Confused in Chicago
I am replacing 4 large double hungs in my family room. I have to do this quickly because we are putting hardiboard on the exterior in a few weeks. Chicago is in Energy Star 4 category. The windows are north/northwest and only get a glimmer of sun around sunset. This has been a miserably cold room. We are replacing 28 year old Andersons that were installed by the previous owner. We always have a space heater going during the winter. I want the lowest u factor I can find and I'm willing to pay for warm windows. I've looked at Marvin, Simonton Hurd and Jeldwen. I am considering the Marvin and a Simonton that has a wood look vinyl interior. I wanted wood but wood consider a vinyl alternative if it looks like wood. We have Anderson and Pella white vinyl in the rest of the house but I want wood in this room to go with the wooden vaulted ceiling.
These windows are 46 inches wide. Would triple pane make them too heavy/cumbersome to clean?
Does the clean technology work? One rep told me that it's just Rain-X and it will come off with chemicals in Windex and other cleaners. If it works well this may be a deciding factor for me.
Should I get 2 or 3 coats of Low-E? I understand it makes the room darker but also inhibits transmission of cold/hot
Should I have my general contractor install them when he puts the hardiboard in or should I go with the window company's installer?
Are there any other recommendations or something I'm missing?