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You probably know that replacing your windows can not only make your home look better but that it can also help you cut your utility costs when those new windows are more energy efficient than the ones you replace. What you may be less clear on is what all those numbers or window ratings mean. Many customers find themselves puzzling over these ratings as they try to compare products.

snowy day windows and fireplace


Not to worry though! Below we have compiled a quick guide to understanding window ratings.

Energy Star Rating

Simply put, when a product qualifies for an Energy Star Rating, it means that it is best in class (typically in the top 15-30% in its category) for energy efficiency. Each Energy Star rated window comes with a removable sticker that tells you its rating, the climate zone for which it’s certified and materials that are used.

Energy Rating

The Energy Rating (ER) is a number assigned using strict criteria by an independent organization to tell the customer how well the window rates regarding solar heat gain, heat loss, and air leakage. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the window is.

U Value/U Factor

The U Value tells the customer how well the window performs in terms of keeping heat inside the home. This is especially important for homes in colder climates. The U Factor generally ranges from 0.2 to 1.2 and the lower the rating is, the better the window’s performance.


The R-Value is a measure of heat resistance or how well the window works at preventing heat flow. The higher the number in the R-Value, the better the heat resistance.

CR Value

CR stands for condensation resistance. The higher the CR Value of a window, the more resistant it is to having condensation form on it. CR Value works with a scale of 0 to 100. For this rating, it is better to look for a higher number.

Visual Transmittance (VT)

Visual Transmittance refers to the amount of light (and therefore heat from the sun) in the visible spectrum which can pass through the window’s glazing. In the case of the VT rating, a lower number is better because it means that less heat is allowed to pass through the glass.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) refers to the amount of heat which is absorbed by the glass and transmitted into the home. This rating is between 0 and 1. The lower the number is, the less heat that is transmitted. In other words, a lower number on this rating means a more efficient window.

With all the various energy efficiency ratings that are given to windows, it can be confusing for a customer to know which windows are best for their home. Hopefully, this guide will prove useful as you make your choice. Of course, for more personalized help, the team at Jans Awning Products in Burlington, Ontario is always happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Windows are one of the most noticeable features of your home. Although your house can’t speak, they can provide you with some hints that something is not right and you should listen carefully. Windows that are more than a few decades old may be telling you that it’s time to consider replacing them.

vinyl windows


Well maintained windows can last twenty years or more, but there are many factors at play for their lifespan, such as the part of the country where the windows reside. Windows in British Columbia will have a different lifespan than those living in Ontario where severe winter weather takes its toll on our home’s exterior.

Here are a few things to be on the lookout for regarding the need to replace your old windows with newer, more energy efficient units.

Warped, damaged or broken windows

Sometimes, you can repair a window if it has a minor problem, such as installing new weatherstripping. However, if it is damaged, warped, the window sash or frame is broken; replacing is the preferred option to making a repair, even if the window is still operable. A warped, damaged or broken window can easily fog up, become drafty, stick when you try to open or close it, and may even refuse to stay open and fall back down.

Reduce your energy bill

Although windows do provide some heat during the winter months by allowing sunlight to filter inside, drafty windows operate in the opposite manner. Drafty windows can result in your energy bills increasing to 10%-25% higher, according to

With energy costs high, particularly in Ontario, you will want to do everything that you can to reduce your utility bills. By replacing old windows with energy efficient ones, you will reduce not only your heating cost but cooling costs as well.

If you’re planning on selling your home anytime in the near future, those new windows can be a big selling point for potential buyers. BIG selling point.

Home makeover

Since windows are one of the most prominent home features, home renovators will tell you that if your windows look old and worn, so too will your whole house. Home builders and renovators know that good design is critical for the longevity of a structure and a home’s overall vision should be the driving force in selecting new windows for your renovation project.

