New Window Keeps Out Frigid Temperatures

New Window Keeps Out Frigid Temperatures Paul KronforstI have written previously about the new Marvin Infinity Fiberglass window we had installed during the summer 2017.

The two-week sub zero stretch we experienced over the holidays reminded my family how drafty and cold our house used to be. My two daughters, who were both home form school for the holidays, said they immediately noticed that the home felt warm and cozy. Dawn and I agreed.

Well, when bitterly cold temperatures arrived with a vengeance, all I heard from callers on WISN’s “Remodeling Show” was “the condensation on our windows froze, and now we have ice on the inside of our window! I turn the thermostat higher and higher, but the house still feels cold and drafty.” Or, this one: “The window seemed fine in summer, but when these sub-zero temperatures hit, we noticed how cold the area around the window was.”

There is a solution – have Callen inspect your home’s windows and check your home’s humidity, which can be attributed to the condensation on your window glass. If the seal is broken, like we had with the large window above our main entrance, there’s nothing that can be done except getting a new window installed properly. I have not-so-fond memories of my college house at UW-Oshkosh that four friends and I shared for two years. We put that 3M plastic stuff on our windows, but it really didn’t help, and it looked horrible (fitting for that house!) The windows clearly were shot, wood was rotted, but it was just a college rental.

Your home is your castle. If you need to have windows replaced, but budget is a concern, start with  one or two. Prioritize and work your way through the ones that need replacement.

New Window Keeps Out Frigid Temperatures Paul KronforstThe new window above our front door, with its proper installation (which included fixing some rotted wood) and additional insulation has been tremendous. I knew the new window would help make the house more comfortable, but I didn’t realize it would make such a difference that sub-zero temps don’t scare me anymore.

Be sure to Call Callen if you are considering replacement windows. Just like me, you’ll be happy you did.

Paul Kronforst



What’s Best – Full Frame Window Replacement or Window Insert

By Mike Wood, CR, Callen Sales Manager and Exterior Product Specialist

Callen Blog - Window Replacement or Window Insert PhotoYou may have noticed a draft coming through windows, or maybe condensation. Your windows just might be old and in general disrepair.  The question is should you get a full frame window replacement or just a window insert?

With a window insert, you remove the sashes and stops and put the new window inside an existing frame. While this is the least expensive way to go, use caution when choosing an insert.

With a window insert, the window will have less glass and also less light because the new window is inside the frame of the old one. It’s possible to lose an extra inch on each side of the sash. The problem of air leaks may not be addressed because although the window may be tight, the frame around it may not be. If the original frame is rotted or not square, a window insert instead of total window replacement will only result in more problems down the road. However, inserts are a good option if the window frame is in good condition with no signs of water damage and the opening is square.

With a full frame window replacement, the entire window, sashes, frame, stops, and intercasing are removed to the interior studs. This results in a secure anchoring of the frame to the house, better insulation and air sealing, and a plumb and square window so it opens and closes properly.

When looking at replacing windows, look at the products Low-E glass coating and its U-Factor. Low-E glass coatings reduce the heating and fading effects of the sun and can help keep your home cool on a hot day by blocking longer-wave radiant heat from entering. On a cold day, it can prevent the radiant interior heat from escaping through the glass. The U-Factor measures the heat transfer through a window and tells how well the product insulates. The lower the U-Factor, the greater resistance to heat flow (in and out) and the better it’s insulation value. U-Factor values generally range from 0.25 to 1.25.

There are also several different window replacement options:

  • Vinyl is the least expensive and maintenance free, but color choices are limited. Also there are different qualities of vinyl – think good, better, best. At Callen, we advise to go with the “best” for long-term results.
  • Wood is aesthetically pleasing, but requires maintenance such as scraping, painting, or staining, and is susceptible to moisture damage.
  • Fiberglass is typically more expensive than vinyl or wood, but it is stronger, more durable, and more energy efficient. Fiberglass is the highest-quality insulating material for replacement windows.
  • Aluminum clad: These have wood frames inside and an aluminum shell on the outside for low maintenance.

The most important part of window replacement, whether a homeowner chooses full frame or insert, is to get a qualified installer, a contractor with an established business. That installer is Callen.

To learn more about whether you should do a full window replacement, call Callen at 414-765-2585. We are the exterior remodeling company Milwaukee homeowners have trusted since 1986!



Got Condensation? It’s Not Your Windows

Many area homeowners deal with window condensation, which usually comes about when the temperatures dip and furnaces are used. Homeowners sometimes think their windows are defective when they discover condensation on them, but it’s actually caused by high humidity in their homes.

Window 3What Causes Condensation?

Window condensation typically appears as a light coating of water, frost, or ice. When this occurs, homeowners sometimes fear their windows are damaged or not performing properly. Unless the condensation is between the windowpanes, this is not likely the case. It’s really the humidity inside the home that’s causing this to happen.

Humid air holds water vapor until it contacts a surface whose temperature is less than or equal to the dew point. When this happens, the water vapor turns to liquid. Because the interior surface of your windows is typically the coldest part of your home, condensation forms here first. Once the air becomes less humid or the glass becomes warmer, the condensation vanishes.

Similarly, exterior condensation forms when the dew point in the air is higher than the temperature of the glass, which is common when a warm day turns into a cool night.

The formation of condensation on the interior or exterior surfaces of your windows doesn’t indicate a defective product. It’s just a naturally occurring phenomenon.

Why is Window Condensation a Concern?

Condensation is not just annoying – it can also be destructive. Excessive moisture can damage curtains, walls, carpets, and wooden window frames. In some cases, condensation leads to the formation of mold, which can create health risks.

