7 myths about vinyl replacement windows
Millions of homes around the United States are losing energy through the older inefficient windows. On the top of that older windows are difficult to open, clean, and require a lot of upkeep. Energy efficient windows can significantly reduce your utility bills and make your home more comfortable as well. Then, why so many homeowners are still hesitating to get new windows? Part of the problem is the myths. Vinyl replacement windows have not been without their critics and some of the early myths have been difficult to dispel.
This page will help you separate the myths from the facts. Read this section and use your common sense. You are smart and you can think for yourself. And you are the only person who can decide.
Vinyl windows are not cost effective.
Some argue that vinyl windows are not cost effective because of the doubtful energy savings and a long payback time.
FACT: Energy efficient vinyl windows are among the most cost effective and logical solutions to improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.
FACT: Older single-pane glass windows have R-Value of around 1 and U-Value around .90. The truth is that with such energy ratings, these windows do not stop the heat and cold transfer, at all. Having single-pane windows is like having one window in your home open at all times. Double-pane windows with LowE and argon gas have generally R-Values or around 4 and U-Value of around .30. Depending on your manufacturer and the quality of the glass package, these windows are about 3-4 x more energy efficient than the single pane windows.
FACT: ENERGY STAR window ratings are more stringent than ever, and the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are already working on even more stringent ratings that will go into effect in October 2023. Also, DOE with its plan for net-zero homes in 2020 is already promoting windows with R-Value 5 and higher.Think about it. If energy efficient windows were not that energy efficient, why would the Department of Energy put so much emphasis on windows in the development of net-zero homes strategy, in the first place?
FACT: Millions of homeowners have already purchased energy efficient windows. Because of economies of scale prices went down, and affordability increased.
Vinyl frames will yellow and sag overtime.
FACT: High quality vinyl windows will not sag and keep their beautiful luster for a lifetime. Just shop for quality.
FACT: The truth is that you will get what you will pay for. This adage applies to replacement windows, as well.
FACT: Some manufacturers, indeed, use lower quality vinyl resin with lower amounts of titanium dioxide (TiO2,) or recycled material called pellets. These frames have polar blue shade and tend to yellow overtime. High quality vinyl frames are made of pure vinyl virgin resin – the material that has never been used before. It has pure painter’s white color (not blue or grey looking) that will last for a lifetime. Also, manufacturers of premium windows use stabilizers and impact modifiers to add to the strength of the frame.
FACT: Additionally, quality vinyl windows have metal reinforcement in the meeting rails. This adds to the strength of the frame and prevents sagging.
FACT: Vinyl windows are so durable that the vast majority of them installed over the past 25 years are still in use.1
Vinyl does not insulate well.
FACT: Vinyl has excellent thermal properties.
FACT: Vinyl is a non-conductive material and in respect to energy efficiency, it outperforms competitive products such as aluminum, which is a highly conductive material.
FACT: High quality vinyl frames and sashes are fusion welded for protection against air and water infiltration. Additionally, vinyl frames are constructed of various sized airspaces, also called chambers. Airspaces with dead air trapped inside are an excellent barrier to heat transfer.
Vinyl windows look artificial.
FACT: You can have the appealing beauty of custom-crafted windows.
FACT: New cutting-edge technologies make it possible to achieve beautiful interior and exterior colors on vinyl windows. These high-performing laminates feature rich hues and natural-looking wood finishes that are remarkably strong and fade resistant.
Vinyl windows cause condensation.
FACT: Windows do not cause condensation. They prevent humidity from escaping and provide easy surface for condensation to collect.
FACT: Old drafty windows allow humidity to escape.
FACT: New energy-efficient windows create a tighter seal, and the extra moisture in your home is unable to escape, therefore making you more aware of excess humidity.
FACT: The key to reducing condensation is to eliminate excess humidity.
There’s no need to get insulated glass filled with gas. Gas will leak out anyway.
FACT: Windows with Intercept Spacer minimize the probability of seal failure.
FACT: First generation windows featuring aluminum spacer, because of its inflexibility, had a pretty high rate of seal failure – one of the main causes for leaking gas and foggy windows.
FACT: Intercept spacers flex instead of the sealant during temperature changes. This prevents spacer movement and sealant failure.
Vinyl windows harm environment and people.
FACT: Vinyl windows are among the safest and environmentally friendly materials in the market.
FACT: Vinyl is made of plentiful sustainable resources. The leading component in the production of vinyl is common salt, an abundant and inert natural resource. More than 50% of vinyl resin is derived from salt, natural gas or petroleum makes up the balance. Worldwide, vinyl production accounts for less than 0.3% of all annual oil and gas consumption and about 10% of annual salt consumption1.
FACT: Vinyl windows, because of energy efficiency, thermal-insulating value, low contribution to greenhouse gases, easy maintenance and superior durability, provide excellent life cycle benefits1.
FACT: A study conducted by Franklin Associates shows that vinyl windows require only one-third as much energy to manufacture as aluminum windows1.
FACT: The same study found that using vinyl over aluminum or steel window frames saves the United States nearly 2 trillion BTUs of energy per year – enough to meet the yearly electrical needs of 20,000 single-family homes1.
FACT: Vinyl windows, which are based on naturally fire retardant polymer, have excellent fire performance qualities. Vinyl is self-extinguishing when a flame source is removed1.
FACT: The vinyl industry has subject its products to extensive testing to demonstrate that they are safe to use1. Vinyl manufacturing today accounts for less than 1% of dioxin releases to the environment – less than many other manufacturing operations and building products3.
1 A Clear View-Vinyl Windows and the Environment. American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) & The Vinyl Institute (VI). March 2007
2 AAMA/WDMA report, 2010.
3 U.S. EPA Inventory of Sources of Dioxin and Dioxin-Like Compounds