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Common Window Replacement Terminology

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 NFRC Ratings can give you an independent assessment of the energy-effiency of the replacement window you are considering.

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.

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.

energy efficient windows tucsonNFRC- 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.

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 are NFRC rated and locally manufactured. That means you get the best of both worlds: maximum energy savings, and windows that are specifically designed for the harsh desert environment.

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!

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Contact American Openings during normal business hours at (520) 664-1202.


6885 E. Southpoint Road
Tucson, Arizona 85756
Phone: (520) 664-1202
Toll-Free: (800) 430-3385