Replacing Windows in the Springtime, for Year-Round Comfort and Energy Efficiency

Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and the days are getting longer; Spring is in the air.

And if you don’t have energy efficient windows, you’ve probably noticed the temperature variations and bursts of spring breezes leaking into your living room – along with a lack of stability in your energy bill. If this sounds like your home, it’s probably time to get rid of those old, drafty windows. This year’s spring cleaning may involve upgrading your home with new, energy efficient replacement windows.springhouse

In the spring and throughout the year, here are some of the benefits you can expect with replacement windows:

  • Aesthetics –Replacement windows provide an airtight seal that keeps out the elements. With replacement windows, you don’t have to worry about unsightly structural damage to your home. By replacing your old windows, you can eliminate broken seals and keep your home looking like new.
  • Comfort –New windows help the temperature inside your home remain stable, regardless of the change in seasons and weather. Unwanted drafts, cold and hot spots, and outside moisture can be dramatically reduced with high-quality replacement windows.
  • Energy Efficiency –Energy efficient replacement windows not only assist in regulating the temperature inside your home, but often provides welcomed savings on your energy bill.
  • Easy Maintenance –Another benefit of vinyl replacement windows is the ability to maintain them easily. No more painting and scraping—just year-round beauty and energy efficiency.
  • Increased Curb Appeal –Updated replacement windows can be a very appealing feature to homebuyers. An investment in replacement windows has the potential to increase the appraisal value on your house; an investment that also enhances the quality of life you enjoy in your home.

Spring is a great time to update your home with new replacement windows, letting you enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while keeping the outside elements – and your energy bill – where they belong.

Your Home and Humidity: Tips for Keeping Condensation in Check

Imagine you’ve just had replacement windows installed in your home. No question, they’re a vast improvement over your old, drafty windows. Your home looks and feels better than ever. Your family is comfortable. Your wallet isn’t strained by excessive costs. You’re satisfied with the quality of the product and the service you received. Everything is going great.

Then you notice something.

You peer closer to your new replacement windows and see something in the corner and along the edges. You fear it might ruin your day—or worse, your beautiful new windows! It’s condensation.

You may wonder, “Did I make a mistake investing in new windows?” Before making any judgement calls, read on to see what might be causing that interior condensation – and some simple steps you can take to quickly resolve the issue.

Older, drafty, or ill-fitting windows allow unwanted air to flow into your home, and cooled or heated air to escape. Expertly installed, custom built windows like those by Champion seal your home much more tightly. The air that used to slip out of your windows is now comfortably sealed within your home, and along with it, any excessive humidity. Although eliminating drafts is a desirable feature that keeps you comfortable and helps you save money on your energy bill, you’ll likely need to adjust your home’s humidity levels to accommodate your more tightly sealed home.

About Humidity

Humidity—or moisture levels—in your home can vary. The moisture content of the air inside your home is both the cause and cure of window condensation. Even high quality insulated vinyl replacement windows often have the lowest temperature of any interior surface of the house, so condensation occurs there first. Because cooler air (air that comes into contact with the window surface) holds less water, condensation appears on the replacement vinyl window, the location of the cooler air.

Interior or “Winter” Condensation

As winter temperatures set in and you begin using your heat, you may see condensation form on your new windows. When warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, the moisture condenses. The cooler air surrounding cooler surfaces can’t hold as much moisture as warmer air, and the result is condensation.

Exterior or “Summer” Condensation

In the spring and summer, the reverse happens. Dewpoints, humidity and glass temperature can all be factors in “summer condensation.” Exterior condensation is temporary, typically evaporating as the days wear on. It won’t affect the interior of your home. When you spot exterior condensation on your windows on those rare days, take it as a reassurance that your replacement windows are doing their job: keeping your heating and cooling in your home where it belongs—and saving you money.

Remodeling or new construction

There is a lot of moisture in the wood, plaster and other building materials of a new home or remodel. When you begin using your heat, this moisture will gradually flow out into the air in the home causing the humidity level to rise and condensation to occur. When the moisture has evaporated, the condensation will also disappear.

You’d be surprised at the many different sources of excess moisture in your home. Even pets and houseplants contribute. Here’s a quick rundown of potential sources of excess moisture in your home:

  • Cooking food, using the sink, and running the dishwasher
  • Showers, hot tubs and spas
  • Washers and indoor-vented dryers
  • Moisture in basements and crawl spaces
  • Even breathing and perspiration add moisture to indoor air. Collectively, a family of four can easily generate up to 18 gallons of water a week in the form of humidity inside your home!

