Northern Windows and Doors Inc

Blog

Custom Window Design

Custom windows are an exquisite way to add stylistic flair.

From squares to circles and arches to keyholes, windows come in all shapes and sizes. A beautifully shaped window can be a work of art and can be designed to match a certain historical style.

Windows don’t need to be huge to make a big impression.

When choosing custom detail, pay attention to your home’s architecture. Some window arrangements and custom touches make specific architectural statements.

Maximize light and views with custom-made windows that create a dramatic focal point.

Contact us today to get a FREE ESTIMATE!   Our sales representatives will walk you through all of your energy efficiency needs, your design choices and financing/payment options.  Northern Windows and Doors is here to help you!

 

 

How to pick your Energy-Efficient Windows

So you’ve made the decision to install energy-efficient windows in your home. That’s great news! Now all you have to do is decide which type of window is good for you. Feeling stumped? We’ve made this excellent guide to help you choose the best energy-efficient windows for your home.

Should I buy new windows or upgrade the existing ones?

This all depends on how old and wasteful your current windows are. Improving existing installations seem more cost-effective, but they may not be as efficient as replacing them altogether. That means that your improvements may end up costing more in energy waste in the long run. The best way to be sure you’ll get the most benefits is to go with new, modern windows specially made for energy conservation.

How do I choose the right design?

Understanding energy ratings and your home climate will make this choice a lot easier. Pick a design that fits with the architectural style of your home, but also consider the weather, temperature changes, and other environmental factors. Today’s window manufacturers create designs to fit all kinds of climates, from arid deserts to chilly sub-arctic climes. Do your research and when in doubt consult a professional.

Which operating type is right for me?

This depends on what kind of use you want to get out of your windows. If you do not plan to open them at all, consider designs with fixed panes. For windows you want to open, you have several options:

  • Awning and Hopper: These panels either swing up or down at an angle. They are suitable for areas that do not get a lot of severe weather or heavy winds.
  • Casement: Much like awning or hopper styles, these panes swing out on a hinge either to the left or right. Good for mild climates, but can become damaged if left open when a hard wind blows through.
  • Hanging: The panes slide either up or down. Some, called double-hanging, allow for both panes to be slid.
  • Sliding: These panes slide to the left or the right. Like hanging varieties, some double-sliding options allow for either pane to slide to the side.

Do the types of materials matter for installation?

Energy efficient windows can be installed in all house types, though the materials of both your house and the windows make a difference in how they are installed. Some types are designed to work better with homes made of wood while others can be fitted in stone or plaster. Window installers account for existing structures as well as manufacturer recommendation. Some windows need to be sealed or weather-stripped after installation. Others have these measures built in.

Before attempting to install windows yourself, make sure to consider all the existing materials and set-up guidelines. When in doubt, trust a professional window installer instead. Do not risk doing damage to your home or new windows with guesswork. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, stress, and money in the long run.

Energy Efficient Doors

As homeowners, we’re always looking for ways to save money and keep our houses looking great. The best thing about upgrading to energy efficient doors is they accomplish both of these, and they’re good for the environment too! If you’re considering replacing your exterior doors, here is some helpful info to help you decide on the energy-saving route.

Reasons to Upgrade

  • You want to have better insulation. That standard wood door might look nice, but it can be one of the biggest energy wasters in your home. Wood expands and contracts in changing temperatures and conducts cold in winter and heat in summer. This is especially true of older doors that may not be insulated or have old weather-stripping.
  • You want to save money. Energy wasting doors actually cost more than you may think. An energy efficient door can save you up to 15% on energy bills by keeping all that conditioned air in your home and keeping the elements out.
  • You want to keep your home looking good. The sun blasts out UV rays that can fade and damage photos, curtains, and other nice things in your home. A door (and windows!) with a special coating over the glass can protect your valuables from harsh light.
  • You want to reduce your carbon footprint. Saving energy doesn’t just cuts costs and keep your home’s climate controlled, it’s also great for the environment. One-quarter of your carbon dioxide output comes from home energy use. The more energy you save, the more your carbon footprint shrinks!

