Things to look for and ask when buying new windows
How to buy new windows for your home might sound straightforward – until you find yourself in a showroom trying to keep up with a salesperson guiding you through endless choices. And probably also contradicting something you heard from some other salesperson, or read online, or heard from a friend. I know the feeling! But working with the NFRC and learning about the ins and outs of windows has taught me a few things that cut through the confusion, and today I’ll share a few steps to help you find windows you’ll want:
1. Determine your climate zone: Different windows work best in different places. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) divides the country into the Northern, North Central, South Central, and Southern zones. To see a list of windows suitable for your climate and home, enter your zip code into the Window Selection Tool to see which climate zone you are in.
2. Find out what performance ratings you need for your climate zone. To get all of the benefits of efficient windows, we recommend making sure that you choose windows that are ENERGY STAR® certified.
3. Pick a type: Do you want casement windows or double hung? Wood frames or vinyl? No matter which you choose, pay attention to the NFRC label on the window, which displays its energy performance rating.
4. Now you’re ready to talk to local retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. If you’re working with a contractor, make sure your contract specifies that all windows are rated by NFRC and ENERGY STAR certified, and that you receive the full NFRC Certified Products Directory (CPD) number for the windows that you are purchasing. You can use this number to check your windows in the NFRC database and confirm their energy performance ratings.
5. When your window arrives, check for the NFRC and ENERGY STAR labels on them. Without the label, they are not considered certified. You can email the NFRC compliance department at EWC@nfrc.org if you have trouble with the labels.
6. Ensure proper installation because, without it, even the best windows may not perform as expected. If working with a contractor, ensure that they are an approved installer; otherwise, your warranty may not be valid.
7. Keep the labels! Make sure that the installers don’t throw them away. You will need these to apply for any rebates and incentives. See if you qualify for them with our Financing and Incentives guide.
Buying new windows can be overwhelming, but the NFRC certification makes it easy for you to compare products, and these steps will help simplify the process. We’re always here to answer your questions at EWC@nfrc.org.