Listen to Your Windows (Let Us Translate for You)

As pleasant springtime weather continues to roll in, and temperatures continue to rise, you may be opening and closing your windows more frequently, alternating between fresh air and air conditioning.

All that window opening and closing might be telling you something — if you’re paying attention. Here are some signs you need to listen to your windows. We’ll translate for you, so you can take action.

 

“Help, I’m stuck!”

Windows that are hard to open and close might be a sign of swelling wood. When the air is damp or humidity is higher, wood-frame windows can expand making it hard to open and close them without extra effort. This is a common problem with double-hung windows and changing humidity conditions.

Additionally, both wood and vinyl windows may have springs or other mechanisms that make them easier to open and close. But, sometimes these mechanisms wear out, or stop working completely, in the first five years of the window’s life. Once you replace the part, your window functions more easily again. You can also use a lubricant in window tracks to make them a bit easier to open and close when they get stuck.

 

“Hey! It’s kind of drafty in here.”

Do you feel a draft when you’re sitting next to a window in your home? If so, your window may be alerting you that it’s time to replace the weather stripping to keep the outside air out and the climate-controlled inside air in.

Another reason you may feel a draft is when your windows aren’t as energy-efficient as they could be. In that case, the glass itself could be making it drafty. Replacing old windows with newer, more energy-efficient ones can make a big difference in your comfort level and in your utility bills.

 

“Am I the only one getting wet around here?”

Your windows can be “getting wet” in a few different ways:

  • Condensation between window panes
  • Condensation along the bottom corners of window panes
  • Water in the window track

Each of these problems is telling you something different, so here’s how to interpret the different types of window leaks:

Condensation between the panes of glass means your double- or triple-pane windows are no longer doing their job of keeping outside air outside. When moisture from outside stays trapped between the panes it most likely means you need to replace the window.

On the other hand, condensation that forms along the bottom corners of window pane are a sign that your home has too much moisture. This is common in bathrooms after a hot shower, too. Try running a dehumidifier or fans to lower the moisture levels inside your house. Otherwise, you may end up with a mold and mildew build-up problem.

After it rains, if you notice water in the track or on the sill, it could be a sign that your window doesn’t close tightly enough. Check the window lock. Is it broken or not functioning properly? That can be an easy fix.

If you notice any of these issues, your window may be trying to get your attention. If you listen, it could help you save money in the long run on costly repairs or as a result of high utility bills.

 

The experts at XO Windows understand when windows are trying to tell you something, and we’re here to answer all your questions. We can help you keep your windows and your home free from these common concerns. Just give us a call, send us an email, or fill out a request for a free estimate.

 

Considering Replacement Windows this Spring? Common FAQs to Help You Choose

 

Springtime is a great time for cleaning out the old to make room for the new.

The rebirth of spring makes everything feel fresh again outside, so maybe that’s why we’re so motivated to revitalize the inside of our homes as well.

As you declutter and spruce up your home, you may realize you need to replace some windows to completely refresh your surroundings. Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) to help you get the best replacement windows for your house.

 

FAQ 1: Which type of windows should I get?

Answer: When it’s time to replace your windows, it’s also a great opportunity to select something new.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted horizontal sliding windows, or a specialty-shaped window to add more style to your home. Or, maybe you’re looking for windows that are much more energy-efficient than your old ones — or both.

Whatever the case may be, choosing a professional window company that offers a variety of styles and options means you’ll get high-quality windows and expert assistance with selection and installation.

 

FAQ 2: Do I need to replace the entire window frame or just the glass?

Answer:  That depends.

If your window frames are still in good shape, but you have cracked or broken glass, you don’t necessarily have to replace the entire window.

Broken windows are hazardous, especially for children and pets, and they could also be costing you extra money since they’re no longer energy-efficient.

Consider how much it’s going to cost just to replace the glass, and how old your windows are, and it may make more sense to replace the entire window.

 

FAQ 3: What materials are best for my climate and location: vinyl, aluminum, wood, or fiberglass?

