How To Read a Vinyl Window’s Rating Label

Vinyl windows are the most frequently installed replacement window in the U.S. Fortunately for consumers, all vinyl replacement windows come with a rating label that helps a person determine how efficient a window can be.

How to Read/Interpret Vinyl Windows Ratings

Become familiar with the components of the window label and write down the ratings appropriate for your area before shopping. Here’s what to look for:

  1. U-factor. This is how much heat/cold transfers through the entire window frame (glass and vinyl). The lower the U-factor, the better the window resists heat/cold transfer. Vinyl windows with gaps in the framework (i.e. mechanical frames) will have a higher U-factor than a fusion welded window.
  2. SHGC–Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. The SHGC is the ability of the window to block the sun’s heat. The more heat a window blocks, the lower vinyl windows ratings will be for heat gain.
  3. Visible Light Transmission. The more light that is allowed to flow through the glass, the higher this rating will be.
  4. Low-E glass. This glass has a transparent metallic coating that reflects heat back into the home in winter and reflects heat away from it in the summer.
  5. ENERGY STAR rating. An independent organization tests and rates the energy efficiency of windows. ENERGY STAR windows qualify for a tax rebate through 2013.

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