One of the best ways to save money on your heating bill is by sealing up cracks in windows. That’s why winterizing them before the cold season starts will help you survive those frigid days and nights without turning up your thermostat.

In the below post, we’ll review best practices on how to insulate your windows for winter. We’ll also evaluate whether insulating your windows is worth the cost.

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5 Ways to Winterize Your Windows

As the temperature outside starts to drop, you may notice that you have a tough time keeping your home warm. Often, this is because of poorly insulated windows.

In fact, heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.

While windows can be a big source of heat loss in your home, there are multiple ways to winterize them. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective ways to winterize your windows without replacing them, consider the following tips.

Air Seal and Caulk

Air leaks are caused by air passing through cracks and gaps around your windows.

These can be as small as a hairline crack in the window frame or something much larger like an open door, but they all have one thing in common: cool drafts that make you shiver on those cold days throughout winter months. If you feel these uncomfortable breezes at any point of time during the year then it’s worth having them checked out to ensure no heat is being lost where it should stay warm.

Inspecting the exterior of your windows for cracks and gaps is a good place to start. Make sure you look over all window frames, as well as caulking that may be deteriorating or rotting wood. These signs can lead to big problems in both functionality and safety. Check if there are any missing pieces from the glass itself (which will not only hinder light coming into your home but also make it easier for intruders).

When it comes to caulking, the best advice is often given in the worst order. First, make sure you clean and dry the area of any debris before replacing your old caulk with new one. Caulk will not stick if there are dust or dirt particles on top that could attract moisture which causes mold growth – another major concern for those looking out for their health as well as preserving property values.

Check out our detailed post to find the best caulk for air sealing windows, doors, and other parts of your home.

Weather Stripping

Weather stripping is a type of sealing material that can be used to seal doors and windows. It comes in three different types: felt, foam, or metal/vinyl strips. The most common weather stripping material is open-cell foam. When trying to decide which one will work best for you think about what your needs are as well as any pros or cons associated with each option based on their thickness (felt), flexibility (foam), and durability (metal).

How to Insulate Windows for Winter - Weather Stripping

In terms of the best foam weather stripping products, we often recommend MAGZO Foam Tape Weatherstrip. This foam weather stripping tape can be used as insulation, shock absorption and sound absorbing materials. It is easy to handle, manageable, and can be cut and conformed to a variety of shapes and sizes, making it a good foam strip for windows, doors, or any place you need to prevent unwanted heat transfer.

Thermal Window Treatments

Another way to help insulate your windows is by adding some insulating window treatments.

To do this, you can use curtains made of insulating material such as wool or silk. If you prefer to keep your windows clear and open, check out insulating blinds that are similar in concept but different in application. They’re also sold with a variety of insulating materials like aluminum composite, which is very lightweight and easy to transport should you need to relocate for various reasons.

Foam Insulation Kits

If you want a permanent solution to insulate your windows, then getting some foam insulation kits may be what you need. The beauty of these products is how well they are designed – from the ease of installation right down to their efficient design.

When installing foam insulation kits make sure you follow the instructions on the box. Even if you are somewhat confident in your abilities to install this insulating foam product, read up on any tips or warnings it may have. The insides they contain are compressed and easy to break free but once released all that force can come at a price.

Foam insulation kits come in varying sizes – typically a 2×4 foot section of starter kit insulates 10 square feet of space. Take note that these insulating kits do not include everything needed for installation; you will also need an adhesive like Super 77.

When setting up your insulating kit, make sure any surfaces you’re working with are clean before getting started.

Window Film

Window films are a clear, insulating barrier that are applied to each side of the window. They help insulate the home by slowing down the rate of heat loss through windows.

Window film insulates and improves a building’s thermal efficiency. The insulating window film shields the room from outdoor weather conditions such as rain or cold winds.

In terms of cost, window films are typically more expensive than insulating materials such as insulating curtains or blinds. With that being said, they can be effective insulators and they don’t block the view from outdoor to inside which insulating curtains or blinds would.

How to Insulate Windows for Winter - Window Film

Our favorite window film is made by 3M. The 3M Indoor 1-Window Insulation Kit is designed for insulating windows located between the inside and outside of your home. This product is quick and easy to install and can help homeowners save on energy bills.

Is Insulating Your Windows Worth It?

Is Insulating Your Windows Worth It

Insulating your windows is relatively cheap. Most blinds and window treatments cost between $75-150 for insulating window treatments. Meanwhile insulating kits cost around $25 per 2×4 ft. insulator – which if you are insulating all of your windows that means spending anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars depending on the size and size of your home.