Answer: In hot, dry climates like Phoenix and the surrounding areas, energy-efficient windows that keep cool air in and hot air out are best. MI EnergyCore™ Windows are one of the options for high-performance, energy-efficient windows.

And, they come in a variety of designs to match any décor, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for performance. MI EnergyCore frames are made of a patented AirCell™ PVC technology and insulating glass.

Vinyl windows offer affordability, durability, and low-maintenance along with energy efficiency.

Fiberglass windows are also excellent in efficiency and durability since the material expands and contracts very little, preventing air leaks around the frame.

Aluminum frames are long-lasting and durable, and offer a more industrial appearance. Compare the benefits of vinyl and aluminum windows here.

Wood is an elegant choice for decorative windows, but requires more maintenance than the other materials. As long as you protect and maintain the beauty and energy efficiency of wood frames, your new wood windows add style and value to your home.

 

Have more questions?

The window experts at XO Windows, Arizona’s largest window distributor, are your professional window consultants. We’ll answer all your replacement window questions and advise you on the best choices for your budget and style. Give us a call or request a free estimate online today.

Springtime Window Safety: What You Need to Know

Springtime is just around the corner, and for many of us, our favorite time of year in the desert. Opening your windows to let fresh air inside is a symbol of the renewal of spring when plants begin to blossom and nature comes to life.

While open windows let the scents and sounds of springtime into your home, it’s important to be aware of the risks of open windows, too: children and pets falling out and intruders getting in.

According to statistics, more than 5,000 children under the age of 11 fall out of windows each year; but with these safety tips in mind, you can prevent children and pets from falls and injuries. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to keep intruders out.

 

Window Safety Tips

Let breezes in, keep kids and pets safe.

If you have double-hung windows, open them from the top. It makes it much harder for kids and pets to slip through an open, less-accessible space if your windows are open from the top. Additionally, an open window that’s too high to reach without a ladder can prevent potential intruders from breaking in.

Don’t rely on screens for protection.

If a child or pet leans or pushes on a screen, the screen can fall out and so can they. Your screens are a great deterrent for bugs, but not much else. Screens can easily fall out of place from the inside, or be removed from the outside. Don’t rely on them as a safety feature.

Move furniture away from windows.

Even when you open a window from the top, be sure there isn’t a couch or bed, or anything tempting for toddlers to climb on to access a window.

Assess your windows from the outside.

Can you jiggle or push them open? Are the locks secure? If not, or if windows are in a location that make them easy-access points into your home, consider adding safety precautions like removable window guards. These aluminum or metal grates are designed to prevent children and pets from falling out, but they’re also a great visual deterrent for would-be intruders who won’t waste the effort removing them to get inside.

 

Repair or replace broken windows.

We don’t just mean a broken window pane. If your window locks don’t function properly and lock tight when you shut them, children may be able to push them open from the bottom and risk falling out. It may be time to consider replacement windows for better security as well as better energy efficiency.

With these safety tips in mind, you can enjoy the fresh springtime air, without the worry of potential injuries or intruders.

Have more questions? We’re the window experts. XO Windows can help you keep your home secure and provide a beautiful view of the outdoors. Give us a call or email us today, or fill out a request for a free estimate.

 

Happy Spring from all of us at XO Windows!

 

Home for the Holidays? Simple Tips for Safe Window Decorating

Did you know tens of thousands of injuries and ER visits occur every year as a result of holiday decorating “mishaps”? That’s about 250 injuries each day during November and December, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Here are a few simple tips for safe window decorating during the holiday season.

 

Batteries are a bright idea.

1

A candle in every window is a timeless way to celebrate the spirit of the season (not to mention a great way show off your beautiful professionally installed windows). If your old plug-in candles have been around the block a time or time two, consider replacing them with newer versions that use batteries instead of electrical cords for a safer alternative.

 

Be smart about gel clings.

Window Decorations

Little ones especially love sticking those brightly colored candy canes, ornaments and snowflakes on the windows—and who can blame them? They’re so appealing they almost look like candy… and now you see the problem.

