Choosing Your Replacement Windows | Oahu, HI
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Hawaii is a beautiful state and one of the greatest benefits of living in Oahu, HI is the lovely warm, sunny climate. Choosing energy efficient windowssuited for a tropical, coastal climate lets residents enjoy the beautiful weather and abundance of sunlight while reducing the cost of cooling their homes.
Windows perform many functions in a home. They allow light to enter the home, provide air ventilation, and filter noise, dust, and other airborne contaminants. They also have a significant impact on a home’s appearance. All of these factors must be considered when it is time to choose a new or replacement window.
When Should a Window Be Replaced?
Several signs indicate that it is time to replace a window. Deterioration may not be noticeable if it occurs over time. Cracks warped frames, or foggy glass do not just impede the outside view. These problems mean the structural integrity is compromised and the glass could fall out or shatter. Condensation between sealed double or triple panes may not be fixable. Replacing the unit entirely may be a better option than spending the time, money, and effort to fix it.
Drafts and steadily increasing energy bills are easily recognized signs that something is letting air into the home. Outdoor noises may seem exceptionally loud. All of these observations indicate that a window is not sealed properly. A window with intact seals around the frame and glass panes provides sound insulation and prevents air exchange. As a rule, frames or glass that are over 15 years old are probably not compliant with ENERGY STAR standards.
Soft frames that chip easily have sustained water damage and let moisture into the home. A build up of moisture eventually leads to mildew, mold, and rot in the walls, carpeting, and floors. A window that is hard to open may have water damage too, or it might not fit properly because the home has settled. Rust and improper installation are also possibilities. Frames that no longer fit properly let too much air, sound, moisture, and heat into the home.
Visual Appeal and Convenience
Windows influence the visual appearance of individual rooms and a home’s exterior. Awnings are a great choice for bedrooms and sunrooms. A large picture window is perfect for enjoying beautiful scenery from a living or dining room. A casement style with a crank that that opens and closes to the left or right is convenient in kitchens and bathrooms.
Jalousie frames are popular in Oahu, HI because they allow 100% airflow into the home while they are open. The window can be closed fast in case of rain, and the mechanism is simple with very few parts to maintain.
Double hung windows are also very popular. They are easy to open or close, and double sashes offer a modern, sophisticated appearance. This style used to come with weights hidden inside walls, but modern versions work with springs hidden inside tracks. The vertical tracks are easily cleaned and maintained.
Benefits of Specialized Glass Panes
Hawaii is in a hurricane zone. Homes near the coast need windows with strong frames and glass panes because hurricane winds can reach 180 miles per hour. Salt exposure and high humidity are also a challenge. The conditions are corrosive to aluminum and other types of metal.
Glass can develop etching and staining due to salt exposure. Cardinal NEAT glass is extremely strong and resistant to salt damage. Cardinal 366 Low E glass with argan gas between panes offers insulation from heat and sound. Cardinal NEAT glass combined with Low E glass provide the strength to withstand strong winds and salt while blocking UV rays and outside temperatures.
The ENERGY STAR standards implemented in 2016 raised the bar on energy efficient windows. SmartSun Glass with HeatLock Technology is 100% compliant in every area of the 2016 ENERGY STAR standards.
SmartSun glass does not impede light transmittance, but it does block 95% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Homeowners enjoy rooms filled with sunlight without the UV rays that fade carpets or furnishings and increase interior temperatures. The glass also has a scratch-resistant finish available in almost any window type and style.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Frame Materials
Fibrex is a PVC-wood composite material. It is an environmentally friendly product made of 40% recycled Ponderosa pine wood fibers. The other 60% is polyvinylchloride, or PVC. The PVC material coats wood fibers to prevent rot and deterioration in the warm, wet climate of Oahu, HI. The wooden fibers come from the leftover material from wooden frames, so Fibrex also reduces waste.
The compression strength of Fibrex is twice as strong as vinyl. The heat distortion point of Fibrex is also higher than vinyl, which is an advantage in Hawaii’s hot summer temperatures. High compression strength allows manufacturers to make slimmer windows with more glaze. Extra glazing lets more light into the home.
Thermal conductivity refers to the ability of a material to transfer heat and cold. It directly affects energy efficiency. Aluminum windows have a high thermal conductivity rating of 0.60. This means that aluminum windows in Hawaii transfer heat from their exterior surfaces to the cooler interior and increase indoor temperatures.
Wood have the lowest thermal conductivity of any material used in windows, but wood does not hold up well in Oahu, HI. Plain wooden frames tend to have high expansion rates in warm, humid conditions. Fibrex contains a significant amount of wood, and it has a conductivity rating of only 0.15. It conducts much less heat and has a smaller impact on indoor temperatures than aluminum. Fibrex has a very low expansion rate no matter how much humidity is present in the environment. Oahu, HI residents can choose Fibrex to enjoy many benefits of wooden frames without worrying about its typical drawbacks.