Get the Upper Hand on Humidity

Although there are many sources of humidity, you don’t have to let it get the best of your home’s interior. Fight back with these simple steps:

  • Confirm that your humidifier is working correctly. Turn it down as the weather becomes colder (this may require shutting off the water supply to your furnace humidifier). This single step often fixes the problem.
  • Use proper ventilation. Install exhaust fans to remove excess moisture from bathrooms and kitchens. Always vent these fans directly to the outside of your home. Do not exhaust air into the attic. Clean fan blades and grills annually for maximum performance.
  • Check for moisture in the basement. Possible solutions include re-grading around the house, installing exterior insulation on the foundation wall or installing a footing drainage system and sump pump if needed.
  • Don’t block or deflect warm air registers.
  • Use a dehumidifier. They are capable of lowering the relative humidity to 50 or 60% within your home.
  • Be sure to properly vent attics and crawl spaces.
  • Don’t store firewood inside. It releases excess moisture over time.
  • Install a fresh intake if you have a forced air furnace to make sure your home is properly ventilated.
  • As a temporary solution, you may want to try opening your windows a little each day to allow the exchange of colder, drier air with warmer more humid air.

It’s perfectly natural for condensation to appear on your windows, especially on new, high quality replacement windows whose seals work much better at sealing your home. As long as you understand where the excess moisture in your home is coming from, you can take steps to combat it and ensure that your home is as beautiful and comfortable as it can be.

Understanding ENERGY STAR for Windows

You’ve likely heard them before—the words “Energy Star.” Perhaps you know they relate to energy efficiency, but how? And what does that mean for you, really?

 

ENERGY STAR

 

A voluntary program established through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through better energy efficiency. The program provides standards for businesses in many industries—from household appliances to construction materials and beyond—to create better and more energy efficient products.

 

Not just any product can sport the ENERGY STAR label, though.

 

To earn the label ENERGY STAR, products have to pass third-party testing by EPA-certified laboratories to ensure that they maintain the highest in energy efficient standards. By identifying and promoting products, practices and services that boost energy efficiency, the ENERGY STAR program helps families and companies across America improve their homes and businesses in ways that cost less and help the environment.

 

When you use products that use less energy, you lessen the need for energy from power plants, which reduces the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Because they use less energy, these products also help you lower your monthly energy bill.

 

ENERGY STAR is a win all around.

 

Replacement windows

 

ENERGY STAR products can improve your home throughout. From your refrigerator or washing machine to your light bulbs and replacement windows, these products can help you use less energy.

 

It’s important to understand ENERGY STAR standards when shopping for replacement windows. When you select a product—like a high quality Champion window—that has been approved by ENERGY STAR, you’re making a smart investment for your home. These products are certified to endure years of usage and work more efficiently, making it so you can worry less and enjoy your home more.

 

Choose energy efficient windows to replace your old, drafty windows and your home will stay comfortable and protected for years to come. Here at Champion, we’ve thought about energy efficient windows since the beginning. Our goal has always been to keep the cold inside in the summer and outside in the winter with our replacement windows. That’s energy efficiency.

Champion products meet and exceed the Energy Star requirements in our industry, and we would suggest making sure that any window you consider buying follows the Energy Star guidelines. In fact, the Energy Star program is a very useful resource for selecting many products around your house to create a more energy efficient home.

 

You can visit the Energy Star website for more information about energy efficient home improvement products. Or you can visit the Champion website to learn more about our ENERGY STAR replacement windows.

Keeping Your Replacement Windows Sparkling Clean

You’ve invested in attractive and affordable energy-efficient replacement windows for your home; why not invest just a little time keeping those new windows clean?

At Champion, we know our replacement windows inside and out, so we’d like to share with you a few tips on how to keep your replacement windows sparkling just like new – inside and out!

To clean your windows:

  1. Before you get started, use a dust cloth or duster to clean the window frames and sills. Remove any cobwebs around the edges. This will help you eliminate streaking or smearing later.
  2. Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid in warm water, or, use a specialized window cleaning solvent.
  3. Once you apply your cleaning solvent to the new window, use a lint-free cloth or sponge—or a strip applicator or squeegee for larger jobs—to wipe down the windows in a single direction. Move in a single direction, either from left-to-right or top-to-bottom.
  4. As you finish clearing each replacement window, be sure to wipe off any excess water with a chamois or other absorbent, lint-free fabric.

Pro tips:

  • For extra clean windows, try not to clean them when they’re in direct sunlight; it increases the likelihood of streaking. Instead, consider early evening or an overcast day.
  • Both sashes on Champion double hung windows feature FeatherTouch™ latches that allow the windows to tilt in for easy cleaning. However, if you need to do some of your window cleaning from the outside, be cautious. When using a ladder to reach higher windows, always have someone there with you to steady the ladder and ensure your safety.

Just a few quick steps and you’ll be enjoying the beauty of your energy efficient windows—and the views of your surrounding landscape—all year long.