To avoid a choking hazard, be sure to place window clings high enough on your windows or glass doors so little hands (and paws) can’t reach them and be tempted to eat them.

 

Keep window ornaments out of reach.

 

Delicately hung ornaments are a simple, elegant way to bring a touch of holiday cheer to your windows. Try to choose sturdier ornaments (to prevent shattering in case they fall) and remember to keep them high enough out of reach of little hands.

 

Walking in a window wonderland

 

These simple tips will help you ensure a warm and safe welcome for family and guests during the holiday season—but why should your decorating end there?

Specialty shaped windows and picture windows from XO Windows create a stunning display you can enjoy all year long. Call or email us to find out more, and have a safe and happy holiday season!

It’s That Time of Year…for Window Inspiration

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, these timeless lyrics from a traditional yuletide song come to mind:

Frosted window panes,

Candles gleaming inside…

For many, this phrase evokes a romantic image of a warm, cozy home, but for those of us in the window business, “frosted window panes” are a cause for concern! If you have frost on your windows, it may be time to replace them with ones that are better insulated.

In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together some ideas to inspire you. It’s our little gift to you during the holidays: window inspiration that will not only help keep your home well insulated, but beautiful designs that are, dare we say, worthy of mention in a holiday song.

Energy-Efficient Elegance

Pictures Windows

 

Whether your view looks over the river or through the woods, a series of tall picture windows lets you enjoy the outdoors while sipping cocoa in the cozy warmth of your master suite or living room. MI Energy Core™ Windows ensure that your view from inside (or outside) is not only elegant, but energy-efficient, too, keeping you protected from the elements. We happen to think that’s getting the best of both worlds any time of year.

 

The Sky’s the Limit

Aluminum Clad Wood Windows

 

Can’t quite see the treetops glistening because your existing windows limit the view? It may be time to open up that view as far and wide as the eye can see with durable, yet beautiful aluminum clad wood windows. In this setting, an arched window with glass doors and windows below offer an unlimited perspective of the outside, treetops and sky included. One of the many advantages of aluminum clad wood windows is an array of custom colors and designs combined with durability to resist chipping, fading, and denting. That’s a reason to look up, for sure.

 

Create a Garden View with Interior Appeal

Vinyl Garden Windows

 

The sun is shining; the grass is green…and you want a place to soak up the warmth. Vinyl garden windows bring natural light into your home so you can enjoy it year-round, regardless of the outdoor temperature. Garden windows create an aesthetically appealing setting from both the inside and outside of your home. They make a room feel bigger, too. And, this just may be the spot you find yourself sneaking off to for a few quiet moments, especially when your house is full of holiday cheer.

These window inspirations are just a few of the endless options available when you partner with XO Windows, Arizona’s largest window distributor. From new home construction to window replacements, XO Window offers quality, style, and affordability in all our products. You might say we’ve been making homes merry and bright since 2008.

MI EnergyCore™ Windows: What’s the Fuss?

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When you’re deciding on windows for a newly constructed home or replacing older windows in your current home, which windows do you choose? Do you know where to begin?

All windows are not created equally, so it’s a good idea to determine what you want to accomplish with your new panes. Would you like a better view of the outdoors? How about energy-efficient windows that are aesthetically pleasing? Is that even possible? What’s all the fuss about MI EnergyCore™ Windows?

 

No fuss. Just bliss.

The MI EnergyCore Window System combines the best of both worlds — energy efficiency and elegance. This system is designed for the best performance without compromising style. These insulating windows are strong, super energy-efficient, and available in a wide selection of aesthetically pleasing options for your home.

 

Strong, secure, stylish.

The MI EnergyCore frame is manufactured with a patented AirCell PVC material that is not only a great insulator, but also built for strength. The frame supports triple pane insulating glass for a huge selection of residential sizes and styles to match any home decor. And, for maximum security, the frame is reinforced with aluminum at the lock rails.

