Installing new windows is one of the pricier home improvements you can take on and not a task you should take lightly.

If a property inspection recommends replacement windows or you're just feeling a draft when the temperatures drop, you need to get the best windows for your home. More efficient products can yield a noticeable difference for your heating bill during winter. Plus, your family won't have to shiver as cold air slips into the house. During summer, you won't have to worry about your conditioned air escaping.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing replacement windows:

How do you want the window to open?

There are various styles of windows, and probably the most noticeable difference between models is how they open. Here is an overview of your choices:

  • Double hung: These windows have two panes that slide vertically. After you release the locking latch, you push the bottom pane up to open the window.
  • Gliding: This style is similar to the double-hung variation, but these windows slide horizontally rather than vertically. One or both panes may slide.
  • Casement: Rather than sliding, these models open away from the home in the same manner that a door opens. They are often operated by a hand crank, and the panes stand vertically.
  • Awning: These windows are like the casement variation, but the panes stand horizontally and open out and upward.

Selecting one of these options is about personal preference and where the windows are to be located on your home. You may decide casement windows are best for your upper-level bedrooms but see double-hung windows as the most suitable choice for your lower-level living room. The style of window you chose can also be impacted by the type of home you have - colonial, ranch or bungalow, for instance.

What's the weather like in your area?

Windows are created with varying degrees of weather resistance. This is to offer you the strongest and most energy-efficient options for your home's climate. When talking to the supplier, ask which rating will be best for your house.

Also, get information on various types of glass. There are coatings that can reflect more light to improve energy efficiency while letting light into the property. These coatings can be used to keep heat out in warmer climates and keep heat in in colder climates.

Some window models include double panes for more insulation. Air or a gas such as argon sits between the two panes to provide insulation. There are also triple-pane windows.

What frame do you want?

If you're not tired of making window choices, you can decide which material you want to frame your windows. Here are your options:

  • Fiberglass: This is a newer material that typically is used in automotive applications. It is among the affordable options and offers more energy efficiency than vinyl.
  • Vinyl: This material is on the affordable side. Plus, vinyl doesn't have as many maintenance concerns as other materials and is energy efficient.
  • Wood: If you're looking to spend more, wood window frames may be the way to go. Among home builders, they are seen as the most aesthetically pleasing option. However, you'll have to paint or stain these frames often to maintain their beauty.
  • Aluminum: Another affordable material, aluminum is low maintenance like vinyl. Also, it is durable. In regard to energy efficiency, this material loses a lot of heat. Additionally, aluminum easily conducts heat, which isn't beneficial for homes in a warmer climate.

While appearances are important for choosing windows, don't forget the key consideration is how well the windows you want fit your location. If a certain model won't improve your home's energy efficiency, it may not be worth the investment.