How to Choose a Door

Once you’ve decided to upgrade your exterior doors, the next step is picking a door. There are a lot of varieties to choose from. Here are just a few options to suit your needs:

  • Steel with polyurethane insulation – Great for those who don’t want a lot of hassle. The steel skin often includes a magnetic strip that, when installed correctly, creates a tight seal meaning you will need no more weather-stripping.
  • Wood – A newer wood door rated for energy efficiency is better than an old one. New models are typically better insulated and have better weather-stripping, but they can still conduct unwanted temperatures.
  • Fiberglass – Has an insulated core and also numerous styles, including ones made to look like real wood. These are perfect for those who want the energy-saving properties of steel doors but the nicer aesthetics of wood.

Installing a Door

It’s important to install your new door correctly. Damaging it can drastically reduce its efficiency, as can installing it unevenly. Refer to a more detailed guide or consider hiring a professional if you’re unsure that you can do it yourself. That being said, a typical door installation includes the following steps:

  • Removing the exterior and interior trim.
  • Removing the old door.
  • Preparing the doorway; making sure it is level, the right size, and watertight.
  • Installing a solid foundation/support beam.
  • Installing the door and making adjustments.
  • Installing the trim and hardware.

Your Windows vs. Tornadoes

Environment Canada is responsible for warning the public when conditions exist that may produce tornadoes. It does this through radio, television, newspapers, its internet site, as well as through its weather phone lines.

Edmonton Tornado – July 31, 1987

Fact or Fiction?

Should you keep your windows and doors open or closed during a tornado?

The short answer?  CLOSE THEM!

The long answer? If tornado winds get inside your home or garage, it becomes much easier for the tornado to remove the roof and even the walls. When Environment Canada issues a tornado watch [or threatening weather approaches], make sure to close all windows and doors, including garage doors.

Since your doors and windows are the average home’s biggest risks when it comes to high winds, you should focus on securing them first. Experts recommend installing storm doors and thick window panes with superior impact resistance. These panes have the added bonus of delivering year-round energy savings. Seal all drafts and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping or foam insulation.

 

Tornado facts

  • Canada gets more tornadoes than any other country with the exception of the United States.
  • Tornadoes are rotating columns of high winds.
  • Sometimes they move quickly (up to 70 km/hour) and leave a long, wide path of destruction. At other times the tornado is small, touching down here and there.
  • Large or small, they can uproot trees, flip cars and demolish houses.
  • Tornadoes usually hit in the afternoon and early evening, but they have been known to strike at night too.

Tornado prone areas in Canada as published to the National Building Code, 2011, based on research from Environment Canada. Source: Adapted from Sills et al., 2012.

Warning signs of a potential tornado

  • Severe thunderstorms, with frequent thunder and lightning
  • An extremely dark sky, sometimes highlighted by green or yellow clouds
  • A rumbling sound or a whistling sound.
  • A funnel cloud at the rear base of a thundercloud, often behind a curtain of heavy rain or hail.

 

Another thing you should do in order to prepare for a tornado.  Create an emergency preparedness kit.

According to Environment Canada this kit should include:

  • Water – two litres of water per person per day (include small bottles)
  • Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace once a year)
  • Manual can opener
  • Wind-up or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Wind-up or battery powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • First aid kit
  • Extra keys for your car and house
  • Cash, travellers’ cheques and change
  • Important family documents such as identification, insurance and bank records
  • Emergency Plan – include a copy in your kit as well as contact information

Consider these additional emergency kit supplies:

  • Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Candles and matches or lighter (place in sturdy containers and do not burn unattended)
  • Change of clothing and footwear for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • Prepaid phone card, mobile phone charger
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Infant formula, baby food, and supplies
  • Activities for children like books, puzzles or toys
  • Prescription medications, medical equipment
  • Utensils, plates and cups
  • Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
  • Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work globes, pocket knife)
  • Small fuel-operated stove and fuel
  • Whistle (to attract attention)
  • Duct tape

June 2, 2017 – Three Hills tornado

 

Stay safe out there!

 

Summer Condensation

Window condensation is usually a wintertime situation that occurs when outside temperatures are low.  But condensation on windows can also happen during the summer.  The condensation usually happens when replacement windows have recently been installed, or on a house with energy-efficient windows.  The worry is that something must be wrong with the windows.  In reality, the condensation is an indication that the windows are working as intended.

Winter condensation occurs on the inside of windows, while summer condensation occurs on the outside of windows.  (Condensation forming between the panes of a double-pane or triple-pane window is a different situation.)