 

MI EnergyCore windows are engineered with water and air barriers, and a pocketed sill with a sloped drainage path so water stays out of your home – even in the harshest weather conditions.

 

The MI EnergyCore Difference

The strength of the window frame combined with built-in air and water barriers makes the MI EnergyCore window six times more effective than fiberglass, four times more effective than rigid PVC, and three times better than wood at blocking thermal conductivity. That means the heat stays inside your home during colder months and outside your home in the hottest weather.

 

Choosing energy efficient windows saves money.

Replacing old drafty, leaky windows or choosing energy efficient windows for your new home can save you a bundle of money on your utility bills. When you choose an MI EnergyCore window frame coupled with a high-performance, triple pane, argon-filled TMAX glass packs, you get a window that exceeds ENERGY STAR® requirements by 30-50%. That can significantly lower your heating and air-conditioning costs.

 

If you’re trying to decide between style and energy efficiency, you don’t have to choose. The MI EnergyCore Window System makes it possible to have the best of both worlds. Find out more about XO Windows’ large selection of attractive, energy-efficient MI EnergyCore window options to fit any decor.

Benefits of Sliding Windows

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Sliding Glass Windows: Beauty, Benefits, and a Better View

If you’re tired of trying to loosen stuck window frames or asking the strongest person in the house to open the windows for you, sliding windows could be the solution. Sliding windows are an aesthetically attractive window solution that combines wider, more natural views of the outdoors with effortless function.

 

How do sliding glass windows work?

Sliding glass windows are like sliding glass doors: they open horizontally instead of vertically. Typically, one side of the window remains stationary, while the other pane slides on rollers. Plus, there are limitless options of colors, styles, materials, and finishes to match your home or business.

 

Sliding windows are easy to open.

Enjoying fresh air in the springtime or letting cool breezes flow through your home are just two of the benefits of easy-opening windows. Well-maintained sliding windows open and close with just a gentle push and are ideal for hard-to-reach spaces.

 

Sliding windows are low-maintenance.

Generally speaking, sliding windows are a lower-maintenance window option than many traditional windows because they have fewer moving parts. That means easier opening and closing, and less chance they’ll become difficult to operate as the windows age.

Sliding glass windows function smoothly for many years. Some window styles can even be tilted to make cleaning a breeze, both inside and out. Other styles allow you to pop out the glass pane completely.

 

Siding windows are energy efficient.

Yet another benefit of sliding windows? Their energy efficiency. These windows close tightly to keep climate-controlled air in the inside and minimize drafts from the outside. At XO Windows, we offer the available option of the i89 Surface 4 Low-E glass package for optimal insulation against cold air flow.

 

With the i89 Surface 4 Low-E glass package, your home or business can be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This high-performance window glass option reflects heat back into the room and improves the transmittance of daylight. The window is smooth, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean, too.

 

A room with a (better) view.

Wherever you choose to put one of XO Windows’ sliding glass windows, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a wider view to the outdoors. Your eyes naturally see further side-to-side than up and down, so a horizontally oriented window offers a wider, more picturesque view of what’s outside your home or office window. Sliding windows also allow more natural light to enter into your surroundings.

 

Whether you’re replacing older windows or choosing windows for new construction, XO Windows’ selection of sliding glass windows offers attractive, easy-to-use, energy-efficient options for a variety of decor and designs. Get in touch to find out more.

 

Seven Reasons You Need Vinyl Windows

 

Vinyl Windows

Whether you’re building a new home, remodeling or merely need to replace windows that are showing serious wear and no longer performing, we’ve got some compelling reasons you should be considering vinyl.

1. Long-Term Efficiency and Savings

We gave this one the top spot because, where most homeowners are concerned, it’s vinyl’s most important feature. Since vinyl doesn’t expand or contract with fluctuating temperatures, it seals in cool or warm air better than any other material, which cuts down on waste and saves you serious money on heating and cooling bills.

 

2. Short-Term Savings

Even though vinyl is a high-quality and practical choice, it’s still among the cheapest options when shopping for windows.

