The desert climate presents a major challenge for window and door systems. In Arizona, windows must remain sturdy in the face of intense summer heat, cool, dry winters, and explosive seasonal storms. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a harsher climate for a product that must keep your home safe, comfortable, and sealed off from the elements. Given the high demands placed on your windows, it’s crucial to select a quality product that will deliver years of lasting value while enhancing the style of your home.

Whether you are building a brand-new home or replacing your existing windows, there are several key factors to consider. At Arizona Window and Door, we have been providing premium- quality windows that incorporate the latest modern glass technology since 2014. Our team is here to help walk you through the process of choosing windows that suit your specific needs. We’ve compiled the following overview to explain some of the most important factors to consider when selecting your new windows:

Energy Efficiency

Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 30 percent of residential heating and cooling energy use can be attributed to heat gained and lost through windows? This means that the energy efficiency of your windows can have a significant impact on your utility
costs over time—particularly in a climate prone to extreme temperatures, like in Arizona. Here are a few tips for ensuring that your new windows will help your home be as energy-efficient as possible:

Look for ENERGY STAR -certified windows. Established in 1992, ENERGY STAR is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a mission of providing consumers and businesses with reliable, unbiased information to help them choose products that will lower their energy costs, improve air quality, and protect the climate through reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Windows certified by ENERGY STAR have been confirmed to offer these benefits while contributing to a more comfortable temperature inside your home.

Check ratings on the energy performance label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) . While an ENERGY STAR certification indicates that a product is energy-efficient, NFRC ratings can help you compare specific factors that contribute to energy performance across multiple products. These ratings are available for windows, doors, and skylights. Specifically, NFRC ratings examine the following factors:

U-factor – this indicates how well a window insulates by measuring the rate of heat transfer. U-factor values typically range from 0.20 to 1.20, with numbers on the lower end indicating better insulation.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – this measures the amount of solar radiation let in through a window and released as heat inside the building. SHGC values range from zero to one, and as with the U-factor, a lower number is better.

Air leakage – this measures how much air will enter a room through the window. According to the NFRC, windows should have an air leakage rating of 0.3 or less; the lower the number, the less drafty your home will be.

Visible transmittance – unlike the other three factors, you should look for a visible transmittance rating on the higher end of the spectrum between zero and one. Visible transmittance measures how well the window will allow natural daylight into your home, which can help reduce your need for artificial lighting.

Opt for dual-strength glass. Modern dual-pane window systems use glass packages that are generally double the thickness of builder-grade products. By combining glass thickness to 1/8- inch or 3/16-inch, these glass systems are stronger and more durable against the weather. By providing better insulation, dual-strength windows can help improve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs. They are also less likely to break than single-strength glass, and can help with soundproofing.

Look for low-emissivity (low-E) coatings. Another important quality of energy-efficient windows is a low-E coating, which is a colorless, microscopically thin, nontoxic metal or metallic oxide coating that reflects out heat and UV rays in the summer while reflecting heat back into the
home during the winter. Low-E coatings reduce the window’s U-factor and are available in options for low, moderate, and high solar gain. As an added benefit, low-E coatings help to block harmful UV rays, which can fade the color of your carpets, flooring, drapes, and furnishings. While windows with these coatings tend to cost more upfront, they reduce energy loss by 30 to 50 percent—which means that they will save you money in the long run.

At Arizona Window and Door, our window systems feature the latest in energy-saving technology, helping to ensure that your home will feel comfortable and run efficiently year-round.

Framing

As the second most important component of a window after the glass, the framing has an impact on the window’s aesthetic appeal, as well as its functionality and energy efficiency. While each type of framing offers pros and cons, the optimal choice will depend on your budget, needs, and the style of your home. At Arizona Window and Door, we proudly offer the following types of window framing:

High-performance vinyl – this option carries custom glass packages for maximum energy efficiency, as well as a transferable, “double-lifetime” warranty with accidental glass breakage coverage. Since window and door frames can be subject to bending and warping under intense wind and rain storms, our vinyl windows are reinforced with high-performance steel to reduce flex and the likelihood of water infiltration.

Composite – our fiberglass windows with five-layer composite construction offer unparalleled strength and durability when faced with harsh weather conditions. They are further fortified with a long-lasting powder coat finish that resists fading, chipping, and peeling.

Aluminum (metal) – while some aluminum window frames have a reputation for not being the most energy-efficient, our aluminum frames are thermally broken to maximize efficiency and performance. They are available in custom sizes and have a black hue on the exterior and interior for a sleek, stylish aesthetic.

Wood-clad – our wood-clad window frames have a beautiful, natural appearance that can be customized to suit both traditional and contemporary styles. They may also be custom-stained or painted to match your color scheme and the existing trim inside your home.

