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Window FAQs

What type of windows does Save Energy Company offer?

We offer windows made from vinyl, fiberglass, wood-clad and aluminum. Fiberglass windows can be manufactured in two versions, all fiberglass or a “hybrid” clad with wood on the inside.

What are the advantages of Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl windows are made from PVC, as are many other construction materials such as plumbing pipes. It is strong, durable, and does not conduct heat. It has a high insulation value making it a very energy-efficient product. Vinyl windows are the most cost-effective replacement windows, making them very popular. They can be made in various colors, and they are virtually maintenance-free for decades. (Insider Tip: They usually have the best warranties.)

What are the advantages of Wood-clad Windows

Wood windows are the classic standby. They are just as energy efficient as windows with vinyl or fiberglass frames. They can be stained for that natural wood look or painted. To help reduce maintenance needs, the wood that would traditionally be exposed to the exterior is clad in fiberglass or aluminum. Either can be manufactured with a baked on painted surface available in a variety of colors.

What are the advantages of Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass is stronger than vinyl and can be clad with wood making it a hybrid choice in window frame construction. These windows can match any shape, style, and size. They are typically higher priced than vinyl but less expensive than wood-clad. Fiberglass windows are durable and maintenance-free.

What are the advantages of Aluminum Windows

Aluminum is a durable metal that doesn’t rust, warp or rot. The frames come in two types of finishes, natural anodized which can be white, silver or bronze in color; baked-on paint available in a variety of colors. Aluminum windows come in all sizes and styles and are virtually maintenance-free so they will last decades. Aluminum does conduct heat and cold, so these windows do not receive energy-efficiency ratings as high as vinyl, wood-clad, or fiberglass options. (Note: They are losing popularity as the other products consistently outperform them when it comes to long-term ease of use and energy cost savings.)

What’s the difference between New Construction and Retrofit Windows?

  • New construction windows are installed directly onto the studs that frame the window opening. When replacing existing windows, the old ones have to be completely removed down to the studs of the window opening. Removal requires the exterior wall covering to be cut away to access the old frame pieces. With a “clean opening,” the replacement window is installed using proper flashing and sealant materials. The newly constructed window can be trimmed with wood-clad to cover the space created (when the siding is removed), or the masonry/stucco needs to be patched and painted.
  • Retrofit windows fit over the basic skeleton frame of the previous window. This installation technique is best when replacing old, single-pane aluminum windows. Once all the glass and sashes have been removed, the new retrofit window assembly is placed over the old “skeleton frame,” completely covering it, forming a new, tight, air and water-proof seal with the window frame. The advantage of retrofit windows is there is no disturbance of the surrounding exterior or interior walls. The trade-off is that retrofit windows will slightly reduce the total glass area of the window because the frame has to be larger than the original frame to fit over, hide it and seal properly. But don’t worry – most people are so happy with the look and smooth operation of their new windows, they don’t notice the view out of them is ever so slightly smaller…

Which window frame materials are the most energy efficient?

Vinyl and fiberglass do not conduct heat so they are the most energy efficient. Wood-clad comes in ever so slightly behind these.  Aluminum, being a metal, gets hot or cold depending on the ambient temperature and, therefore, is the least energy efficient.

What is Low-E (also spelled LoE)

Low-E literally means, “low emissivity.”  Emissivity refers to the amount of hot or cold air that can pass through a glass panel.  Rating the emissivity of glass indicates how capable it is to maintain desired comfort levels within a home.

In the world of windows, Low-E refers to microscopically thin, transparent coatings applied to glass surfaces to minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through the glass without reducing the amount of visible light that is allowed through.


How does Low-E work?

Low-E coatings help defy the laws of physics. Heat wants to naturally flow from a warm area to a colder area. When interior heat tries to escape to the colder outside during the winter, the low-e coating reflects the heat back to the inside, reducing the heat loss through the glass. The reverse happens during the summer; hot air is kept outside making your home a cool oasis.

What happens with glass that isn’t coated?

Clear, untreated glass allows high levels of hot air or cold air to pass through it.  Because of this, it is considered highly emissive.  Touch a window with single pane glass and its temperature will reflect the ambient external temperature. Touch the interior glass of a dual-pane window and it will reflect the interior ambient temperature of the room, despite what is happening outside.

