Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for in a new construction window?
You should certainly consider custom-sized windows because they will adapt easier to any special design configuration that your architect may present to you. Stock-sized windows might require extensive carpentry work and are often not available in sizes to suit your design. Alpine custom-sized windows, on the other hand, are manufactured to fit your designated window opening. You get the style and options you want while maintaining your glass area.
What are the various windows made of and what will work best for me?
Basically there are three types of materials used. Aluminum windows, with their easily scratched painted surfaces, conduct both heat and cold, so they're very poor insulators. Wood windows, which require constant painting and caulking, can absorb moisture, making them difficult to open and close. They can even rot. Alpine's solid vinyl windows, however, never need painting and won't show scratches, because the color goes throughout the material. This is why vinyl windows are quickly becoming the most popular choice for both new construction and replacement applications.
Is there any difference in how windows are made?
There are two basic types of construction for vinyl windows. Mechanically fastened windows are screwed together at the corners. Welded windows are becoming more popular and use a chemical or heat process for joining. Alpine utilizes a state-of-the-art welding process called fusion-welding, which uses a heat joining process. Beware of windows with mitered corners screwed together or chemically welded corners, as they probably won't perform as well for you.
Are all vinyl window frames and sashes the same?
To just look at them, it's very difficult to see any difference in quality between various vinyl windows. However, there is a difference. Some window manufacturers use less expensive compounds and extrusion techniques. These frames can be very brittle and have a dull blue or gray cast. Alpine products, however, are comprised of nothing but the finest vinyl (PVC) powder along with the latest water cooling extrusion techniques to ensure that you get the best frames and sashes possible.
Can I design any window configuration that I want?
Certainly, since all Alpine Windows are custom-made. (You may want to consult an independent design specialist to find the type of window that best complements your home's design). No matter what style or combination of styles you choose, Alpine can custom-manufacture it all for you, including the combinations which require a special shaped window.
Is all glass used in replacement windows the same?
Not really. Alpine uses PPG American made float glass in all of its window products. Since 1883 when it launched the first glass facility in the U.S., PPG has remained the leading supplier of energy-efficient glass products as they continue to evolve their glass-making technology for the ever-changing needs of the building industry.
I have been reading about different test results on windows. How should this impact my buying decision?
Be careful when looking at extremely specific results since many of them do not really indicate how well the window will work for you. Some apply to just certain parts of the window, like the frame and its R-value, and do not give an overall picture. Others avoid R-value or U-value ratings altogether. Tested in nationally certified labs and our own modern test facility, Alpine Windows are engineered to provide optimum energy savings and are rated by the National Fenestration Rating Council.
What is a U-factor? Can it help in choosing a better window?
The U-factor is a standard measure of heat transfer through an entire window unit. The methods for measuring U-factor ratings were developed by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Trade Commission.
The lower the U-factor the better the window's insulating ability. (A window's U-factor is the reciprocal of its R-factor, they both measure its insulating ability.) Look for windows with low U-factors and high R-values. See "R-factors."
What is an R-factor and is it important?
The letter "R" stands for resistance. The higher the R-factor, the greater the amount of insulation a window provides. The R-factor rating of a window frame and glass is very important since it directly affects the cost of heating and cooling your home.
How are Alpine products tested and certified?
All Alpine products undergo extensive testing, which is performed by independent laboratories in accordance with industry certification requirements. Alpine is a member of, or has met the qualifications of, these performance and quality rating groups:
- ENERGY STAR® Windows Program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy
- National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Certified
- Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) Member
- American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA)
What is more important in saving energy, the frame or the glass?
Since 80% of a window is glass, real heating and cooling savings come from what is known as "improved glass performance," not a high R-value on the frame. Alpine uses the latest technology, known as high-performance warm-edge spacer system. This spacer system helps to improve the performance and the longevity of the insulated glass unit, and is standard on all Alpine Windows.
What is "warm-edge" technology and how does it affect thermal efficiency?
"Warm-edge" technology makes the glass window unit the strongest, longest lasting and most thermally efficient glass unit on the market today. The Intercept® process developed by PPG, is the most state-of-the-art insulated glass spacer system available, and is standard in all Alpine window products. It is an insulated spacer system using a one-piece U-shaped channel to maintain consistent space between the two panes of glass. This U-shaped system reduces the transfer of heat and cold and makes the entire unit stronger and more energy-efficient. Unlike many of the most popular insulated spacer systems, Intercept forces the gas inside of the window's insulated glass unit to stay in, and helps to keep moisture out.
What energy-saving options should I know about?
You should give careful consideration to Alpine's Low-E Insulated Glass Package, featuring Low-E glass and argon gas. Low-E glass is an excellent barrier against ultraviolet rays which fade carpet, furniture, draperies, and even woodwork. Argon gas is colorless, odorless, nonflammable, non-toxic and above all, a safe, inert gas that is heavier than air.
Not only does argon gas help to increase the energy efficiency of a window, but it helps to make your home quieter as well. When Alpine Windows are equipped with the Low-E Insulated Glass Package, they automatically meet or exceed the energy-saving requirements for all climate zones set forth by the ENERGY STAR® program.
Do Alpine Windows require a lot of maintenance?
Because our frames and sashes are made of vinyl, you can say goodbye to painting and caulking. Alpine Windows won't stick, and you don't have to remove storm windows in order to clean them. In fact, you can do it all from inside your home. An occasional wipe with a damp cloth will keep your windows looking like new for years to come.
What is the ENERGY STAR® Program?
The ENERGY STAR® program was created by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help consumers in the recognition of energy-efficient products. This program also promotes the environmental and economic benefits of these products through the ENERGY STAR® label and other program activities.
Will Alpine Windows be a good investment?
Yes, for a variety of reasons. First, you may realize savings on your heating and cooling bills that others won't, with aluminum windows or some wood products. Second, they're virtually maintenance free, which eliminates painting costs. And finally, Alpine offers a solid Lifetime Limited Warranty for your peace of mind.
Aren't all window warranties practically the same?
Not really. There are as many warranties as there are window manufacturers. Some brand name factory warranties cover just the sash and frame. The rest is left up to the local fabricator who may or may not cover it. Your warranty is only as good as the company behind it. With Alpine, your unit is warranted from the extrusion and parts to the glass and construction by our Lifetime Limited Warranty. It's one of the most comprehensive available.
What about strength, protection and noise reduction?
You should look for a window that offers both superior strength and energy efficiency. Alpine's computer-controlled process ensures a perfectly square window sash and mainframe with superior strength. And for exceptional energy efficiency, an interlock at the meeting rails helps protect your home against the elements, or unwanted intrusions. In addition, our insulating glass unit traps dry air, creating an exceptional comfort barrier.