When you live in the North Star State and regularly cope with its harsh winters, you’re always on the lookout for ways to stay toasty when the temperature drops dramatically. At the same time, you want housing elements that can adapt to your needs when seasons change and the weather turns warm and balmy.

One way local homeowners counter Minnesota weather is by installing well-designed windows that allow for plenty of light and ventilation, yet insulate effectively against extreme cold, drafts and moisture. Overall, heat gain and heat loss through windows represent 25 to 30% of the energy Americans use for residential heating and cooling.

With that in mind, here are key steps to take when choosing the best possible options for your local home.

Optimal window replacement starts with ENERGY STAR

Replace old-school single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified windows, doors and skylights designed to prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping. Built with double or triple glass panes, spacers and layers of inert gas, they include special coatings that create low emissivity and deflect ultraviolet light.

Know your window replacement numbers

When shopping for windows, pay attention to the overall thermal performance (U-factor) and the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), which respectively measure the insulating value of the window unit and the amount of heat that can pass through the glass. In general, windows used in Minnesota homes should have a U-value of 0.32 or less and SHGC between 0.30 and 0.60.

Frame up your window replacement game

When it comes to framing, your choices include vinyl, vinyl clad, wood, wood clad, aluminum and fiberglass. Each choice offers different pros and cons in terms of affordability, insulation and maintenance. Fiberglass is usually the most expensive but offers great energy performance with durability and low maintenance.

Best windows for Minnesota climate are storm-steady

Consider adding storm windows, which can significantly reduce heat loss through your primary windows. Today’s multiple varieties can fit either inside or outside an existing window opening.

Expect expertise during window replacement

Because proper installation is key, use experienced contractors like those at Titus who have expertise and experience in windows. Windows may fail to function well if they’re not sealed tightly within their frames and to the building itself.

Dodge drafts when replacing windows

Prevent drafts by ensuring air leaks around walls, ceilings, windows, doors and fireplaces are sealed with caulk, spray foam and/or weather stripping.

Be style-strategic with window replacement

When choosing styles, you may wish to save larger, more elaborate designs for the rooms in which you spend the most time so you can take full advantage of sunlight. Consult with the designers at Titus for insight into optimal windows for each room.

Lean large when replacing living room windows

Bay, bow and picture windows can be ideal for family or living rooms; because they’re typically stationary, you may want to add operable windows to each side for ventilation options.

Kitchens call for functional window replacement

In general, kitchen windows should open easily for times when you need ventilation. For over-the-sink options, choose designs that slide open smoothly so you need not climb over the sink. Minnesotans may also opt for a four-sided garden or greenhouse style that allows them to grow plants and fresh herbs.

Go easy and breezy when replacing bathroom windows

In necessary rooms, opt for windows that open easily to let air out and sunshine in without sacrificing privacy. One idea is to install them above shoulder level so curtains or blinds aren’t required.

Elongate entry light with replacement windows

In an otherwise dark entryway, you might choose long, vertical sidelights on either side of your entry door combined with a half-round transom window above.

Best window replacement denies the darkness

Sun-loving Minnesotans sometimes install glassed-in solariums or conservatories they can use year-round as family rooms, kitchen extensions, spas, greenhouses or swimming pool enclosures. Expert installation is needed for these sun-drenched rooms that optimize insulated glass and strategic heating and exhaust systems to prevent leaking, fogging or extremes in temperature.

At Titus Contracting, we are experts in installing the high-quality Andersen or Pella windows that can optimize energy efficiency in your Minnesota home. Call us at 952-746-7817 to hear our best ideas for your window replacement.