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Inviting Light into Your Home

New windows to brighten your home By Rachel Kelly

inviting light into your home

There’s something about natural light that is considerably more calming. Maybe it’s because natural light provides for essential nutrients for the body, boosting mood and productivity. Perhaps it’s because natural light is soft and brings with it warmth. Whatever the reason, we need it. Of course, the best source of light is outdoors, but weather doesn’t always permit outdoor activities. The best way to get natural light indoors is through our windows.

Unfortunately, our windows aren’t always up to the task. Some older homes were often built with small windows to conserve heat—and provide little light. Many homes were originally built with large windows, but they are often single pane, making them inefficient. Many of our home's windows are in severe need of an update. For a modern look, and a living space that you love to be in, updated windows are the answer. Here is all you need to know about updating your windows to get the most of the waning winter light and best of the summer heat.

Why to replace. Windows that aren’t working properly let out valuable heat, leaving your home improperly insulated. Windows also play a valuable part in allowing for air flow, making the house easy to cool in the summer. Old windows, small windows, or badly placed windows make for a hot house in the summer and a cold house in the winter. This means that your home will be expensive to heat and cool. Replacing your windows will save you money in the long run.

When to replace. It’s often easy to tell when a window needs replacing. Older homes originally installed with single-pane windows lose heat easily. Homes with small windows that don’t let in natural light need larger windows. If the window lets in or out moisture, which allows for the collection of mold or condensation, that’s a sure sign that the window needs to be replaced, or properly sealed. If you feel that your rooms are not getting enough light, your windows are too high up, or if you simply want an updated look to your home, it may be time to replace your windows.

Best window options. The best window options for you may depend largely on the room that the window resides. For instance, small bedrooms may need vertical windows for optimal light, and kitchens may need skylights for overhead lighting. You may choose floor-to-ceiling windows for rooms that allow for a certain comfort or effect where privacy is not an issue. Whether the window is fixed or operable is up to you, and largely depends on whether you have light or ventilation in mind for its use. Regardless of what you choose, double-pain windows with locks are a must.

Window pricing. Some counties have a rebate program in place to help residents upgrade or replace windows. Some stores offer deals for homeowners looking to upgrade their windows, in the hopes of making a profit off of the bulk of work that needs to be done. As for window pricing, it’s important to find a trustworthy contractor to give you an honest assessment of your pricing options. Most contractors will offer a free assessment in the hope that you will buy windows through them. An independent contractor is your best bet for smaller jobs, as they will be able to offer more flexible pricing with smaller overhead fees.

Design styles. There are as many different window design styles as there are types of rooms. There are single and double hung windows, which open in an up-and-down motion either just from the bottom or both from the bottom and top. There are arched windows, bow windows and bay windows (which all curve or stretch outward for effect). There are windows that open both inward and outward. There are windows installed for a purpose, such as egress or garden windows. There are windows that don’t open, such as picture windows or glass block windows. Whatever your desire, there’s a window to match.

Adding windows. What to do in a home when it’s not a replacement of windows that you need but additional windows? Windows are one of those investments that are worth every penny. Adding windows may improve ventilation in places of the house that can be very hot (such as the attic) or very cold (like the basement). Adding in an egress window, which is ultimately very small, may save your life in an emergency situation. There are windows for all types of spaces. The simpler the space, the simpler the window. The simpler the window, the cheaper it will be.

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