Reducing Window Condensation Problems

Minimizing condensation requires maintaining the surface temperature of the window above the dew point. Manufacturers accomplish this by reducing the amount of heat that transfers through a window, which is called the thermal transmittance or U-factor, of the entire product. The higher the U-factor, the higher the potential that condensation will form on the glass.

Reducing the potential for condensation requires each one of a window’s three thermal zones to be efficient. These zones include the center of glazing, edge of glazing, and the frame. Heat from inside the house will conduct its way through the parts of the window that are the least efficient, causing those parts to have lower indoor surface temperatures. Here are a few things to consider when choosing windows:

Center of glazing. Upgrading from single-glazed windows to multiple-glazed windows or insulating glass units reduces the potential for condensation. Choosing energy efficient low-e coatings in multiple-glazed or insulating glass units enables further reduction.

Edge of glazing. Similar to the center of glazing, going from single-glazed to dual-glazed or insulating glass units reduces the potential for condensation on the edge of glazing surface, and choosing high-performance glass further reduces the chances for condensation. Warm-edge spacers also reduce the potential for condensation by reducing conductivity through the edge.

Frame. Going from highly conductive metal framing systems to thermally broken metal frames or thermally improved framing materials such as vinyl or fiberglass also resist condensation.

Callen exterior product specialists can assist you with determining the humidity contributers in your home as well as as the appropriate humidity levels for Wisconsin’s seasons. If you looking into replacing your windows, Callen can help you identify the different features, price levels, and style options available.

Give us a call today at (414) 529-5509 or visit our showroom and let’s discuss your next project!



Understanding Window Glass and Energy Efficiency

By Christopher Wittmann

One of the questions I hear from homeowners looking for window replacement is “Are your windows energy efficient?”

Well, yes, they are.  I, and the other Callen exterior product specialists, wouldn’t sell you windows that weren’t energy efficient.  But since this question comes up often, I think it needs to be addressed.

First a bit of history on energy efficient windows: Energy efficient windows were developed during the energy crisis of the 1970s.  As then President Jimmy Carter was putting solar panels on the White House, the Department of Energy began a program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to find additional ways to conserve energy; windows were among its targets.  Developments from that research included Low-E coatings, insulating argon glass between window panes, and the development of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).  The NFRC provides an independent verification of product performance through a rating and labeling system that is clearly visible for consumers to see when they go to purchase windows.

A Window’s Job

There are several components that make a window energy efficient.  In this blog, I will address the glass element because that is what people look at first when choosing windows.

It’s important to understand a window’s basic job, which is to control heat gain and loss, regulate air flow, and provide natural light.  These functions are rated by the NFRC so you, as the homeowner, are knowledgeable about the window’s performance.

Heat gain and loss occurs through conduction, convection, and solar radiation. Conduction is the transfer of heat through the windows to the exterior.  For example, if you touch a hot pan, you’ll feel heat conducted from the stove to the pan.  Heat flows through glass in a similar way.  Convection occurs when warm indoor air meets a cold window, loses its heat, and sinks toward the flow.  More warm air rushes to take its place and the cycle repeats.  You feel this movement as a cold draft.  Solar radiation moves the heat from a warmer body to a cooler one.  Sit by a window on a sunny day and you will feel like an ant trapped under a magnifying glass.

The NFRC measures heat gain and loss (or insulation) through the U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).

The U-Factor measures insulation value – the heat from inside a room that can escape.  This rating takes into account all parts of the window – the glass, the frame, and the sash.  The lower the number – .30 or lower is recommended – the better insulation and greater performance.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures the percentage of sun’s solar heat that passes through the window.  Higher numbers mean more heat gain, which you would not want during the summer, but it is desirable during the winter.

Windows also need to regulate air flow – they should be able to open to allow fresh air in and be airtight when closed.  The NFRC use an Air Leakage (AL) number measures air that passes through the window assembly.  The lower the number, the lower the potential for draft through the window.

Because windows are our opening to the world and contribute to how we feel inside our homes, they should provide natural light and frame views both near and far.  The NFRC’s Visible Transmittance (VT) measures the amount of physical light that passes through windows.  Values range from zero to one; a higher number equals more natural light.  Most ratings are between .3 and .8 because manufacturers take into account the light that is blocked from the frame, screens, and sash.

Double vs. Triple Pane

In Wisconsin, we live in a Zone 6 climate, so with our weather a double-pane, Low-E coating and argon gas window will give you the return on your investment.

Do we need triple-pane windows in Wisconsin?  Triple pane windows, from a numbers point of view, would be better than a double pane.  But a lot of it has to do with the environment it is in.  In our zone, a triple pane window’s return on investment is 12 to 15 years out.  A lot of manufacturers try to sell people on triple pane, but they are vinyl window companies.  The question is whether their vinyl will last as long as the window pane.

In urban areas, some may desire a triple-pane window as additional sound insulation.  For those who have a need for that, Marvin manufacturers a “sound transmittance glass” available for their double paned windows.

By choosing a window with a Low-E (emissivity) coating, the glass protects the house from heat coming in from sun in summer, but during winter it blocks heat loss to the outside while reflecting heat back in.  By reducing ultra violet rays, it helps keep upholstery, carpeting, and drapes from fading.

Glass Spacers

Spacers are also an important part of energy efficient window construction.  Spacers keep an appropriate distance between the panes of glass on an insulating unit.  Without a quality constructed spacer, the window can lose much of its energy efficiency.

I hope you found this blog helpful on the fundamentals of window glass.  Again, it’s only one element of having energy-efficient windows in the home.  For any questions on replacement windows, don’t hesitate to call us.  It’s our pleasure to provide you with all the information you need to make the window choice that’s right for you.