When you're in the market for replacement windows, you may be thinking of choosing the same type as what you currently have installed in the house. However, shopping for replacement windows gives you a chance to pick out a new style as well as new materials for the windows; this can mean more convenience in cleaning them and even better insulation for your home overall. Note a few tips for choosing replacement windows for your home.
Low-E coatings are put over glass to reflect sunlight and heat. In warm climates, the coating is put outside the window to bounce sunlight back off the windows and keep it from passing through. In colder climates, the coating can be put on the inside of the window pane to keep heat inside the home. Low-E coatings can sometimes be an affordable option for keeping the home insulated with your windows.
Not all glass for windows is perfectly clear; some will be slightly tinted in order to decrease their visible transmittance. This refers to how much light is actually going to pass through the glass--the higher the number, the more light that gets through. If you prefer a shadier room or get frequent headaches and need some protection from sunlight, you can opt for glass with a low visible transmittance and not worry about always needing to close the blinds or curtains over the window.
Note that impact resistance doesn't necessarily mean glass that is shatterproof. Impact resistance can mean glass that is stronger against the impact of gravel and other small objects, but it typically means that if the glass does break, it doesn't shatter into hundreds of pieces. Impact resistant glass is also safer against storms and hurricanes; the vibrations and high winds of such storms can shatter normal glass. It may also help to insulate against noise since it won't rattle and carry sound waves as easily as other glass.
Don't assume that standard single hung windows, meaning those that simply allow you to open them from the bottom, are your only option. Consider double hung, where the top section can be lowered as well as the bottom. This can allow for more air circulation or a reduction of noise from nearby roads, as the sound waves may not travel up as far. Casement windows are also good for maximum air circulation; these are one pane that is hinged and that swings outward to open.