Stress of Thermal Cycling

If you live in the Midwest or Northeastern regions of the United States, it’s likely that you’ve encountered very cold, very harsh winter climes in the past. Remember those mornings spent shoveling deep snowdrifts along your driveway or sidewalk? Scraping the ice from your car’s windshield? Shivering as the wind cut right through your down coat? Chances are you’ve dealt with slippery roads, canceled travel plans, school closures and plenty of other challenges caused by nasty winter weather.

Many homeowners have faced extreme weather conditions, battling snowstorms and freezing rain, but few realize that their homes have also had to fight the effects of these unpleasant conditions. The effects of severe weather could negatively impact the performance of your home’s roof.

And it all has to do with thermal cycling.houses

Thermal cycling refers to the phenomenon that causes the expansion and contraction of building components. It’s an ongoing process and corresponds to the changes in seasons. During warm months, the building components in your home expand. During cold months, those same building components contract. This expansion and contraction causes tension in the building components that can lead to damage that requires roof repair or new roofing.

Most building materials expand and contract at different rates. That’s why the stress caused by thermal expansion is intensified when different component materials are installed in layers. The roof is a perfect example of such a structure. In a roof system, major components like ridge vents, roofing shingles, underlayment for moisture resistance and roof-deck protection, and the roof-deck itself are installed in layers. When a layer shifts due to a rise or drop in temperature, all the layers on top of it are forced to shift with it. This can result in damage to your roof.

The damage caused by thermal cycling can put the integrity of your entire roof system at risk. While no one can stop thermal cycling completely, you can limit its effects by ensuring that the temperature and humidity in your home’s attic space are as stable as possible. Having proper attic-space insulation and ventilation can go a long way to combat the harm caused by thermal cycling.

As your home ages, any damage suffered from thermal cycling will become more evident. But serious problems could be lurking where you can’t see them—even in new homes. It’s important to consult an expert—such as a qualified Champion roofing expert, located in any of our offices—in the field. They can help you determine the extent that thermal cycling has affected your roof’s performance and whether your attic space is properly insulated and ventilated.

If an inspection reveals that roof replacement is necessary, ask the following questions when you’re talking to contractors: Who manufactures the roof? Is it a thoroughly tested and proven system, or is it being cobbled together with parts of unknown origin or quality? Are the roofing components made in America? What is the warranty on the roof? Does the warranty cover the roof and its installation? Will the roof be installed by professionals? Who will service the roof? In addition, be sure the contractor inspects your roof-deck thoroughly before any work begins.

You can’t eliminate thermal cycling; it’s as certain as the seasons. But you can be prepared, protect your roof, and ensure that you choose a roofing company that stands behind their products and their people.

Here Comes The Sunroom

Imagine transforming your home into a more spacious, more enjoyable and more luxurious space. Now, imagine building a sunroom addition to your home. There’s a lot of overlap between the two, isn’t there? A sunroom can transform your home by expanding your living space, allowing you to enjoy the best of the outdoors without worrying about weather and increasing your home’s curb appeal and resale value.

Let’s take a look at some of the terminology and features associated with this important investment in home improvement.

Codes
Codes protect safety and health. They are essentially rules that specify the minimum acceptable standards of safety for buildings, non-building structures and other constructed objects. For example, building codes in some areas permit the use of shingles with a gabled roof. Another example: An existing, code-compliant deck or slab can be used as the foundation on which a custom sunroom addition is built. Champion’s sunroom designs are built as a system. As a result, the sunrooms aren’t forced together from cookie-cutter parts. They’re naturally integrated as a whole for better strength, longevity and protection. This approach to design and construction facilitates code compliance. In addition, Champion pulls all permits related to the construction of a custom sunroom design.

Comfort 365® Glass
Champion’s exclusive Comfort 365® is a high-performance, energy-efficient glass. It features a special coating that keeps heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. Comfort 365® Glass also reduces transmission of UV light, which means that the furniture, carpeting, and drapes you may wish to use in your custom sunroom will be protected from premature fading.

Gable
This is refers to a particular sunroom design. Gable indicates a dual-sloped roof that supports shingling (where permitted by code) and allows for a higher ceiling and more light. This design blends nicely with most home styles.

Studio
This refers to a particular sunroom design. Studio indicates a single, sloped roof. This configuration complements the architectural style of most homes.

Three-Season or All-Season
The primary difference between the three-season sunroom and all-season sunroom addition is the wall thickness, materials and glass. Champion offers a three-season sunroom with nominal 4-inch aluminum walls (Comfort 365® glass is standard) and an all-season sunroom with nominal 6-inch insulated-vinyl walls and ENERGY STAR®-rated, >energy efficient replacement windows and doors using Comfort 365® glass. Both are designed by Champion for maximum comfort and easy, maintenance-free use.