The costs can add up but it is often worth the money because it’s an easy solution (compared to replacing your windows). Plus, because installation is simple, most people choose to insulate their windows regardless of cost. It beats living in a super cold or hot home year after year without insulating them.

In terms of ROI and cost savings from insulating windows, there are a number of variables that impact cost savings. For instance, where you live, how often you use your heating and cooling systems, your utility costs, the type of windows, and the age of your windows all play a role in savings. This makes it relatively challenging to answer if insulating your windows is entirely worth it. Ultimately, the best way to make a decision is to ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice comfort. If the answer is no, then insulate your windows.

Should I just replace my windows?

Should I just replace my windows

Air sealing and adding insulation materials is a cost effective way to squeeze some extra life out of your windows. But, at some point, it may be easier to bite the bullet and just replace your windows altogether.

Some signs you should replace windows include:

  • Leaking around the window frames. Air leaks can happen when windows are installed or even if they age. Sometimes insulating your windows with insulating kits isn’t enough to stop sealing issues from popping up.
  • Condensation and ice buildup on your windows during times of cooler weather or heavy rainfall.

Replacing old, drafty windows is a necessity for insulating your home effectively – especially if you live in colder climates. However, this solution isn’t cheap. The average cost of replacing one window is anywhere between $300-$500 depending on where you get them from and what kind of material you want (vinyl, wood, aluminum). Frequently, you can insulate all of the windows in your home for the same price of one replacement window.

Summary

In the end, insulating your windows is a cheap way to improve your energy efficiency at home. It’s an easy project that can be done in as little as an hour by anyone with basic DIY skills and little money. Anything from insulating kits to insulating curtains and blinds will help insulate your windows for winter effectively.

How can you improve your home’s look, give it a better curb appeal and improve its energy efficiency? You can do all this by removing old windows and installing new ones. However, before you go shopping for windows, you need to know what you’re looking for.

This starts with learning about the different parts; thus, ensuring that the manufacturers and installers you use will give you the kind of windows (and look) you want and desire. In the below guide, we’ll review the parts of a window, so you can make an informed buying decision

What are the Parts of a Window Called?

Balance

The balance is the mechanical device used to counterbalance the sash’s weight during both opening and closing – be it a single-hung window or a double one.

Frame

The window frame supports the whole system and is made up of the sill, jamb and head.

Glass

Inside the window frame is a piece of glass to keep the elements out and the cool/warm air in.

Head

This part of the window is located at the top of the frame and is horizontal.

Jambs

The vertical part of the window create the window frame’s sides.

Jambliner

These are the strips added to the window sides to ensure a snug fit for the sash.

Lift

This involves a handle, which lifts the lower sash.

Rails

A double-hung window has three rails. The upper and lower ones are situated on the horizontal part of the sash. In the middle is the check rail. It’s where the upper piece of the lower sash links to the bottom piece of the upper sash.

Sash

The sash is what holds the window in place even while it’s moved.

Sash Lock

This locking apparatus clicks with the sash lock strike to eliminate any rattling.

Sill

Often called the stool, it’s the primary horizontal part that makes up the bottom part of the frame.

Weep Hole

These are located on the window sill and are individual openings that ensure condensation and water escapes.

parts of a double hung window diagram

Other Parts of a Double Hung Window

Casing

This is the window’s ornate frame or molding that closes up the space between the wall and jamb/frame.

Exterior Aluminum Cladding

A window’s outer part is generally encased by extruded aluminum and has a factory finish to protect the window from the elements.

Fixed Panel

This part of the window doesn’t move and is more of a sidelight or accent to it.

Grilles

This is more of an ornate piece of the window, giving the appearance of several glass panes due to the visual division of window panels.

Hinged Glass Panel

A glass panel will open inward, letting you quickly access the grilles, shades and blinds found between the panes.

Lock Handle

This is the apparatus found on the window jamb.

Mullion

This is an integral piece that links at least two windows together.

Operator

This crank-operated device will open and close a window.

Screen

This is a woven mesh of fiberglass, metal or plastic that spans the window opening to ensure air passes through.

Weatherstrip

This strong piece of material will cover the joint between the frame and sash to eliminate air leaks and keep water from getting in.

Additional Structures That Make Up A Window

Apron

This decorative trim is located under the window stool, giving the window interior a sleek, modern design.

