Federal Energy Tax Credit

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
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1.      What Is The Federal Egress Code?
2.      What Are United Inches (UI)?
3.      What is the Federal Tax Credit Guidelines?
4.      What Does The Energy Star Rating Mean?
5.      What Is The Difference Between New Construction Windows & Replacement Windows? 
6.      What Is Tempered (Safety) Glass?
7.      What Is Laminated (Security) Glass?
8.      What Is LowE & Argon Gas & Are They Necessary?
9.      Is Window Replacement A Big Project?
10.    Can I Paint My Vinyl Windows?
11.    Why Is My Window "Cloudy"?
12.    Why Am I Getting Condensation On My Window?
13.    How Do I Measure For My Replacement Windows?
14.    What Is The Difference Between A Fusion Welded Window And A Mechanical Window?
1.     What Is The Federal Egress Code?
280.106 - Exit facilities; egress windows and devices.

  (a) Every room designed expressly for sleeping purposes, unless it has an exit door (see 3280.105), shall have at least one outside window or approved exit device which meets the requirements of 3280.404, the Standard for Egress Windows and Devices for Use in Manufactured Homes.
  (b) The bottom of the window opening shall not be more than 36 inches above the floor.
  (c) Locks, latches, operating handles, tabs, and any other window screen or storm window devices which need to be operated in order to permit exiting, shall not be located in excess of 54 inches from the finished floor.
  (d) Integral rolled-in screens shall not be permitted in an egress window unless the window is of the hinged-type.
2.     What Are United Inches (UI)?
Total United Inches (U.I.) is the calculated amount of the window's Width added to its Height. For example, if you have a window measuring 32"w X 56"h the U.I. would add up to 88 (32 + 56 = 88).
3.     What is the Federal Tax Credit Guidelines?

The 2011 Federal Tax Credit (Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act) has been signed into law on December 17, 2010. In this, Congress has reduced the federal tax credit for energy-efficient windows and doors and changed the qualifying criteria. Below is a summary:

Qualifying Products: All Energy Star® qualified windows and doors are eligible. Products must be installed in a consumer's existing primary residence; new construction is not eligible.

Credit Amount: Consumers can claim a credit of 10% up to $200 of the purchase price of qualifying windows and doors. Installation costs are not included.

Lifetime Cap: There is now a lifetime limit of $200 for windows in total credits that a homeowner can claim from Jan 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2011. It is not on top of the $1,500 limit in 2009-2010. So if you have already reached or exceeded the $200  limit, you are no longer eligible to claim the credit in 2011.

Duration: The revised tax credits is in effect for products installed in a consumer's primary residence between January 1 and December 31, 2011.

The government is expected to post additional information and www.energystar.gov. The IRS is expected to post official guidance at www.irs.govin early 2011. Circumstances vary widely, so consumers should consult their tax adviser for future guidance.

Homeowners need to save their receipts for their windows purchased along with all window labels and stickers to apply for the tax credit.

4.     What Does The Energy Star Rating Mean?
Although you have likely heard the term used before, many homeowners remain in the dark as to what choosing Energy Star windows truly entails. A joint effort of the EPA and US Department of Energy, an Energy Star rating can be given to a variety of products, ranging from kitchen appliances to siding, and use of these products can even earn you tax credits. Energy Star windows are rated on two features: U-Factor, which is a measure of how well it insulates heat, and SHGC, which is a measure of the fraction of incident solar radiation, basically meaning how much sunlight it lets through. Both are rated on a scale of zero to one, with zero meaning 100% effective and one meaning it does not insulate or protect at all.