Porch Enclosure
If you already have a patio or porch cover, Champion can work with you to use the structure, rather than tear it down and rebuild the enclosure entirely. Our porch enclosures and patio enclosures provide similar benefits and as high a quality of materials as our traditional sunroom additions. They’re just built within an existing structure.

Screen Room
The difference between a sunroom and a screen room is simple: glass. A screen room is enclosed by Champion’s nominal 2-inch thick screens to protect you from insects and other pests, allowing you to enjoy the fresh air without committing to a fully enclosed sunroom design.

Vinyl
Often used as a component of sunroom design and manufacturing, Vinyl has excellent insulating capabilities. It’s easy to clean, naturally insect resistant and maintenance-free.

These are just a few basic terms to orient you in the world of sunroom additions, patio enclosures and the like. Now that you know the basics, visit Champion’s website to learn more about how a custom Champion sunroom can help you get even more value and enjoyment from your home.

Demystifying “Ice Dams”

Maybe you’ve heard of them‚ and you’ve definitely seen them — Ice Dams: a dangerous barrier of ice that forms at the edge of a roof during cold-weather conditions and prevents proper drainage during the season’s thaw. Ice dams can cause significant damage to both the interior and exterior of your home‚ and can create large icicles that are a serious safety hazard to you and your family.icedam

Late winter and early spring is your home’s highest risk for experiencing this issue. As the day’s temperatures reach above freezing and evening temperatures drop back below freezing‚ your roof will thaw‚ refreeze‚ thaw‚ again and again — until the roof is cleared. The potential for water flow being obstructed by a blockade of ice is where the problem begins. This process will be exacerbated by a poor performing home or roof.

Ice dams are also potentially a costly threat to your roof’s integrity. They prevent water from flowing to the gutters‚ and when that happens‚ the water has to go somewhere. It can then infiltrate the seams in the roofing shingles and‚ ultimately‚ refreeze. This makes the shingles susceptible to buckling‚ cracking‚ or tearing. And if the water trapped by the ice dam reaches the nail line in the shingles‚ not much can prevent it from getting into the house.

Poor Ventilation Is Often To Blame

Some believe that ice dams are indicative of a poorly insulated attic space or roof. While insulation can play a part in the formation of ice dams‚ the problem most often stems from inadequate ventilation in the attic space. Your home’s roof absorbs energy from the sun and transfers that energy into to the attic space. Proper ventilation allows that heat to escape effectively. In turn‚ frozen water on the roof melts from the top down‚ as it should‚ and flows from the top down to the gutters.

Poor ventilation‚ on the other hand‚ traps heat in the attic space. The unventilated heat causes the frozen water on the roof to melt away‚ up to the point on the roof line where the hot attic space stops. From there‚ the melted water is once again exposed to frigid temperatures and refreezes. The resulting ice dam blocks the flow of any melted water that flows after the dam forms‚ and the dam grows as it’s fed by the melting snow above it‚ but will limit itself to the portions of the roof that have an average temperature below 32 degrees. The water above‚ then‚ backs ups behind the ice dam and remains a liquid.

Check out some of the houses in your neighborhood. The ones with snowy roofs have properly ventilated attics. Conversely‚ a roof without snow on it has excessive heat trapped in the attic space beneath it.

Damage To Your Home‚ And Potentially Your Health

Visible and invisible damage can result from ice dams, <a href=”http://www.championwindow.com/roofing/&#8221; title=”Roof Replacement”>requiring roof repair or even new roofing</a>. An obvious sign of damage is staining on ceilings‚ at the corners of walls and ceilings‚ or at drywall seams. The stains will continue to grow as long as water can penetrate the roof’s surface and flow into your home. Hidden damage may come in the form of a wall cavity full of insulation that doesn’t function properly because it is saturated with moisture. It could also be mold growth in wall cavities caused by water entering your home.

As an ice dam gets bigger‚ you have more water trapped in a threshold area where water can enter the roof. In addition‚ an ice dam can get so large that its weight can affect your roof’s stability.

What Should You Do?

Thorough‚ professional roof inspections can help you determine whether your roof has been damaged by ice dams. Be proactive—not all insurance carriers cover damage caused by ice dams.

While nothing can completely stop the formation of ice dams‚ some solutions help minimize their impact and the troubles they bring. For example‚ a properly installed‚ premium leak barrier that’s designed for the roof and its pitch will prevent nails in the roof from becoming inlets for melted water.

Better still‚ a comprehensive‚ custom-designed roofing system that includes top-quality components and is tailored specifically to your home will offer you maximum protection from the elements from the start. Consult a roofing company with professional contractors—like Champion—to get an expert roof estimate and determine how best to protect your home. When you combine all that with a properly ventilated attic space‚ you’ll have a powerful arsenal to fight ice dams.

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