate your inquiry – making sure we can address all your needs – and then get back to you immediately.
Since we’re here for your convenience, let us help to work around your schedule so as to make your appointment at a time that best suits you. During your free in-home estimate you can be assured our team will hear out your needs and give you the best options along with a clear idea of what the cost of your window replacements will include.
Often times door and window replacement companies will leave you in the dark on what exactly you are getting for your money and why it’s not only necessary, but smart to pursue. Some of these companies may have their heart in the right place and provide you with exactly what you need; others, may not.
At American Openings we preach the opposite! We believe that the more informed you are about the product you are receiving, the more you will understand why it makes sense to invest in it.
Without a doubt, Energy Star Windows and Doors can save you money and have a multitude of added benefits to your home, such as noise reduction, curb appeal, etc. What’s important though is that you as the homeowner aren’t oversold on energy efficient windows or doors that would better suit a different environment.
As a local window manufacturer since 1992, we can safely say we know what works optimally in our home environment and we want to pass that knowledge down to you, so that you can make an informed decision on what door or window replacements are going to benefit your home the most.
Call or email today, and find out what American Openings can do for your home!
Windows and Doors Phoenix AZ: (480) 894-3457
Windows and Doors Tucson AZ: (520) 664-1202
With most of their busy work out of the way by this time of year, many homeowners in Tucson and Phoenix AZ are looking toward their first (or maybe even their second!) home improvement project for the year.
With so many options all boasting the potential for great return on investment, which are the top picks for home improvement projects in 2013?
At the top of the list, with the highest ROI of all, is home window replacement. Followed closely by door replacements and roof replacement it seems that the most return on investment comes from those that are primarily focused around energy efficient replacements.
As an average across the country, new home windows typically provide anywhere from a 70-80% return along with continuous cost savings on your energy bills! Some places like DC are even seeing ROI as high as 96% from energy efficient window replacements.
It’s no secret that replacing your home’s old windows will indeed net you a nice return along with increasing your in-home comfort and boosting your home’s curb appeal.
So if you were looking to make some home improvements in 2013, but hadn’t decided which ones exactly just yet, then look to your windows and doors first!
Call American Openings in Tucson & Phoenix for quality, locally manufactured, top-of-the-line Energy Star window and door replacements.
If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment you can also use our contact form on the right-hand side of this page!
In the midst of tax season, homeowners – and namely our customers – may be wondering if their recent window replacements will get them a tax credit this year.
The short answer is that if you’ve had your windows manufactured and installed by American Openings, then you can indeed receive a tax credit. This is simply because American Openings only offers Energy Star qualified window replacements.
So what if you decide to replace your windows with us later this year instead of before April 15th? No sweat. Energy Star states that windows “installed between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013,” are eligible for the tax credit program.
Essentially, if you don’t make it in time or didn’t have your new home windows installed last year, then you’ll still be eligible for credit in the coming year!
Another requirement for the credit, besides your window replacements meeting the Energy Star program qualifications, are that the windows must have been installed into your primary residence.
You can visit this link to the Energy Star 2012-2013 Tax Credit page to learn more and see just how much you can get back in addition to your future energy savings!
It’s no secret that the Arizona desert heat is one of our biggest natural contenders year round. It comes early and it stays too long, and with it comes all the potential dangers of ultraviolet light exposure.
In the window replacement industry, mainly in the Tucson & Phoenix areas, we’ve found that due to our environmental conditions, one of homeowners greater concerns is how their new home windows will deal with both the sun’s heat and its harmful UV rays.
Well we already know for sure that American Openings manufactures only the most energy efficient windows for the Tucson & Phoenix environments, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that within our window design we’ve also factored the danger of UV light as well.
Your home window replacements‘ Low-E coatings not only help to provide and compliment the overall insulation features of the window, but they are also specifically designed to block out and reduce transmission of UV light.
It could seem as if low emittance glazes we’re much like a window tint; however, they differ in that they are also intentionally designed to minimize the sacrifice of visible light while still combating longer, infrared light waves.
UV rays can be damaging to not only ourselves but also many organic home materials like fabrics, paint, artwork, carpets, wood, etc. By investing in Energy Star qualified, Low-E coated window replacements you are not only saving the most energy possible, but also preventing the degradation and wear of many objects within your home from consistent UV exposure.
Our energy efficient, low emittance window coatings are just another reason to consider investing in American Openings for your home window replacements! Give us a call today, and see how a local manufacturer can give you all the features you need for the Arizona desert, and none that you don’t!
If you are looking to get window replacement quotes for your Tucson or Phoenix home, then chances are that you’re looking to invest specifically in energy efficient windows.
There are so many questions that can arise though in the process of choosing the best and most energy efficient windows for your home, and at the best price too, so that’s why we’re here to give you a few tips on what to be conscious of while searching around for window companies.
Basic Tips on Looking for Window Replacements
- Get Enough Information
Always be sure to collect as much information on the windows you’re thinking about purchasing. That includes: Energy Star qualifications, NFRC ratings, types of frames being offered (styles and materials), window pricing, installation pricing – whatever the case may be you need to keep note of all these things so you can see where one manufacturer differs from another.
- Share Your Information
If you have friends who had their home windows replaced recently, then inquire with them about their personal experience with the whole process and the results. Show them the information you’ve gathered.
Also, share that information with the other companies giving you quotes and inquire as to why they’ve chosen to include/exclude certain features.
- Have a Budget in Mind, Not A Number of Windows
This may sound a little strange, but the idea behind it is that you don’t want to waste your money on average windows. A quality energy efficient window replacement should last a lifetime essentially.
If you get a few in-home estimates and it seems you don’t have the right budget to cover all the windows that needed replacing then don’t skimp on quality. Either replace a few for the moment, or wait to get the entire job done at once with windows that will pay for themselves later.
We know it’s difficult to just completely ignore price, so we suggest finding the right balance between quality and affordability like with most home investments. At American Openings our local operations allow us to consistently offer top-notch quality at much lower prices than competitors.
- There is Such a Thing as Too Much Quality
We mentioned quality as being crucial to your choice in window replacements and in comparing your different quotes because it truly does make a world of difference. However, there is such a thing as overqualified when it comes to home windows.
This is especially true in the hot Arizona desert where mostly we worry about the scorching summers. Many window manufacturers distribute or catalog all of their available windows to their partners regardless of location, and because of this often times home owners can find themselves looking at windows that aren’t necessarily the best suited for the environment they live in.
Be wary of this! You can easily avoid such a problem by going with a local window manufacturer like American Openings!
If you’re doing your homework right it would be wise of you to organize it all as well. Keep your quotes, brochures, pamphlets, window ratings, etc. from each window company in separate folders for easy comparison later.
These are just a few tips to help you keep on track while getting your window replacement quotes. You can also see an older blog post we did about some red flags to look out for when getting your quotes.In any event, you should always be looking for what works best for you and your home.
American Openings provides free in-home estimates, so if you haven’t gotten one yet be sure to make your appointment today. It only takes a brief time and you’ll have an expert opinion on the best solution for your home’s windows. We can also help to evaluate other quotes you’ve received, clear up confusion over ratings and terminology, and provide assistance with any other questions that you may have!