What’s the meaning of the numbers associated with Low-E?

LoE2 = 85% UV Protection; 85% of the UV rays shining on a pane of glass are blocked. LoE366 = 95% UV Protection; 955 of the UV rays shining on a pane of glass are blocked

Why is the space between the dual panes of glass filled with gas?

Filling the interior space between the two panes of a dual-pane window provides an added layer of insulation against heat intrusion or loss. Argon gas is used in this space. They are both denser than breathable air which makes it harder for UV rays to penetrate on hot days or for cold air molecules to pass through on cold days.  These gases also help to block sound waves.

What is a Sound Deadening Window?

These are upgraded windows that feature one or two panes of thicker glass (3/16” as opposed to 1/4) and sometimes fill the air gap between the panes with a heavier-than-air gas like argon. This combination helps prevent sound waves from passing through the windows

Entry Door FAQs 

What are the advantages of Fiberglass entry doors?

Fiberglass entry doors simulate the rich look of wood, while also offering long-lasting protection against the weather. Exterior fiberglass door systems comprise the door, frame, and sill. They are resistant to harsh weather conditions and save money on energy bills. There is little or no maintenance with fiberglass entry doors.

What are the advantages of Wood entry doors? 

Wood entry doors offer a classic look and feel that gives your house a timeless quality suitable for any architectural style. Like all natural products, solid wood front doors require the periodic maintenance and are subject to seasonal expansion and contraction. Proper finishing or varnishing, cleaning, and periodic restoration will help ensure that your beautiful wood exterior doors will welcome visitors to your home with style for years to come! 


Building Code FAQs

What is WUI (often pronounced Woo-Eee)? 

WUI is the acronym for Wildlife-Urban Interface and refers to the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. Think of it as the last line of houses or businesses before larger open spaces like national parks, state parks, grass lands and the like.

The concern with these “transition zones” between human development and wide-open space is wild fire.  The WUI zones are clearly defined areas wherein building codes have stricter fire prevention regulations. When it comes to windows, if your home is in a WUI zone, they must have at least one pane of tempered glass or have an overall fire protection rating of not less than 20 minutes.  That means, it would take 20 minutes of continuous exposure to fire before the glass would break.


What is Title 24?

Title 24 is a set of regulations covering Building Energy Efficiency Standards that are created and monitored by the California Energy Commission. Their purpose is to improve efficiency and reduce emissions from homes and businesses.  They apply to:

  • New construction
  • Additions to existing structures
  • Alterations to existing structures.

Essentially, if a change is made to an existing building, it needs to conform to Title 24 regulations. (HEADS UP: These regulations change depending on your locale. Be sure to discuss which Title 24 regulations apply to your home with your Save Energy Co. Window Consultant.)

These regulations are updated every three years.  They do impact windows and glass doors by setting up regulations regarding the amount of UV rays and heat from the sun that is allowed to pass through the windows.

  • UV factor = .30. (The amount of UV rays allowed to pass through the glass) That means, at least 70% of UV rays need to be blocked.
  • SHGC factor = .23. SHGC stands for Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient. It refers to the amount of heat from the sun that is allowed to pass through the window and into a room. The lower the number, the more heat is blocked.  An SHGC factor of .23 means 77% of the sun’s heat will not pass through the window.

The mission of the CEC is to lead California to a 100% clean energy future.

Learn more about the Anatomy & Structure of Dual Pane Windows here

Get Started with a Free In-Home Estimate

Doors Windows Replacement & InstallationFor more than 40 years, Save Energy Co. has helped our customers make their homes look more beautiful, and save money on their energy bills with replacement windows and doors. We service customers in San Francisco, Marin, San Rafael, Petaluma, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and other locations in the Bay Area.

To schedule a free in-home estimate on your new garden windows, call us today at (415) 492-1814. You can also reach us by filling out an online contact form. Or if you prefer, stop by our Petaluma doors and windows showroom to see all the options we have to offer and speak with us in person!

Call 415-492-1814 or contact us online for a FREE estimate.