Hinges

The kind of window you have determines the hinges’ location. If you have a casement window, the hinges on the jambs of the non-opening side. For an awning window, the hinges are located on the frame head as the window opens up from the window. On hopper windows, the hinges can be found on the sill, as the window will open from the top.

Spacers

Spaces located on the window frame bottom and top will hold at least two glass panes together. These help to insulate the window.

Common Materials Used On Windows

Fiberglass

The window sash and frame are made up of five-layer fiberglass material.

Vinyl

These are extruded stiff PVS on the exterior and interior sash and frame surfaces.

Wood

Solid wood makes up the window sash and frame.

If you are searching for replacement windows for your home in New Jersey, you may be confused by all of the technical lingo provided about replacement windows and really don’t know what is best for your home.

In the below guide, we will share with you ways to evaluate replacement windows objectively without the pressure of a sales person who claims to have one and only one product that is the best money can buy.

We’ll also cover facts about replacement windows in New Jersey and will give you all of the information you need to prepare yourself for your replacement purchase. In addition, we’ll provide some insight on the top window replacement companies in New Jersey to assist you with finding a quality contractor that can provide you with an estimate for your project.

Why Replace Your Windows?

Why Replace Your Windows in NJ

There are multiple reasons why people replace their windows. In a recent survey conducted by Window and Door Magazine the top 10 reasons to replace your windows are:

  1. Energy efficiency – One of the primary sources for energy loss in a home results from inefficient and poorly sealed windows. You can realistically expect to save 15- 20% or more on your utility bills with replacement windows. Older homes with windows that have single pane glass can realize even higher savings. With the price of energy continuing to rise, your savings will continue to compound for as long as you stay in the home.
  2. Easy Cleaning – Windows get dirty often and drastically reduce the amount of visible light in your home. The ability to clean your windows is more important than ever, especially as more of stay home for longer periods of time. Over the years, many new features have been developed to assist in window cleaning. Most double hung windows feature easy tilt in sashes which allow cleaning of the exterior glass from the interior of your home. Some casement windows crank out and over to allow cleaning for the inside. Others provide exterior glass coatings that keep windows clean for longer period of time.
  3. Low to Zero Maintenance – Today, many manufacturers offer an exterior window that requires virtually no maintenance. Other than cleaning and inspecting the caulk joints, you should enjoy many years of worry free maintenance to your windows and trim. Windows made of vinyl, fiberglass, composite material, aluminum clad wood, vinyl clad wood or all aluminum will provide you with varying degrees of low maintenance. Most will eliminate the need to paint on a regular basis which will save on your painting bills.
  4. Aesthetics – New windows can provide a new and modern look for your home. They also can match your original home while delivering energy saving benefits. Most window replacement companies offer different color choices for the exterior and hardwood interiors. Grid options can also give you an opportunity to totally change the look of your home on the outside.
  5. Comfort – Another great benefit of new windows is the reduction of cold drafts in the winter and hotspots in the house during the summer. New energy efficient windows with reflective properties help keep radiant heat inside in the winter and
    outside in the summer. This helps keep homes, especially those in climates like New Jersey, cool and comfortable all year long!
  6. Noise reduction – Double and triple pane glass, Low E coatings, Argon, Krypton gas, and modern weather stripping all contribute to a quieter home when you have your windows replaced. For those high traffic areas, laminated glass can dramatically reduce sound transmission through your windows.
  7. Safety – Today’s modern windows have easy to use features that provide an escape route in case of fire. Ease of operation, easy tilt latches and the ability to totally remove sashes can provide you with peace of mind in case of fire. Tempered or safety glass provides protection in high traffic and high hazard areas where there is danger of falling through the glass or glass breakage. For the ultimate in security protection, laminated glass can prevent or reduce the chance of break-ins and eliminate the need for security bars.
  8. Durability – High quality windows are built with the latest advances in technology. You can expect to get many years of trouble free performance, low maintenance and energy savings with quality replacement windows. Many manufacturers are now offering limited lifetime warranties.
  9. Re-sale value – New windows enhance your homes value and are one of many value rating points for appraisers.
  10. UV protection – Fading of carpet, furniture, floors, and drapes is commonplace with old windows. With new glass technology, these issues can be drastically reduced without dramatically affecting the amount of visible light transmittance.

Types of Replacement Windows in NJ

Types of Replacement Windows in NJ

There are a number of different types of replacement window options to consider. When choosing a window type, make sure to take things like energy efficiency ratings, price, maintenance, durability, strength, and color selections into account.

