Windows play an important role in the living environment. They supply the interiors with daylight but are also a decisive factor for the energy balance of a building. Outdated windows and frames increase the energy requirement, especially in winter, and should be replaced with new ones as soon as possible. In addition, modern windows are better at protecting against outside noise. This also significantly improves the quality of life in your own home.
Features of Obsolete Windows
How do you know it’s time to replace old windows? There are features on both the pane and the frame that reveal that the existing windows have had their day.
The so-called type plate is usually located at the top of the window. This provides information about the window type, size, material, and – particularly important for checking the pane design’s energy standard. In addition, type plates are usually provided with a serial number, which provides information about production time. The date of manufacture is an important indicator of how tight, insulating, and energy-saving the windows are.
Windows that were installed before the mid-1990s often do not have thermal insulation glazing. It is sufficient to hold a lighter or a candle in front of the window to be on the safe side. With heat-insulating glazed windows, the flame is reflected in a different color. And windows with multiple glazing reflect the flame twice as often as they are glazed – for double glazing, that means you see four flames. If one of them differs in color from the others, the window is also heat-resistant glazed.
Modern Window Glass Is Energy Efficient
Glazing is important if you want to save energy. Triple-glazed super glass is now used in most cases. In contrast to double-glazed windows, two heat-insulating cavities can be filled with the inert noble gas krypton. In this way, a significantly higher temperature can be maintained inside than outside. A temperature difference of up to 20 ° C is not uncommon. This saves a lot of energy for heating in winter. However, the prerequisite for the effectiveness and efficiency of such modern window glass is that the frames are tight.
Which Window Frames Are Recommended?
Especially with outdated windows, it is usually not worthwhile to just replace the panes. After all, what use is a thermally glazed window in a frame that is not airtight? The only thing is that there is a large selection of window frames. How do you know which material to choose?
Overview of Frame Materials
Wooden frames are valued primarily for their naturalness. Wood already has insulating properties that can positively support the energy balance of houses and apartments, especially in moderate climates.
Fiberglass is an innovative option because it does not swell, rot, or warp. Window frames made from this material are very robust and resistant. At the same time, they are easy to care for and require little maintenance. These frames convince with long service life.
With a clear conscience, aluminum can be described as a tried and tested material for window frames. It weighs little but is still solid and flexible. Aluminum frames are corrosion-free and weather-resistant and require little maintenance.
Plastic window frames (e.g., PVC, UPVC) are particularly energy-efficient due to their ability to trap air. Apart from their insulating properties, they are UV-resistant, relatively low-maintenance, and often less expensive than frames made of other materials.
5. Aluminum-Wood Composite
Window frames made of aluminum and wood combine the positive properties of both materials. If you don’t want to do without the natural insulating power of wood but are afraid of the maintenance effort, this composite material is good and energy-saving.
Legal Information About the Installation of Windows
As with the choice of facade color, owners are sometimes restricted by building regulations when making changes to windows (and doors).
As an apartment owner, you must obtain the consent of the community of owners before replacing windows. And like other property owners, they may have to comply with urban planning regulations when choosing windows. If a modernization of the windows is planned, the municipality often has a say in the shape, color, and material.
Before replacing outdated windows, creating completely new sources of daylight, or ordering the windows of your choice for the new building, it is essential to consult the local authorities.
Hire a Window Fitter vs. Do It Yourself
Apart from the fact that a professional partner also offers competent advice when it comes to window construction, it pays to use an expert when installing windows. Because laypeople can quickly get a lot wrong with this work. And when you install windows yourself, the most common mistakes happen during assembly. The result is crooked windows, torn masonry, and leaky window frames. A screwed-up energy balance is the least of these. In the worst case, mold can develop later, caused by leaky and improperly installed windows. This is not only a cost factor but also a health hazard.
And the follow-up costs are likely to be significantly higher than the expenses for a window professional who gets it right right away – and if not, the client has the right.