Style

When installing windows throughout your home, different rooms may require different styles, and the styles you choose will probably depend on the size of the windows and the architectural style of your home. Here is an overview of some of the most common window styles you may have to choose from:

Double-hung windows – this is one of the most common types. Consisting of two large, frame-enclosed units that slide up and down within vertical tracks, double-hung windows are typically associated with more traditional architectural styles. When the large window panels are subdivided into smaller panes using a grid, they are known as double-hung windows with muntins. You have probably seen these types of windows in homes with a more classic style, such as colonials or Victorians. One advantage of double-hung windows is that because they are so common, you will likely have several different types to choose from. In addition, they tend to open and close easily and are resistant to dirt accumulating since the tracks are vertical.
However, the springs that keep them functioning may wear out over time without occasional maintenance.

Arizona Window and Door in Scottsdale and Tucson showing french swinging doors

Casement windows – another popular type, casement windows are held in place by hinges that are mounted on one side of the window. When cranked open, they pivot horizontally like a door. Casement windows have a slightly more modern aesthetic than double-hung varieties. When installed properly, they are highly effective at keeping out drafts due to their tight seal, but can also maximize air flow into the home when open. One disadvantage of casement windows is that the cranking mechanisms can be prone to wear and tear.

Slider windows – as the name implies, these windows slide horizontally along the top and bottom tracks. Popular in mid-century modern homes, this style offers a simple, clean aesthetic, ease of use even when opening and closing the windows frequently, and a long lifespan since there are no cranks or other mechanisms that are prone to breaking. However, the sizes and shapes available may be limited, and the tracks of slider windows need to be cleaned frequently as they tend to fill with dirt and debris.

Fixed windows – the purpose of fixed windows is not to open and close, but rather to provide a vista or let natural light into a room. Fixed windows have a clean, seamless look that makes them a popular choice for contemporary-style homes. Since they are permanently sealed, they tend to be more energy-efficient than other types of windows—but in warm, sunny climates like in Arizona, they may let in too much heat, so it might be necessary to use shades.

Bay or bow windows – these consist of a group of windows that extends outwards from the wall of the home. When these groups form a squarish shape—which is commonly seen in classic- style homes—they are known as bay windows, while bow windows have a more curved appearance that is popular in many contemporary homes. Both bay and bow windows can serve as a striking centerpiece for a room, creating an eye-catching design statement while
providing sweeping views of the outdoors. One disadvantage is that they tend to be more expensive than other types of windows since installation requires a fair amount of design and framing work. In addition, their large surface area can cause heat loss during the winter.

Skylights and roof windows – while these terms are often used interchangeably, a skylight is a fixed window installed in a roofline, while a roof window can be opened and closed to allow ventilation. Both offer great ways to let light into a darker room while providing warmth during the cooler months. Disadvantages of skylights and roof windows include a more complex (and possibly expensive) installation process since the roof must be cut open, as well as wear and tear since the windows are unshielded from rain and sunshine.

Locking Mechanisms

Doors and windows are the biggest entry points into your home, so choosing reliable locking mechanisms is essential for keeping out intruders, as well as rain, wind, and other natural elements. At Arizona Window and Door, we recommend tightening cam locks. Windows that are capable of locking using tightening-style locks are stronger performers against wind and water.
Additionally, they are more secure from potential break-ins. As the windows are locked, the twisting lock action tightens the seal down the center of the window and creates a more effective seal.

Installation

Aside from choosing the right product, installation is the most important step in the process of getting new windows. No matter how high quality your windows are, they are at risk of inefficiency, breakage, and poor functionality—including holes that can leave your home vulnerable to insects, wind, and rain—if they have not been installed properly.

The methods used in installation will vary depending on factors such as the type of window, the construction style of your home (for example, masonry or wood), and whether the exterior cladding is made of stucco, brick, wood siding, or another material. At Arizona Window and Door, we have decades of experience installing different types of windows in a wide variety of spaces. We will account for the style of window and construction of your home, ensuring that your new window system is installed with precision and the highest degree of professionalism so that you will have years of worry-free enjoyment.

Warranty Options

As with any other home improvement, you will want to be assured that your new windows will continue delivering value for years to come. Warranties from window and door manufacturers have become a competitive landscape. The highest-quality products will cover parts, labor, and glass for the life of the homeownership. Certain manufacturers even allow these warranties to be transferred, which extends the warranty to a second homeowner. At Arizona Window and Door, we work with many manufacturers that offer lifetime warranties, which helps provide the priceless peace of mind that comes with knowing that your new high-quality window system will be covered no matter what!

Is it time to replace your windows or install them in a new home? The Arizona Window and Door team is here to provide a first-rate experience at each step in the process, from your first visit to our showroom through installation and beyond. Contact us today to request a free estimate!