Wood Windows

Wood windows have been around forever and remain a popular choice for people looking to achieve a traditional aesthetic. Wood windows provide very good thermal performance overall due to natural insulating qualities.

Some neighborhoods, especially historic ones, often require that replacement windows be made of wood. When using wood windows proper weather stripping is key to prevent drafts and maximize energy efficiency.

The biggest drawback to wood replacement windows is definitely the cost. There are also a lot of “bad” wood windows out there. Pay attention to they type of lumber and make sure it’s treated after it is cut to maintain aesthetics and performance.

  • Energy Efficiency: Very Good
  • Price: High
  • Maintenance: High
  • Durability: Fair
  • Strength: Good
  • Color Selection: Very Good

Wood Clad Windows

Wood clad windows are a good option if wood windows are desired but maintenance is a major concern. Cladding is typically an aluminum or vinyl protective cover that shields the wood exterior from weather but leaves the natural wood exposed on the inside.

There are 3 types of wood clad windows to consider:

  1. Extruded aluminum clad windows
  2. Roll formed aluminum clad windows
  3. Vinyl clad windows

Extruded aluminum is a little more durable than roll-formed. Whereas vinyl clad windows are the least durable because vinyl is broken down
by the suns rays over time. However, vinyl’s low thermal conduction properties may provide a slightly higher energy efficiency rating over aluminum.

  • Energy Efficiency: Very Good
  • Price: High
  • Maintenance: Very Good
  • Durability: Good
  • Strength: Good
  • Color Selection: Good

Vinyl Windows

Once upon a time, vinyl windows were considered a less than ideal choice for window replacement. Design enhancements and improvements in vinyl formulation has improved the quality of the product. And now it is a nice alternative to wood.

Vinyl’s low thermal conduction properties make it nearly ideal for use in windows. Overall the thicker the vinyl, the stronger and more energy efficient the vinyl window will be. Remember: Not all vinyl windows are created equal. The type of vinyl used in the window has a big impact on the performance and lifespan of the product.

  • Energy Efficiency: Very Good
  • Price: Moderate
  • Maintenance: Very Good
  • Durability: Good
  • Strength: Average
  • Color Selection: Average

Cellular PVC Windows

Cellular PVC windows are fairly new to the window replacement market. Cellular PVC is a solid, extruded material that has the working characteristics of wood, and is used for interior trim, exterior trim, and paneling as well as windows and doors, blinds, and
furniture.

Cellular PVC has very high tensile strength and resistance to movement caused by thermal expansion and contraction. Cellular PVC is medium white and can be painted with light acrylic paints. Because profiles can be welded like vinyl and milled like wood,
they can be produced to look like a wood window. Cellular PVC avoids many potential problems of wood, such as rot, split, water absorption, peeling paint, and termites. It can be left unfinished, or with a color-matched permanent finish.

  • Energy Efficiency: Very Good
  • Price: High
  • Maintenance: Very Good
  • Durability: Good
  • Strength: Good
  • Color Selection: Good

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum Windows were very popular when energy prices were not a concern. Today aluminum windows are used more in commercial buildings because of their structural strength, which allows very large glass sizes to be used.

Aluminum is a very good conductor of heat (1000 times more than wood and vinyl) and cold. However they can be designed with a much smaller profile than wood or vinyl. This can minimize heat frame loss and yield a larger glass vision area.

  • Energy Efficiency: Average
  • Price: Moderate
  • Maintenance: Very Good
  • Durability: Very Good
  • Strength: Very Good
  • Color Selection: Good

Fiberglass

Fiberglass Windows are relatively new to the market and can provide a combination of benefits. Fiberglass is structural strong, expands and contracts very little with the temperature changes, and is a good insulator. Fiberglass frames are much stronger than vinyl and therefore can be made with a lower profile like aluminum but with better thermal efficiency.

Typically, fiberglass windows have been priced above vinyl and equal to the cost of high-end wood windows. As more new window products come on the market today, the issue of availability and price will determine which segment of the housing market will accept or demand fiberglass products.

  • Energy Efficiency: Very Good
  • Price: High
  • Maintenance: Good
  • Durability: Good
  • Strength: Very Good
  • Color Selection: Good

How to Tell if a Window is Energy Efficient

How to Tell if a Window is Energy Efficient

As you can see from this guide, there are a lot of window options in New Jersey with varying degrees of energy-efficiency. Due to the high cost of replacing windows, homeowners are often concerned with the energy efficiency rating of windows.

Check out our guide on how to create a more energy efficient home.