Summer condensation problems are mostly visual, whereas winter condensation problems can be destructive.  Since outside window and building surfaces often get wet from rain, a little extra liquid water will not be detrimental. The condensation disappears as outside air temperatures rise.
Energy-efficient windows and other window treatments reduce the amount of heat moving through a window system.  Double-pane and triple-pane glass, Low-E coatings, and inert gas fill help to reduce the flow of heat.  This reduced heat flow results in cooler surfaces on the cold side of the window and warmer surfaces on the warm side of the window.

As the summer sun warms a window, a Low-E coating or other energy-efficient treatment reduces the amount of heat that moves inward. (This is a good thing, and why people purchase energy-efficient windows). However, at night during the summer, heat is radiated from the outside glass to the cold outside air. The Low-E coating reduces the heat transfer from inside, so the outside glass surface can cool significantly below outside air temperatures. Under the right combination of inside temperature, outside temperature, and outside humidity, windows with low-E coatings or other energy-efficient treatments can develop summer condensation, while inefficient windows do not.
Two ways to prevent condensation are to warm the surface and to dry the air in contact with the surface. Since the outside temperature and relative humidity cannot be controlled, the way to preventing summer window condensation problems is to warm the window. Raising the thermostat setting a couple degrees is an effective way to warm the inside surface of the window which, in turn, warms the outside surface. In some cases, installing a deflector on a floor register or moving furniture can help keep air-conditioned air from blowing directly on a window. Since the condensation usually occurs on windows that have a large unobstructed view of the outdoors, exterior shutters, shades, window screens, or even trees can help reduce summer condensation problems, as well.
Condensation on the outside of a window in the summer does not mean that the window is defective. Instead, the condensation indicates that the window is doing its job well: keeping the inside and outside separate.

Your Windows During the Summer

Question?  Do you open windows and blinds during the summer?

The age-old debate is: Do I open the windows during the summer to let fresh air and light in and risk melting from the heat of the sun?  Or do I shut the windows and blinds, run the air-conditioner and live like a hermit?

Well!  Window technology will allow you to enjoy the fresh summer air, your cat can comfortably bask in the summer rays, and those aggravating mosquitos stay outside!

Your new best friend in the world of windows is Low-E Argon! 

When a window is said to be “Low-E Argon”, this means that in the summer, your windows vs the sun’s angle, limit the amount of heat that passes through the window glass, without hindering the light.

 

How is this possible?

Energy-efficient windows are made to essentially neutralize the effects of changing weather on the inside of your home. They help keep a constant temperature longer so your air-conditioning and heating systems don’t have to turn on and run quite so often.  Furthermore, energy-efficient windows are designed with either double or triple-pane glass, which working in tandem with the low-e coating and argon insulating gas, provides added protection against air leakage, and blocks ultraviolet rays from damaging your interiors.

LOW-E

Low-E coating is a unique microscopic glaze that helps minimize the amount of ultraviolet, infrared and visible light from penetrating the glass keeping you cooler in the summer.

Low-E literally means “low-emissivity”, which in turn means a surface that emits low levels of radiant heat.  All surfaces reflect, absorb, and transmit heat.

In the winter, a Low-E coating reduces the amount of that heat transfer.  Solar rays, which contain the short infrared rays are converted when they encounter furniture, walls or floors, into long infrared rays, which generate heat. These are specifically blocked by the Low-E; they stay inside.  The reverse happens in the summer, to a lesser extent, when the sun strikes the Low E surface. The heat (or long infrared rays) are then kept outside.

ARGON

Argon is one of the rare gases in the atmosphere. It makes up about 0.94% of the atmosphere of the earth. This gas is colourless, odorless, tasteless, and non-reactive to other bodies, in addition to being an excellent thermal insulator.

In the field of windows, it is used to replace the air between the window panes in double and triple glass to reduce energy loss. Due to its density, Argon gas is better at insulating compared to plain air, which is why energy-efficient windows utilize Argon Gas between the panes of glass. That means in the summer, the heat is limited from entering your home while the conditioned air stays put inside your home.

With all that science behind window technology, you no longer must melt, get eaten by bugs, or live like an air-conditioned hermit.

Swing open those windows, draw open those shades!  Let the sun stream in, let the summer breeze flow throughout your home!