4 FM quick reads on windows
1. Look Out for Window Problems
Today's tip is about understanding how to care for windows and address problems that could turn into huge headaches if left unchecked.
Clearly, the easiest way to avoid letting hidden problems fester and get the longest life possible out of windows is to do regular inspections and complete routine preventive maintenance. Of course, in large facilities, the sheer number of windows makes regular inspections difficult, so experts suggest inspecting several samples on each façade of the building. If you recognize a pattern of problems, it's a safe assumption that most or all of the windows have the same problem.
To complete a meaningful inspection, look at the frames and make sure there is no gap between frame and wall that may have resulted from temperature swings that cause regular expansion and contraction. On the exterior, examine the caulking between the window and exterior wall to make sure it's not cracked and that the seal is still true.
If windows are operable, open and close them several times and listen for groans or other odd noises, which are indications that the windows are out of form. Make sure the operator mechanisms themselves aren't warped or rusty.
Finally, take a good look at the cosmetic condition of the interior and exterior window frames - if the paint is peeling or the wood warping, it's a good sign that moisture is present, where there's moisture, there's probably air leakage too.
2. Reducing HVAC First Costs and Operating Costs
Today's tip concerns saving money on HVAC costs.
The time to start thinking about HVAC is at the very start of programming a new building. That's because life-cycle HVAC costs for a new building are often locked in before the efficiency of chillers and boilers has even come up for discussion.
The siting of the building, for example, will affect solar gain. The choice of windows can influence both heat transfer and solar gain. Likewise, the level of insulation in the walls and roof plays a significant role in determining the operating cost of the HVAC system. And the type of lighting system used in the facility will have some effect on heating and cooling loads.
It's not just energy costs that can be saved. Smaller loads translate into smaller chillers, fans and boilers, reducing first costs as well as operating costs.
Specifying efficient HVAC equipment is important, of course, but by the time talk turns to manufacturers and model numbers, many of the most important decisions regarding HVAC efficiency have already been made. That's why it's useful for facility managers to get involved as early as possible in programming.
3. How To Know Whether To Repair or Replace Windows
Today's tip is about things to consider when trying to figure out whether you need new windows.
Ask yourself if the existing window system is structurally adequate and does it accommodate building movements and structural loadings? If not, it's probably time for a replacement. Also, is the system effective at controlling water leakage and moisture migration? Is the system effective in resisting unwanted air infiltration and condensation? If no is the answer to either of those, start doing some window shopping.
Determine whether a discovered problem is occurring in more than one window. If the problem isn't widespread, it may be possible to address problems on a window-by-window basis. Similarly, find out if any problems might actually be with the adjacent wall system, and not really the window at all.
In general, if the condition of the windows or the peripheral elements like the frame, sash, glazing, hardware, weather stripping, sealants, and exterior paint or other surface coatings are deteriorating, replacement will be necessary. If you're thinking about repairs, make sure to get a good estimate and determine if the cost of repairs approaches the cost of replacement. If it does, then replacement makes much more sense than repairs.
4. To Repair or Replace Windows
Today’s tip is about what to consider when trying to decide whether to repair or to replace windows.
When trying to decide whether to repair or replace, consider these seven questions:
1. Is the existing window system, including connections, structurally adequate and does it accommodate building movements and structural loadings? This is critical from a safety as well as a performance standpoint.
2. Is the system effective at controlling water leakage and moisture migration?
3. Is the system effective in resisting unwanted air infiltration and condensation?
4. What is the condition of the system components? Check the frame, sash, glazing, hardware, weather stripping, sealants, and exterior paint or other surface coatings.
5. Are problems widespread or isolated? It may be possible to address problems on a window-by-window basis.
6. Is it possible that the adjacent wall system is contributing to the problems experienced?
7. Is the building historically significant?
In general, if the following conditions exist, replacement is probably preferable to repair. One: Is there excessive deterioration of the window system? Two: Is the effectiveness of the repairs questionable? Three: Would the cost of repairs approach the cost of replacement, or does the life-cycle cost of replacement prove cost-effective passed on lower energy and maintenance costs. Four: Is it impossible to do ongoing maintenance practically after repairs are made?
Deciding whether to repair or replace isn’t any easy decision, but making the right decision based on careful assessment of existing conditions can help save money in the long run.
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