Some of the features that make Energy Star windows more efficient and affect these ratings include:Energy Star

  • Low-E Glass
  • Better Materials for Frames
  • Gas Fills
  • More than One Pane of Glass
  • Steel, Foam, Fiberglass, and Vinyl Warm Edge Spacers

When you’re choosing Energy Star windows, it’s important to recognize that the criteria for Energy Star products vary throughout the four US climate zones. Florida is classified in the “Southern” zone, and our energy needs are “mostly cooling.” What this classification means is that our Energy Star windows must be extremely adept at cooling, but they may not necessarily be fit for use in Northern states, which also require protection from winter weather. For replacement windows to have an Energy Star rating in Florida, they must have a U-Factor of no greater than 0.65 and an SHGC of no more than 0.40, meaning they must provide substantial protection against solar radiation, but they do not have to be especially effective at keeping heat in the home. These requirements are in contrast with those for Energy Star windows in the Northern climate zone, which necessitate a U-Factor of no greater than 0.35 and can have any SHGC, meaning they must provide exceptional insulation of heat, but they can let any amount of solar radiation through.

5.     What Is The Difference Between New Construction Windows & Replacement Windows? 
  • Replacement windows are typically used in an existing window structure, which requires more energy efficient windows. New construction windows are generally applied in situations where only the rough framing of the window is present. The primary difference between replacement windows and new construction windows is the way their size is determined. Another key difference is the cost associated with the purchase of the windows.
  • New construction windows do not just replace the window but will additionally replace the window sill both on the interior and the exterior of the house. Replacement windows are measured to fit in an existing window opening and will only replace the actual window. Sills and window framing will be left in tact with the installation of a replacement window.
  • Of the two types of window options available, the easiest way to visually determine between the two is by the outer nailing flange located on new construction windows. This flange is intended to be placed against wood framing of a window opening for installation purposes. Replacement windows are without such a flange since they are set inside of an existing window frame.
  • When choosing between replacement windows and new construction windows, special attention should be given to the condition of the existing window frame and any insulation concerns. Especially in older homes, existing wooden window frames may begin to rot or be in poor condition. Likewise, insulation around the inside casing of windows should be considered for purposes of energy efficiency. Installation of new construction windows will resolve issues with sills or insulation, while installation of replacement windows will leave them unaffected.
  • The benefits of new construction windows are the increased control of maximum energy efficiency, while the benefits of replacement windows are in their cost. Since replacement windows installation takes far less time, the project can be completed at a decreased expense. Keep in mind also that most manufacturers sell new constrcution windows in "standard" construction sizes where as with replacement windows you can have them made to your exact measurements.
6.     What Is Tempered (Safety) Glass?
Toughened or tempered glass is glass that has been processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempered glass is made by processes which create balanced internal stresses which give the glass strength. It will usually shatter into small fragments instead of sharp shards when broken, making it less likely to cause severe injury and deep lacerations. As a result of its safety and strength, tempered glass is used in a variety of demanding applications, including passenger vehicle windows, glass doors and tables, refrigerator trays, as a component of bulletproof glass, for diving masks, and various types of plates and cookware. You will often find tempered glass standard in glass doors such as sliding glass doors and entry doors. Tempered glass will often most likely be found in bathrooms where one could easily slip and fall.
7.     What Is Laminated (Security) Glass?
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral(PVB), between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces. This produces a characteristic "spider web" cracking pattern when the impact is not enough to completely pierce the glass.

Laminated glass is normally used when there is a possibility of human impact or where the glass could fall if shattered. Skylight glazing and automobile windshields typically use laminated glass. In geographical areas requiring hurricane-resistant construction, laminated glass is often used in exterior storefronts, curtain walls and windows. The PVB interlayer also gives the glass a much higher sound insulation rating, due to the damping effect, and also blocks 99% of transmitted UV light.

