When ordering Simonton windows picking out a ProSolar package is VERY important to the overall success of the project. This can be a tricky step because most folks aren’t window experts. Frankly, most in-home window salespeople aren’t window experts either.
We routinely see people get bad advice from window salespeople, either to drive up the cost of the project or just because they don’t understand what they’re selling. Luckily it doesn’t need to be too hard to pick out a good package.
How can you pick the right Simonton ProSolar package for your home?
Don’t worry, we can help.
You’ll hear window salespeople telling all sorts of stories about low-e glass, gas fills and types of spacers.
This can all feel a little complicated but it’s really not as complicated as you might think.
The Simonton ProSolar packages will all involve combinations of these factors, the low-e coating, the gas fill and the spacer.
Step 1: Decide what you’re trying to accomplish
This may sound obvious but it’s a step people skip all the time. If you’re in the north you probably want a package that emphasizes cold weather performance. If you’re in the south, protection from the sun might be most important.
Then, there may be factors that are unique to you or to your house. For example, I once lived in Baltimore with large windows that faced south. It would get HOT in that house in the afternoons almost all year round. For me, reducing the heat from the sun on that side of the house was pretty important even though Baltimore isn’t exactly the deep south.
Step 2: Define success
At this stage it’s important to keep in mind that lower efficiency ratings aren’t always better. We often see customers struggling to compare the options. These customers will sometimes be inclined to just go for the lowest efficiency ratings thinking that must be the best choice.
That’s not really how it works. For example, the lowest SHGC rating means less heat from the sun gets into the house, but it also means the glass will be darker. In addition it means that you won’t benefit from the heat from the sun in the winter. If you’re in the north this can be pretty important.
We typically recommend using the Energy Star guidelines from the US Department of Energy as a starting point. That way you’ll know you’re looking at options that are at least pretty good. Note, the Energy Star map is shown above.
Pick your Simonton ProSolar package
The basic ProSolar package is shown here. It’s a pretty solid choice for someone in the middle of the country where it’s not too hot or too cold. If you are in a more extreme climate this package probably won’t be the best choice.
The ProSolar shade package, shown above, will be designed for high sun areas. If you’re in the south or if the sun is the main problem you’re trying to solve this package might make sense. It uses a heaver type of low-e coating on the glass to block more solar heat.
The downside to this package is that it will make the glass a little darker than other options. That might be a tradeoff that you’re willing to make, but it’s something to be aware of.
The Simonton ProSolar Sun package is designed for cooler climates where you want more heat from the sun. This package will have a lighter low-e coating. In addition to more solar heat it will also allow more visible light which is attractive to many people.
What about spacers and gasses?
Once you’ve picked a basic package you can still change the type of spacer in the package and the type of gas fill. These factors will have a much smaller impact on the overall efficiency so it’s important to weigh the increase in cost vs the difference in benefit.
Luckily this is pretty easy to do. All windows will have published efficiency ratings for all options. If the salesman is trying to tell you that he only recommends windows with Super Spacer because it’s the best, you’ll want to ask about the ratings and the cost difference with a lower cost spacer.
Usually the difference in ratings from a spacer is only 0.01 or 0.02 in the U-Factor. If the cost difference is small that might be fine, but if he’s charging you $50 per window more for that option you can probably skip it. You’re not likely to notice a difference that small.
What’s the bottom line?
There are a lot of available efficiency options but it’s not rocket science. Start by identifying what problem you’re trying to solve, then define success then pick a package that will achieve success.
Lower ratings are not always better, in fact they can sometimes be worse. It’s important that you don’t just focus on the numbers without considering what those numbers actually do for you.
How can I find a great local window company?
That part is easy. You can check this section for recommended window companies all over the country.