 

3. Low-Maintenance

Not only is vinyl warp and crack resistant, but chips and scratches are barely visible since vinyl’s color goes beyond the surface. Also, cleaning is a snap, since all you need is some cleaning spray or a little soap and water to make it look good as new.

 

4. Choice of Colors

Forget having to go the paint store; vinyl comes in almost any color, so you can choose the best color to complement your home without having to go through the hassle of painting.

 

5. Choice of Styles

Vinyl windows can be purchased in any size or shape and can even be customized for more unusual design ideas.

 

6. Curb Appeal

Since vinyl windows rarely show signs of wear, they look newly installed for years, with minimal effort from the homeowner.

 

7. Environmentally Sound

When you choose vinyl, you’re not only cutting down on energy waste and heating/cooling emissions, but you’re also using a material that can be easily recycled once it’s no longer in use.

 

At XO Windows, Arizona’s largest window distributor, we carry an array of beautiful, durable vinyl window options like:

 

XO Windows offers several glass choices, as well, including energy efficient, textured, tinted, protective, solar control, etc.

 

We offer free estimates and consultations, during which our experts can help you choose the right type of window for any project. Our installation team is the best in the area and are able to work seamlessly alongside contractors and tradespeople to get the job done on schedule and right the first time.

If you have questions about vinyl windows, glass types, cost, etc., feel free to reach out any time.

The Lowdown on Low E Glass

LowE Glass

As we write this blog, it’s July 2017 and we’re in Arizona. There may never be a better time to tell you what’s great about Low-E glass.

 

We’ll start at the beginning, though, and tell you what it is, first.

 

Low-E (low emissivity) glass is (typically double-paned) glass that’s been coated with metal oxides (using one of two methods) so that it reflects solar heat and only allows a small fraction of it into your home, while still letting in plenty of daylight.

 

The first method, pyrolytic, produces a passive or Hard-Coat Low-E and involves bonding a metallic oxide with the glass while it’s still in a semi-molten state. The coating is so strong and durable that it’s able to be used occasionally in single-pane applications.

 

Hard-Coat Low-E glass is recommended for cooler climates, though, because it lets in more of the sun’s warming infrared rays than does Soft-Coat Low-E. So that’s probably all the time we need to waste on that, then . . .

 

Let’s get to the good stuff: Soft-Coat Low-E!

Seriously, if you’re tired of shockingly high energy bills, overworking your poor cooling unit, tinted glass that gets hot/cracks, faded carpet/furniture or just plain being uncomfortable, you’re going to want to keep reading.

 

1. How it’s made: Soft-Coat Low-E is produced in a room-temperature vacuum through a process called Magnetron Sputtering Vapor Deposition (yeah, really), where multiple layers of metals, metal oxides, and metal nitrides are sprayed on pre-cut glass.

 

Because Soft-Coat is more delicate, it needs to be sealed in insulated glass. But while it may not beat Hard-Coat in toughness, Soft-Coat’s the hands-down winner in efficiency and solar control.

 

2.  What it does: When we talk about emissivity, we’re talking about a material’s ability to radiate energy. So glass that has low emissivity radiates far less solar energy into a home than ordinary glass. How much less?

 

Well, standard clear glass windows emit roughly 84% of the sun’s radiant energy into the home, whereas Low-E glass emits as little as 18%, while reflecting the other 82% back outside where it belongs.

3. Why it’s better than tinted glass: Tinted glass does more absorbing of radiant energy than reflecting, so the glass itself can get hot, therefore radiating more heat into a room than Low-E glass. And because it retains heat, tinted glass is prone to stress and breakage.

 

But not all Low-E glass windows are created equal.

Which is why XO Windows offers LoĒ³-340 by Cardinal. Check it out:

 

  • LoĒ³-340 blocks approximately 98% of harmful UV radiation. We don’t like UV rays because they’ve been proven harmful and are linked to skin damage, skin cancer, glaucoma, immunity issues, etc. And, they’re the ones responsible for bleaching out your carpets and furnishings!

