f you are researching windows to install in your home and come across one called a bow window, don’t worry. It’s not a typo. Bay windows and bow windows are very similar, but not identical. If you are unsure which one best suits your space, learn more about what each has to offer.
</p><p><strong>Bay </strong></p><p>A bay window isHindsville a three-paneled window that juts from your home, and typically features a window seat or storage bench below it, on the inside of the house. It is an attempt to bring the outside indoors. By creating the illusion that while in your living room, you’re simultaneously in your yard, the bay window creates a unique space in your room and eye appeal.</p><p><strong>Bow </strong></p><p>Bow windows are typically larger than bay windows, but serve a very similar purpose. Usually, bow windows have five panels, which cause them to curve like a bow instead of appearing more rigid like a bay window. The size makes them a prominent feature in your room, so it’s important that you have the wall space to incorporate them, and that you are comfortable with the light and exposure they allow.</p><p><strong>Customizing </strong></p><p>Once you have decided between bay and bow windows, the fun begins! You can customize with finishes such as:</p><p></p><ul> <li>Wood color</li> <li>Glass type</li> <li>Hardware</li> <li>Grilles</li> <li>Screens</li></ul><p>These choices will dramatically change the look of the window, so before you commit, envision the window with all of your selections. Have a good sense for the finished product before you head home. Otherwise, you may have an unpleasant surprise when the window arrives for installation. Once the window is in, you also have the opportunity to create a new internal space.
Reduce Energy Costs With Replacement WindowsWith the price of heating and cooling rising almost daily I started looking at my old windows and wondering if it wouldn't be worth it to replace them with newer, more energy efficient ones. I had read about Energy Star® Ratings and how they are (supposedly) indicative of the most energy efficient appliances and building materials available.I started to do a little internet research to see if it would be a good investment to install more efficient windows in our townhouse. I wanted to find out if they could really pay for themselves and how long the payback period would take.After a little searching I found a simple calculation that will yield your payback period for installing new energy efficient windows.According to Energy Star, "An average household spends over 40 percent of its annual energy budget on heating and cooling costs. You could reduce those bills by up to 15 percent with ENERGY STAR® windows."We can break that claim down into a simple formula:(Your average monthly energy bill (if you have gas and electric just add them together) X.4 ) X.15 = projected savings per month. Divide this number into the cost of upgrading your windows and you have how many months it would take to recoup your investment.To make a long story short, projected savings are 6% of your monthly energy bill.For our house the calculation looks something like this:Average month's electric bill: $141.20* Times 6% X.06 = Avg energy savings per month $8.472Cost to replace 6 windows with Energy Star windows: Approx $330 (at the low end) per window X 6 windows = $1980 (if you have special tax rebates available in your area subtract those from your total).Next I figured out the projected payback period:$1980 / $8.472 = 233 months or 19.5 years (Update: since I wrote this article the Energy tax credit has been phased back in, so you would subtract the $1500 credit available (0r 30% of the cost of the windows not including instalation costs and take whichever is smaller) before dividing by monthly usage ratio. In the example you would take 1980-1500 = 480 and divide by 8.472 = 56.66 months until payback).Based on my math the investment without the tax credit hardly seemed practical. I calculated this based on costs which include installing the windows myself. Now including the tax credit in our calculation the payback period is 4.72 years, making it a very worthwhile investment, to get that return on an investment I'd have to get a 50% return on your money....pretty good huh?)You can take this same calculation to decide between replacing your windows with cheaper ones or going for the added expense of putting Energy Star rated windows in, just subtract the cost of the cheaper windows from the cost of the Energy Star windows and see the projected payout period differential.While the additional expense doesn't seem worth it for my project, perhaps with better tax rebates available in your area, and/or a higher energy bill it may be worthwhile for you. Just remember before making any major purchase, first DO THE MATH!*Note: I already knew my average monthly bill, but you can get a fairly accurate estimate of the average for your home by calling your local utility and asking them about their monthly budget plan. The budget plan amount for your house and family will be a fairly accurate estimate of your monthly energy bill customized to your home size, number of occupants, and your geographic area.
Double Hung Windows
When searching for the perfect look for your bow window treatments, you will find that you have many choices. You can choose to purchase separate window treatments that will be installed to match the arch, and the selection is practically unlimited. Or you can choose to custom order a track and drapery that is designed exactly for your window arch.
If your choice is the separate treatments, you will need to purchase four or more panels to cover the window space. They can be sheer, or heavy and luxurious. Since a lot of bow windows are on the ground floor and in the front of the home, you may also want to consider drapery that gives you privacy. You can use sheers during the day for a certain amount of privacy, and then have heavier curtains to draw in the evening.
So you have a couple of directions to go in when you are choosing the draperies for your bow window treatments. You can do horizontal wooden blinds or shutters, or you can go with long, flowing sheers to the floor. However you decide to embellish these windows, be sure that the fabrics and colors you choose add to their grandeur, and they will capture, and in fact become, the beauty of the room.
Bow Vs Bay - What Is the Right Window for Your Home?
While bay and bow windows are similar in some ways and often confused as being the same by many people, they each have interesting unique advantages over one another. Before shopping for a bay or bow, it is a good idea to do some research to gain an understanding of the inherent differences between them.
The bay and bow windows provide a much wider view to the outdoors than could be achieved by a flat window. This is possible because both styles project outward from the walls to allow for a better arc of visibility. If a person is standing close enough to the bay or bow, they will be able to view a 180 degree arc outside. For this reason, bays and bows are often used on walls where great views are available. Also, because of the way these windows project out from the wall, they are often used to give the impression that the room is bigger than it actually is. A large bay or bow window can project out a foot or more from an existing wall giving the whole room a more spacious feel.
The bay window typically consists of three windows: a large center picture window which is parallel with the wall and two smaller windows (called flankers) on either side which angle out from the walls to provide the projection. The angles that are typically used for the flankers are 30 and 45 degrees. These two flankers are often configured as double hung or casement windows to allow them to open for ventilation, but they can also be fixed. What is special about the bay window is the large center picture window. This large picture window gives a great unobstructed view to the outside, much like a plain picture window, but it has the additional advantage of some ventilation options and the wider view that is provided by the two flanker windows on each end.
The bow window is different in that it usually consists of three to six of the same-sized windows. The use of more windows allows the bow to project outward from the wall in more of a gentle curve than the bay. The windows which make up a bow window are usually configured as fixed or casement windows. Some companies offer double hung or single hung window combinations; however, these combinations are not common because the view through the window can be dramatically reduced due to the extra hardware required. If casement, double, or single hung windows are used instead of fixed windows, then the bow gains a much greater advantage over the bay in ventilation. This advantage in ventilation is possible because there are more windows included in the bow's construction that can open to allow air flow. This greater ventilation comes with the disadvantage of having a smaller unobstructed view to the outside since each window used to construct the bow is smaller than the bay's large center picture window.
The differences between the bay and bow window can be summarized as follows: the bay is a more angular design with a larger unobstructed view than the bow; the bow is a more gently curving window which offers the possibility of better ventilation than the bay should casement, double, or single hung windows be selected as an option.