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Learning How to Choose the Best MN Replacement Windows – Part 1

If you know you need to replace your windows but you don’t know where to start in your search for the right ones for your home, we have some tips to help you begin.  Comparing the performance of many different windows might be something that any homeowner has questions on. There are many claims that one window might be better than another and with all of the choices, you may be unsure on which to go with. You need to make meaningful decisions and if you cannot do this then you might choose the wrong windows. Consumers also need to sort through specific window ratings in order to find out how the window performance is overall.  Here’s what what we recommend when it comes to choosing the best replacement windows.

Window Ratings

jl0722c3One of the biggest recommendations that we make is to look at the National Fenestration Rating Council (NRFC), as well as the American Architectural Manufacturers Association or AAMA. This is because they can provide accurate information in order to measure, compare, and choose from many of the energy-efficient windows, skylights, and even doors that you can choose from. With this in mind, look at the different performance metrics that are used with these windows.

The U-Factor

The U-Factor is what is used when it comes to measuring how well the window is insulated to trap the heat inside the home. They should fall between 0.20 and 1.20. The insulation factor itself is indicated by the R-Value. Both of these should be thought about, and they both come into play with the U-Value. The lower this value is, the better the windows are at insulating.

Solar Heat Gain

This is what measures how the window is able to block the heat created from the sunlight. This factor is known as SH GC. It measures how much solar radiation is put through the windows, even if it is direct or just absorbed and then released within the home. It can be a number between 0 or 1. The lower the number, the less solar heat gets in and disperses throughout the home.

The lower number on windows is required anywhere that has high heat exposure.  The sun that comes in through the windows might overheat the home, and with a lower rating, it has less of a chance to heat the home up. In those climates that are cooler, the higher the number, the better it is since they can save on heating costs in the colder months.  With Minnesota climates you get both, but depending on whether you have northern or southern exposure, you might choose different windows for each side of the house.  A window installation professional can help you evaluate your needs in this area.

Visible Transmittance

This is shown as VT and it measures the amount of light that is put through the window. It can be a number between 0 or 1. The higher the number, the more the light is put through the window. If the window is made from clear glass then it would be .93. 93 percent of the light that hits the glass will then go through it. If there is more than one light, the others will go down in percentage. The more tinted the glass, the higher the number.

If you have questions about window ratings, give us a call.  And look for Part 2 of this post next week.  


Window Outfitters is a premier Window Replacement, doors, siding contractor and installer. As Contractor in the St Paul, Minneapolis, (Twin Cities) Minnesota (MN) metro, we proudly serve, but are not limited to, the following areas: Minneapolis Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows, Replacement Window Contractors Minnesota, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Lakeville, Savage, Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, Eagan, St Paul, Hastings, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Farmington MN, Chaska, Shakopee, Chanhassen, Victoria, Mendota Heights Anderson Windows Minneapolis, Marvin Windows Minneapolis.