8.     What Is LowE & Argon Gas & Are They Necessary?
LowE Glass and Argon Gas are sold as a package today by most window manufacturers. The LowE & Argon package lower the U Value & the SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) drastically on the glass. The lower the U Value & SHGC, the more energy efficient the window is. To qualify for the Federal Energy Tax Credit today a "Qualifying" LowE/ Argon Gas package must be added to the window.
Low-E glass is manufactured by depositing a microscopically thin, transparent metal or metallic oxide layer on the glass. Low-E coatings reduce radiant heat loss, and can reduce the passage of UV rays. Use of heat-resistant (or absorbing) glass began in the 1950s, as did the use of reflective (or mirror) glass. This type of glass cuts the loss of heat during the winter and the absorption of sun in the summer. This provides year round savings by lowering your energy bill. 
Argon Gas is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-toxic gas which is six times more dense than air. It is used to replace air between the glass panes (standard insulated glass) to reduce the temperature transfer and it improves energy efficiency.
9.     Is Window Replacement A Big Project?
No, not usually. Window replacement is normally a pretty straight forward project where an entire home can be done in 1 day or 2 with a crew of 3-4 installers. In a standard replacement job only the existing sashes get removed and the new replacement window gets installed within the existing frame of the old window. Dont get me wrong, the new window has a frame of its own,the whole new window unit simply slides within the confines of the existing window frame. This way no exterior or interior wall surface is disturbed, No casing trim needs to be removed, no drywall repair and no painting. A very quick and clean project if you will.
10.     Can I Paint My Vinyl Windows?
Sure you can paint your vinyl windows, but whats the purpose? The purpose of vinyl windows is to have a "maintenance free" window that never needs scraping and painting. Vinyl windows are made of multi-chamber vinyl that is dyed through and through, therefore even if the window frame gets scratched the color underneath is still the same. If you just want a different color that is being offered in vinyl and you want that special look, then yes you can paint your vinyl window, however note that in most cases this will void your manufacturer's warranty. Note that if you are going to paint that vinyl window, you will be better off scuffing up the vinyl before painting so that the paint can properly adhere to it since the vinyl has a special clear coating over it. Before just going ahead and painting though you really should investigate different window companies first to see what colors they carry since manufacturer's are starting to bring out designer colors for vinyl windows.
11.    Why Is My Window "Cloudy"?
A "cloudy" window usually means that your seal has "failed" and has a leak between the two insulated panes of glass. Insulated glass is simply 2-3 panes of glass that have a seal around the edge of the glass that separates the panes of glass. The air space between the glass panes is then vacuumed out to create an insulating effect. If Argon Gas is used then the Argon Gas is pumped in between the glass panes to offer additional insulating properties. If the seal leakes the air begins to fill the vacuumed space or in the case of Argon Gas the gas begins to escape. The transfer of this air/gas caused a cloudy film to appear on the inside of the glass. Once your seal leaks you will lose the insulating properties of that window & it is important to get the glass repaired by a professional or get the window replaced. Seek a professional for a Free Estimate to compare the costs between both.
12.    Why Am I Getting Condensation On My Window?
Condensation on your window glass occurs when the temperature outside is drastically different than the inside temperature. For example, in the summer when the temperature outside is extremely hot and the air condition is running on high on the insde of your home you will sometimes witness condensation on your window glass. Condensation will develope more often on poorly insulated window glass. The higher the quality of the insualting properties of the window, the less likely you will have consentation occur in extreme temperature differences. When buying new windows always compare the insulating factors between the manufacturers. You can upgrade your insulating factors (at a cost) with most every window manufacturer, so make sure you ask!
13.    How Do I Measure For My Replacement Windows?
See our section on "How To Measure Windows": http://www.homedoorswindows.com/category_s/36.htm
14.    What Is The Difference Between A Fusion Welded Window And A Mechanical Window?
In today's window market most vinyl windows have a "fusion welded" frame and sash, however now and then you will still see some lower end window manufacturers offering "mechanical" windows or "fusion welded" frame only. There actually is not much difference between the two, however years ago window salesman would use the ploy of a "fusion welded" window as a heafty upgrade. Both windows are actually mecanically fastened at the corners of their main frame and window sash, however with the "fusion welded" versions the corners are fused together to give a cleaner more appealing asthetic look to the window. The "mechanical" corners are secured together at a 90 degree angle whereas the "fusion welded" windows are brought together at a 45 degree angle similar to that of a picture frame. Note that the fusion weld Does Not make the window stronger, it simply is for appearance only.

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