How Much Weight Can You Put In A Vinyl Window Three Key Features to Look For When Shopping For Vinyl Replacement Windows

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Three Key Features to Look For When Shopping For Vinyl Replacement Windows

You have decided on vinyl as the material of choice for your new replacement windows. Unfortunately, not all vinyl windows are created equal. There are many components and processes that can be used to create vinyl replacement windows. This guide identifies three specific features to look for when comparing vinyl replacement windows.

The Frame
The mainframe of the window can be considered the most important part of the window design because it provides the structural integrity of the window. All homes experience constant change and movement throughout life. To counter the move, look for windows with fully welded frames. Windows that are mechanically fastened, or chemically glued, or not structurally bonded are weak and can bend or crack during temperature changes and movement.

Next, ask about the quality of the vinyl used in the window profile. Ask your contractor if there is a significant percentage of “regrind” or recycled vinyl in the frame. Windows that use a lot of regrind are weaker because chemicals are added to increase the strength of the recycled vinyl.

Finally, do vinyl replacement windows have a proper drainage system? Drainage weep systems away from windows and your home reduce water infiltration.

Insulating Glass System
Glass makes up almost 80% of the window and dictates the thermal performance of the window. Look for windows with double or triple glazing packages with Low-E coating with Argon or Krypton gas content. Low-E glass contains a microscopic layer that acts like a filter. In the summer, Low-E glass allows plenty of visible light to pass through while blocking infrared solar energy, keeping your room cooler. In the winter, glass helps keep rooms warmer by reflecting heat back into the home while letting warm sunlight in. The result is simple … lower energy costs! In addition, Low-E glass blocks harmful UV rays, helping to reduce damage to carpets and furniture in your home. An insulating gas, such as Argon or Krypton, can be added to the air space in the glass unit. Both gases are denser than air and prevent the formation of convection currents, reducing heat transfer between the inside and outside of the house. This increases home comfort while reducing heating and cooling bills.

Balance System

If you buy the most popular style on the market, double vinyl replacement windows, the type of balance system used is the main factor in the ease of operation of the window sashes. The balance system applies tension to the sash to keep it in the desired position and allows the sash to be easily moved up and down. The three main types of balance systems available include constant force balance, spiral balance, and block and tackle balance.

Constant force balance works by using coiled steel springs to balance the weight of the window sash. The number of coils used in the constant force balance system is determined by the weight of the sash, requiring one, double or even three coils. As the number of coils increases, they limit travel and egress from the window.

And just as the size of the tape with the dirt in the coil sticks and it is difficult to get back to the small, the coil in the balance of constant force will remain when the dirt and debris get in the coil. This causes difficulties in window operation.

The balance of the spiral depends on the tension applied to the spiral rod inside the balance tube. Tension is applied by turning the spiral rod protruding from the bottom of the counter tube clockwise. As more revolutions are applied, more tension is applied to the spring to balance the weight of the sash. As the weight of the sash increases, more turns in the balance are required resulting in increased pressure on the internal spring. This pressure can make the window sash difficult to raise and lower, disrupt balance and eventually cause balance failure that causes the upper sash to drop and the lower sash to not stay up.

The Block and Tackle Balance System is more advanced in design and technology than years past. Today, Block and Tackle Balances are considered Weight Management Systems. This system works by using a series of pulleys to change the minimum stretch of the coil spring to the required amount of sash travel.

The Balance Block and Tackle system uses a composite cable to connect the coil spring to the balance shoe. This composite blend is used in mountaineering ropes and other high tension applications. Additionally, the Block and Tackle Balance System requires no lubrication or adjustment to ensure proper operation.

This Weight Management System is designed to balance the weight of each sash. On average, block and tackle balances have 40% less operating force than spiral balances.

So, when comparison shopping for vinyl replacement windows, look for window systems that come with fully welded frames and sashes, high-performance insulating glass packages and block and tackle weight management systems. When these three features are combined, you can be sure that you are buying a window system that will provide strength, comfort, energy efficiency and ease of use.

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