How Can You Know Which Window is the Best?

Compare the Difference Between High and Low Quality Windows in Kansas City

 

It seems impossible to know which window is the best – to the naked eye, all windows basically look the same!

As with most things, however, there are more to windows than meets the eye. In fact, when you look closely, windows actually have technology built into them. A poorly designed, low quality window can be just as frustrating as a poorly designed phone or computer. And just like a piece of technology, windows are purchased as an investment. They are intended to be used for years to come.

The Challenge?

Most companies offer several window lines that vary greatly in performance and quality. This means a brand associated with high-cost windows could still offer a low-quality window.

This fact puts the homeowner in the position where they need to know for themselves the difference between high-quality and low-quality windows. 

Take On The Challenge – Learn What Makes A Window Great!

To do this, the consumer must be able to look beyond the surface and understand the most important aspects of a window – such as insulating performance, and the components that contribute to such.

We want you to be confident in the windows you choose – remember, these should last you a lifetime. Get windows that will deliver the quality your family needs and deserves for a lifetime.

This process should be as easy as possible, so we made a check-list.

Use the form below! Feel free to print out a few copies and highlight your windows as you’re shopping.

Most windows won’t meet every aspect of the ideal High-Quality Window, but they shouldn’t miss more than 1-2 marks – especially in the more important areas such as U-Factor, SHGC, Air-leakage and Performance Grade.

For more information on what some of these terms mean, visit How to Read a Window Label Page. 

 

which window is the best

* We based these numbers on the minimum requirement for ENERGY STAR qualified windows in the Kansas City Metro Area.

Other climates have different minimum requirements.

 

Practice Telling the Difference Between High and Low Quality Windows

 

Let’s look at some NFRC Window labels for practice. Not all features will be found on a window label, but the most crucial factors should be listed.

Let’s start with our window labels first. We will start with our Platinum Package and end with our EcoLite Package.

Our Platinum Window

platinum package window label

Platinum Window Summary:

This window met 11 high-quality standards including other factors you can’t see, such as multi chamber, Neopor(R) foam filled frames and sashes. This exceeds ENERGY STAR requirements, qualifying for the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient Award.

This window would definitely fall under the high-quality category. What that means for you is energy savings, home comfort, and knowing you have the best of the best when it comes to windows.

 

*Depending on the style of window and the addition of grids the ranges for each window may vary slightly.

 

High Quality Column Features

1. Triple Pane

2. Krypton Gas

3. 100% Virgin Vinyl

4. U-Factor 0.17 (better than minimum requirement 0.30)

5. SHGC 0.23 (again much better than minimum requirement of 0.40)

6. Air Leakage 0.05, exceeding the ≤.0.3 minimum requirement by 600%

7. LC-PG or Performance Grade: 50

8. DP or Design Pressure: 50

9. Double Low  E

10. Condensation Resistance 71.00

11. Water Penentration: 7.52 psf

 

Moderate Quality Window Features

None.

Low Quality Window Features

None.

Our Gold Window

Gold Package Window Label

Gold Window Summary:

This window met 10 High-Quality Standards and 1 Intermediate-Quality Standard and is an excellent energy saving window that also meets the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient requirements.

High-Quality Window Features

1. Triple Pane

2. 100% Virgin Vinyl

3. U-Factor 0.19 (better than minimum requirement 0.30)

4. SHGC 0.23 (again much better than minimum requirement of 0.40)

5. Air Leakage 0.05, exceeding the ≤.0.3 minimum requirement by 600%

6. LC-PG or Performance Grade: 50

7. DP or Design Pressure: 50

8. Double LoE

9. Condensation Resistance 71.00

10. Water Penentration: 7.52 psf

Moderate Quality Window Features

Argon Gas

Low Quality Window Features

None

Our Silver Plus Window

Silver Window Summary:

This window met 6 High-Quality Standards and 5 Intermediate-Quality Standards. Another great window choice that meets the ENERGY STAR standards for the Northern/North Central Regions including Kansas City. Plus an incredible Condensation Resistance of 60!

 

High-Quality Window Features

1. 100% Virgin Vinyl

2. Air Leakage 0.05, exceeding the ≤.0.3 minimum requirement by 600%

3. LC-PG or Performance Grade: 50

4. DP or Design Pressure: 50

5. Condensation Resistance 60.00

6. Water Penetration: 7.52 psf

Moderate-Quality Window Features

1. Double Pane

2. Argon Gas

4. U-Factor 0.27 (better than minimum requirement 0.30)

5. SHGC 0.27 (again much better than minimum requirement of 0.40)

Low-Quality Window Features

Our EcoLite Window

Eco-Lite Window Summary:

This Window met 5 High-Quality Standards and 6 Intermediate-Quality Standards.  It is a great economy window meeting the ENERGY STAR U-Factor requirement for Kansas City.

High-Quality Window Features

1. 100% Virgin Vinyl

2. Air Leakage 0.13, far exceeding the ≤.0.3 minimum requirement 

3. R-PG or Performance Grade: 35

4. DP or Design Pressure: 35

5. Water Penetration: 5.43 psf

Moderate-Quality Window Features

1. Double Pane

2. Argon Gas

3. U-Factor 0.30 (meets the minimum requirement 0.30)

4. SHGC 0.32 (much better than minimum requirement of 0.40)

5. Condensation Resistance 56.00

 Single Low E

 

Low-Quality Window Features

None

Let’s Try Another Company’s Window Label

This window label came from a newly constructed home. The homes in this neighborhood range from $300,000 to $500,000.
Let’s analyze this label and see whether this window is truly a high-quality window.

Other Window Summary:

This window met 2 High-Quality, 3 Intermediate Quality, 2 Low-Quality Standards.
The biggest disadvantage is that the U-Factor does not meet ENERGY STAR requirements for Kansas City.

The U-Factor measures the windows ability to insulate.

So, in this case, energy costs will be higher and the comfort of the home much more difficult to regulate.

Just like the other window, certain important features cannot be seen with the window label alone. For example, are the frames multi-chambered or foam filled for better insulation? Is there good weather stripping and seals? Maybe not, since it does not meet the ENERGY STAR certification minimum U-Factor Rating for KC.

Additionally, we could not determine Air Leakage, Performance Grade, Vinyl Type or Condensation Resistance. Before purchasing this window, learning this information would be very important. To be fair this is simply not able to be seen by the label, some undetermined factors may be high-quality. So, we can only go by what we can see.

High-Quality Window Column

1. DP or Design Pressure: 35

2. Water Penentration: 6.06

 

 

 

Intermediate Quality Window Column

1. Double Pane

2. SHGC 0.28 (much better than minimum requirement of 0.40)

3. Advanced Low E not known if single or double

Vinyl Type Undetermined

Air Leakage Undetermined

Performance Grade Undetermined

Condensation Resistance Unknown

 

 

Low Quality Window Column

– Air-Filled: Much poorer insulator than Argon or Krypton

– U-Factor 0.33 – this does not meet minimum ENERGY STAR standards for the Kansas City Metro area

 

Now You’re Ready to Shop For Windows!

As you can see, understanding the key factors that affect a window’s quality is crucial to making an informed decision for your home. Quality factors are often unseen, so don’t go by looks or a well-known brand name alone.

Now you know the facts, you have your checklist and you’re ready to go. If you would like to quiz us about our windows, one of our window experts would be happy to come to your home and give you all the information you’ll need to make a great decision!