Replacing windows offers you an exciting opportunity to change styles in some areas or throughout your home. A basic consideration when you choose your windows for each room is whether you want fixed inoperable styles or operable models that can be opened and closed. As with any other kind of choice in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to either option. Below is a look at what you can expect from choosing operable windows, inoperable models, or a mix of both in some rooms or throughout your home.
Why are Inoperable Windows so Popular?
Most fixed window types for residential use are custom shaped and typically used to bring in natural light or picture windows used to showcase an exterior view. These inoperable window types are installed in spaces where such opportunities are prioritized over the freedom to open windows for ventilation. The single disadvantage of fixed windows is that you simply cannot open them, so they do not provide the benefits of an operable window, such as those listed in the section below. Some benefits of fixed windows include:
- Fixed windows typically require less framing because they don’t need to accommodate the movement of sashes vertically or horizontally to open and close them.
- They don’t need to maintain sufficient rigidity to prevent glass breakage during those motions. That means inoperable windows can have narrower frames and larger glass areas for better views of outdoor spaces.
- Fixed windows also avoid any potential security or child safety risk inherent in windows that can remain open or closed but unlocked.
- An inoperable window may have a longer lifespan because there are no moving parts to wear out.
Operable Window Types
There are various window types to choose for different functional needs and aesthetic preferences in each room of your home. These are the essential options for sliding windows most frequently installed in residential properties:
- Slider windows
- Double hung windows
- Casement windows
- Awning windows
All of these styles have their advantages and disadvantages compared to others on the list. Deciding which type is best for any particular room, the location within the room requires some consideration of how you want to use that section of the living space. You’ll also need to take a look at a real window of the type you want and open and close it to see how it will operate in that space.
Benefits of Operable Windows
Some of the benefits that motivate many property owners to install multiple operable energy-efficient replacement windows during their home renovations include:
- Reduces heating and cooling costs: Open windows allow natural airflow, which reduces electricity costs, wear on the HVAC system, and HVAC repairs.
- Increases home comfort: Brings natural seasonal breezes and refreshing seasonal conditions indoors.
- Improves home safety: Provides necessary, sometimes legally required emergency egress.
- Improves indoor air quality: Natural airflow through a home helps reduce indoor pollution and may relieve allergic reactions by enabling much greater air exchange.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Operable Windows?
The disadvantages of operable models should also be considered in choosing the best windows for your needs and preferences in each room of your home:
- May cause higher HVAC costs: Allowing heated or air-conditioned air to escape by forgetting to close windows, extreme heating and cooling costs. It also strains the HVAC system and can cause the premature need for equipment repairs or replacement.
- Potential security risk: Leaving windows unlocked in unsupervised areas of the home or when no one is at home can invite intruders.
- Potential safety risk: Leaving upstairs or even downstairs windows open can be a deadly safety hazard for children and pets.
- Structural damage risk: Moisture leaks that can weaken the structure or promote mold are more likely around operable windows as they age or if they are not securely closed.
Mixing Operable and Inoperable Window Styles
Having a combination of both operable and fixed windows types may best accommodate all your functional needs and aesthetic preferences for your home. It may also be the best solution for meeting overall safety and security needs. Think about your intentions for the ways you plan to use your living spaces and your vision of how you want your home to look.
There are comfort and safety benefits in having multiple operable windows in your home — natural airflow, superior ventilation, and emergency egress. There are benefits of having fixed windows — optimal sealing, broader views, and alleviated concern about uninvited entry or falling accidents, home invasion, or another emergency.
Often, homeowners elect to combine the two options to allow natural airflow while also minimizing security risks. You may even consider creating insulative zones in which HVAC can be used in some areas while other areas of the home have open windows for natural airflow.
Ideal Window Planning By Advanced Designers
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