LESLIE: Pat in South Dakota is on the line and looking to replace some windows. Tell us about the project.
PAT: I am going to replace some windows in an old house. And I am wondering what type of window to go with: a wooden window, a vinyl or a fiberglass.
TOM: In terms of energy saving?
PAT: That’s right.
TOM: OK. So the answer is it doesn’t much matter, because there’s a lot more to determining what type of window is going to be energy-efficient than just the material it’s made out of.
PAT: I see.
TOM: There could be extremely energy-efficient windows in all of those materials. But there are dozens of things that go into the energy efficiency of the window: not only what the frames are but what the glass is made out of, what the weatherstripping is made out of, what the frames are made out of and so on.
So what I would do is this, Pat. First of all, I would only shop for Energy Star-qualified windows. Secondly, there’s a label on the glass and it’s from the National Fenestration Rating Council – NFRC label. It’s going to have a set of numbers on there. It’s going to measure stuff like how much heat gets through the window and how much insulation the window has and so on. And look at the numbers on the NFRC label and use those to help compare brand to brand to brand.
You stick with a really good-quality window, like an Andersen, just as a new replacement window, for example. It just came out: their Model 400 Series. You really can’t go wrong. But the decision isn’t just what’s the window made out of but it’s the whole package and how that impacts the energy efficiency of your home.
PAT: OK. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck, Pat. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.