Not only will you improve the look of your home, you will be creating a more comfortable interior while improving the airflow throughout your house. You can even increase the flood of natural light and warmth into the home by installing larger windows which provide both aesthetic and health benefits. Additional daylight provides increased productivity, comfort and helps to regulate your circadian rhythms for better general wellness.

Other benefits

By replacing old, warped, damaged and broken frame windows with new ones, you not only improve your home’s appearance, you significantly reduce the buildup of condensation in the home. Energy efficient windows keep the interior surface warmer; thereby humidity can be increased without moisture getting on the windows and potentially damaging the walls. Less condensation reduces the growth of bacteria and mold. Additionally, properly encased windows reduce dust buildup and keep out bugs, pollen and external sounds. This helps to keep your home’s interior healthier for you and your family.

Wise investment

Not all windows are the same, particularly because of your location. Let the experts at Jans Awning Products help you select the best vinyl windows for your home. Our products are tested and certified by Canadian Standards Association and comply with American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) standards.

Replacing old windows with new energy-efficient windows is a great investment and return on your dollar. Your home will have an updated appearance; more curb appeal, healthier environment, and reduced energy costs. It’s a win-win for everyone.


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Windows play a huge role in the character, airiness and efficiency of your home. Windows allow natural light and fresh air to enter your house, provide a view to the outdoors and can serve as vital emergency exits. However, they’re also responsible for unnecessary heat loss, high energy consumption, cold drafts, and condensation problems.

single hung windowsbay windows

If you start to notice condensation, drafts or rattling noises from your windows, it’s time for you to think about an upgrade, but for homeowners with used windows that require some attention, not all used windows require a full window replacement. If you are living in a newer home with relatively new windows, but you notice the windows are not performing at their optimal best with heat loss through and around your windows, there are other alternatives to a full-frame window replacement.

Full-Window Replacement:

Replacement windows are designed to fit into existing window openings. They’re available in a multitude of sizes and come in wood, vinyl, fiberglass, vinyl-clad wood, and aluminum-clad wood. You can choose from 3 basic types of replacement windows:

• Sash kits
• Insert replacements(Retrofit)
• Full-frame units

Sash-replacement kits can give an old window frame new movable parts, including jamb liners and sash. Insert replacement windows consist of a fully assembled window in a ready-to-install secondary frame. It slips into the existing opening and is fastened to the old side jambs. Full-frame replacement windows are similar to inserts, except that they have a complete frame that includes head jamb, side jambs, and sill. These are the only option when the old window frame, sill, or jambs are rotted.

When installing replacement windows, we at Jans Awning Products generally replace the full window, including the old frame to ensure maximum view, insulation and draft-control. This way of replacing windows also makes for a more aesthetically pleasing finish on both interior and exterior and is definitely the best way to make sure that you get full value for your money.

Retrofit Windows:

Retrofit windows (also called inserts) fit inside the existing window frames. Only the window stops and old sashes need to be removed. Existing moldings, inside and out, are not affected. Installing inserts are only an option if the old window frame is in good shape, rot-free, and square.

Reglazing Windows:

Glazing is the name of the hardened putty that creates a weathertight seal on the exterior the window between the wood and glass. Over time, glazing can become badly cracked or fall off, leaving your window vulnerable to water and rot. Reglazing is a good option for newer windows, which are still in good shape.

Jans Awning Products in Burlington has over 30 years of installing replacement windows. We use North Star Windows, which meet the strict standards for safety and efficiency set by the Canadian Standards Association.

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Though there isn’t much we can do about the ever increasing cost of hydro in Ontario, there are many measures we can take to limit our consumption, and lower our bill during the winter months. If you have heat leaving your home during the winter, this should be first on the list to fix.

Energy Efficient Windows

If your home is older or even if your windows and doors have seen better days, heat is leaving your house, driving your electricity and heating bill upwards. Replacing windows and doors doesn’t come cheap but will most certainly pay for themselves over the years. New windows will also increase your property value and add appeal to both the interior and exterior of your house.