  • LoĒ³-340 reflects nearly all of the invisible solar infrared rays. We don’t like infrared rays because they are the ones that make us hot. Oh, so miserably hot.

  • LoĒ³-340 has a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of just 0.18. Very simply put, SHGC is the amount of solar heat a window allows through from the outside, so for us, that means the lower the better. BTW, clear glass has a SHGC of 0.84. So, yeah, LoĒ³-340’s going to lower those energy bills for sure.

  • LoĒ³-340 has a high Light-to-Solar-Gain ratio (LSG) of 2.17. This might not sound like something we like, but we do. Mostly because a high LSG means that our Low-E coating is working hard at being “spectrally selective.” Or, that it’s letting a good amount of visible daylight in, but still blocking the rays that cause heat.

  • LoĒ³-340 uses argon gas to achieve its super-low U-Factor of 0.25. We love this, because the lower a window’s U-factor, the more resistant it is to heat flow, which means we’re better insulated whether it’s hot or cold.

Filling the space between LoĒ³-340’s double panes with air would give it an already low U-Factor of 0.29 (ordinary double-pane tinted glass has a U-Factor of 0.48), but Cardinal went the extra mile and filled that space with argon gas to deliver the savings and comfort of a 0.25 U-Factor. It’s a year-round win!

If LoĒ³-340 sounds like something you want to know more about, we invite you to reach out any time. Our team will be happy to answer all your questions and even provide you with a free estimate.

Beat Summer Heat with These 4 Ultra-Cool Window Tips

So, you’re already dreading your first early summer power bill.

You’ve got drapes up, but you know before long, the sun is going to burn right through them and make a laughing stock of your air conditioner.

Before you paint your windows black, we’ve got a few pointers for you:

1.     LoĒ³-340 Glass – We’re going to start with the best ideas and work our way down. In our not-so-humble opinion, LoĒ³-340 glass windows beat all other options for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are their ability to:
  • block approximately 98% of the harmful UV radiation
  • absorb and reflect 60% of the visible light
  • reflect nearly all solar infrared rays

Although LoĒ³-340’s coating can make it appear tinted from the outside, it’s not. While tinted glass works by absorbing sunlight (thereby getting hot and sometimes cracking), LoĒ³-340 works by deflecting it.

And because it’s insulated and has a U-factor of only 0.25, it provides superior thermal comfort in cold weather, as well.

2.     Sunscreens – Made from strong, polyester-coated, woven vinyl mesh, sunscreens are typically installed to exterior window frames so they can do their job of blocking up to 90% of the sun’s rays from the outside.

We recommend Suntex Solar Screen 80 and 90 because they’re:

  • amazingly tough and durable
  • are fade and mildew resistant
  • available in an array of design-friendly colors
  • able to be installed by homeowners or expertly installed by dealers

 

3.     Awnings – Although some might find this to be a rather old-fashioned solution, it’s actually a pretty smart and fashion-forward one. According to the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association, awnings can reduce cooling costs by over 50%.

And before you think there’s no way awnings would look good on your house, you should know that they come in almost every style and material imaginable, including wood, copper, polycarbonate, terra cotta tile, iron, steel, cloth and even solar panels.

You can get them in almost any size and, if there are times you’d rather not have them, retractable awnings are available, as well.

4.     Blackout Drapes – When most people think of blackout drapes, they imagine thick, dark, boring motel room curtains, but as you can see from the image above, today’s blackout drapes are stylish and attractive enough for any room.

When choosing blackout drapes, remember that there are differences in quality among brands. Also, blackout drapes are different than blackout curtains, which are made with only one layer of material rather than two and are apt to let in more light.

If you have questions or comments about ways in which windows can slash your cooling and heating costs or would like to know more about LoĒ³-340 glass windows, we invite you to reach out any time!

We’re Arizona’s largest window distributor and we’ve got the brands, knowledge, and skills to help you reach your energy savings goals this year, and for a long time to come.