Finding a NJ window replacement company that can provide the best energy efficient windows is a must for those looking for a fast return on investment. But nowadays everyone says they have energy efficient windows. How do you really know how efficient a window is? What are some things that you should look for?

In this section, we’ll cover the primary energy efficient rating systems for windows in New Jersey.

NFRC

Sample NJ NFRC Label

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization that administers the only uniform, independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights, and attachment products.

Their goal is to provide fair, accurate, and reliable energy performance ratings so that consumer can compare different products and make informed buying decisions. In addition, their ratings are used to determine if products meet local building codes, establishing performance requirements, and to show benefits of new technology as it enters the marketplace.

By using the information contained on the NFRC label, consumers can reliably compare one replacement window with another. The NFRC label lists the manufacturer, describes the product, provides a source for additional information, and includes ratings for a variety of performance metrics including:

  • U-Factor measures how well a product prevents heat from escaping. U-Factor ratings generally fall between 0.20 and 1.20. The insulating value is indicated by the R-value which is the inverse of the U-value. The lower the U-value, the greater a window’s
    resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures how well a product blocks heat caused by sunlight. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window’s solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits.
  • Visible Transmittance (VT) – measures how much light comes through a product. The visible transmittance is an optical property that VT is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The higher the VT, the more light is transmitted.
  • Air Leakage (AL) is indicated by a rating expressed as the equivalent cubic feet of air passing through a square foot of window area (cfm/sq ft). Heat loss and gain occur by infiltration through cracks in the window assembly. The lower the AL, the less air will pass through cracks in the window assembly
  • Condensation Resistance (CR) measures the ability of a product to resist the formation of condensation on the interior surface of that product. The higher the CR rating, the better that product is at resisting condensation formation.

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy that promotes energy efficiency. The program provides information on the energy consumption of products and devices using different standardized methods.

ENERGY STAR qualified windows:

  • Are manufactured by an ENERGY STAR partner,
  • Are independently tested and certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and
  • Have NFRC ratings that meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Though ENERGY STAR does not require any specific technologies, certain product features are common in many certified products. Performance criteria for windows are based on the below climate zones and ratings certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).

Energy Star Climate Zones

Depending on where you are located in New Jersey, your windows should meet the performance criteria of either Northern or North-Central climate zones.

Energy Star Performance Criteria

New Jersey Window Replacement Costs

How Much Should Replacement Windows

Replacement window prices vary from company to company, product to product. Some may appear to be ridiculously low; others outrageously high. As a general rule of thumb, window replacement costs about $650 per window for materials and installation.

Here are some general estimates for different types of window replacement projects:

Vinyl pocket replacement

Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated vinyl replacement windows: $5000-$8000 average cost depending upon window manufacturer, options and installation method.

Wood Clad pocket replacement

Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated wood clad replacement windows: $8000 -$12000 average cost depending upon window manufacturer, options and installation method.

Wood Clad full tear out

Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated wood clad replacement windows (full frame tear out). Install new interior and exterior trim. $12000-$18000 average cost depending upon window manufacturer, options and installation method.

How to Choose a NJ Window Replacement Company

How to Choose a NJ Window Replacement Company

There are many window replacement companies in New Jersey and it can be overwhelming when trying to choose one. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend getting at least 3 estimates prior to making a decision.

With window replacement being a longtime investment, getting the right crew is extremely important. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your provider.

Lifetime Warranty

A lifetime warranty guarantees that the product you received from a business won’t fail,  and if it does, the service provider will replace and repair their initial work. A lifetime warranty from a window replacement company shows confidence in their work, and the warranty can also be transferred to subsequent owners of your home should you choose to sell it.

Full Transparency

Try to find a business that will discuss every detail of the window replacement process without sugarcoating anything. This not only shows their dedication but also their trustworthiness as service providers.

It’s a good sign if a contractor communicates effectively, or if they are willing to clarify terms that you don’t know. Follow-up and professionalism is something to pay attention to during the vetting process.

Reviews and Ratings

Go online and check a provider’s Better Business Bureau rating. These ratings show how well the business interacts with its customers. BBB often tracks how long a business has been operational, their transparency with customers, and even their history of complaints and how they were dealt with.

BBB has a comprehensive rating system designed to inform users with a full understanding of how well a window service provider serves their customers. Beyond the BBB, check out your potential window replacement company’s website, Facebook page, Google reviews, and any other third-party ratings. The more reviews and higher the ratings, the more you can rest assured that you will get a quality job.