Windows and doors can fail to do their job for a number of reasons. All will leave your house vulnerable to the frigid temperatures of winter.

Poor Quality

No matter what the age of your windows are, if they aren’t made with quality materials and quality workmanship, they aren’t going to keep the heat in. Living in Burlington, Energy Efficient windows will pay themselves off quickly with our hot summers (keeping the air conditioned air in and the hot air out) and frigid winters. North Star windows, for example use Low -E glass. This involves a coating on the glass that reduces the amount of heat lost while letting in the maximum amount of light.

Old Windows and Doors

If your windows are more than ten years old, they don’t likely include the most recent energy efficient technologies. Even if you windows and doors are in good shape, they are still likely letting your indoor heat out. Old windows and doors may be made of wood that has seen better days. Wood can become a breeding ground of mold when it is exposed to moisture. Wood will also expand and contract with temperature variations. All these things will contribute to heat loss. North Star windows and doors are made from vinyl and are on average, twice as efficient as your average 10-year-old window.

Poor Workmanship

Technology and quality materials will go a long way in producing energy efficient windows and doors that will save you money on your heating bill. If your windows and doors aren’t quality made however, they are likely to let you down. A quality made and installed window or door will keep out the heat, the cold and noise. A great company will guarantee their workmanship along with the product they provide.

If your windows and doors are letting out the heat and along with it, your money, it may be time to make the investment in new, quality windows and doors. With hydro rates rising, the cost of this investment makes good financial sense.  Jans Awning Products in Burlington can help you choose the right windows and doors for your home, as well as install them.

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Winter truly is a bittersweet season. Along with that warm holiday glow comes cold nights, shorter days, snow, ice, and wind! Keeping your home as warm and dry as possible will dramatically increase your chances of having an enjoyable winter. Winterizing your home can sometimes be a big project, but with a few small improvements you can be coming home to a warm and dry house every single day.


Burlington, ready for winter

Start With New Doors and Windows!

An enormous amount of heat is lost every winter through inefficient, poorly installed, or simply old doors and windows. Today’s energy efficient windows have been built with the intention of not only reducing heat loss, but also helping you save on your heating bill while reducing your impact on the environment. At Jans Awning Products, we help homeowners install new doors and windows all year round that keep their home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We carry the North Star line of quality vinyl windows, and specialize in bay and bow windows. North Star windows have been specially designed to thrive under Ontario’s harsh weather conditions, while also looking fantastic!

You can see all of our Window options here. Alternatively, consider installing some storm windows. Did you know that simply installing a storm window can increase the efficiency of your windows by up to 45%? Storm windows act by sealing up drafts and reducing the loss of heat from the inside of your home.

Schedule a Furnace Inspection

The best time to schedule a furnace inspection is before you even need it! During a furnace inspection, a professional heating specialist will do everything from change the filters of your furnace, to check the electric connections, and make sure the emergency shutdown and startup functions are working properly. They will also calibrate the temperature controls and help you program the settings to suit your heating preferences and schedule. The most important part of a furnace inspection is changing or cleaning the filters. These filters are what keep your furnace operating efficiently and safely.

Seal Up Gaps with Caulking and Weather-Stripping

Even the smallest of gaps can lead to a horrendous amount of heat loss. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these gaps around doors and windows can lead to between 5-30% of lost energy efficiency every single year! Take a close look at the areas where two different building materials meet, such as in corners, chimneys, where wires enter and exit your home, and all along the foundation. To find areas where you might be losing heat, use a stick of incense. Move a stick of lit incense along the exterior walls of your home, wherever the smoke of the incense wavers is where you are losing heat.

Lastly, make sure that your home is well insulated! Attics, garages, and basements are prime candidates for heat loss. Even if your home already has insulation in these areas, simply adding more can get your home even warmer!

To learn more about how our awning and window products can have your home warmer by winter time, contact Jans Awning Products today!

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When doing our annual spring cleaning, we often imagine things like cleaning out the garage, taking old household items to the dump, and starting with a clutter free home that seems to fill up again by the same time next year. Well this year go beyond the traditional de-cluttering and choose a few cleaning solutions that will last all year around.

Window and Door Maintenance

Spring is the perfect time of year to give not just your home, but your house a thorough cleaning. Choosing to clean your windows, doors and frames will help increase longevity of these products as well as control risks of mold and allergens developing in your home.

When washing window or door frames, use a soft cloth or long-handled soft-bristle brush to avoid any damage to the finish. A mild abrasive cleaner will usually be sufficient in most homes, but keeping it away from glass will avoid creating any unwanted streaks or marks on your windows. Stay away from chlorine bleach or liquid grease removers. Provided you follow the instructions, products such as SoftScrub, Ajax or BonAmi are perfect cleaners to use near glass or other delicate surfaces, while still effectively getting rid of tough stains from dirt or top soil, caulking, rust, mold or mildew.

When washing glass in windows or doors, you must use cleaners made specifically for glass that will not damage the glass or leave streaks or stains. There are many products available for this that comes in a variety of potencies depending on how strong of a product you are looking for.

If you have a specific stain on your glass that you need to remove, there are specialty products that can get rid of wax, permanent marker, oil, paint, pencil, rust, tar and bubble gum. A combination of Fantastik, Murphy Oil Soap and a solution of water vinegar and Windex can be made to combat each of these nasty stain causes.
Remember that for outdoor jobs or indoor windows that are high up, professional window cleaners will do a great job and have the proper tools to wash windows and doors effectively and safely.

Self-Cleaning Glass

If you are looking at installing new windows this season, consider self-cleaning glass. This specialty-made glass features a thin, clear, permanent coating on one of its surfaces. The coating makes raindrops spread out across the surface of the glass to wash away dirt particles. It also acts as a catalyst, when activated by sunlight, to break down organic dirt into water vapor and CO2 gas.

If you have a lot of windows or glass doors, self-cleaning glass is an investment in your home and a convenience you will enjoy for years after installation.

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There is no question that new or replacement windows can make a dramatic impression on any home. Although this is a costly investment, it is one of the most essential because it affects the overall value of your home while providing your family with daily comfort and security. Surveys from remodelers and real estate agents indicate that window replacement has an 80 percent return on your investment if you plan on selling your home in the foreseeable future.

vinyl windows


Whether you’re trying to improve your home’s curb appeal, expand a spectacular outside view or simply upgrade old, degraded windows, energy-efficient and stylishly updated windows will serve you well. However, when you start looking at new and replacement window options you might find it confusing for deciding which type of window is best for you, vinyl or aluminum.

Since replacement vinyl and aluminum windows have a wide range of costs depending on their features, such as style, glaze and shape, it’s important to choose the best quality your budget allows. If you plan on staying in your home for a long period of time, avoid low-end and single pane windows that offer little energy savings. The higher the quality window, the better it will perform with upgraded hardware and a better guarantee.

Vinyl windows have grown in popularity for residential use over the past fifteen year. They have certain advantages over aluminum, especially for primary windows in comparison to secondary windows. However, if they’re used as the secondary window, many of the advantages are negligible because both vinyl and aluminum are used to improve the insulation values of a primary window.  However, aluminum windows have more mass versus vinyl windows and stop more external noise from getting into the house since they’re almost three times heavier and stronger than vinyl.On the other hand, aluminum windows have one huge drawback. They are less energy efficient because they are conductors of heat and cold, resulting in energy loss.


Regardless of age, vinyl windows always look great and they are extremely easy to maintain. They are durable, low maintenance and the standard you’ll find in most of today’s new homes. In addition to their modern look, they are the most energy-efficient windows on the market. They will not rust, warp or corrode and remain almost 100 percent scratch free.

Aluminum windows are also known as a durable product and exceptionally resistant to moisture. They are resistant to dents and cracks and appealing in their appearance. Because they are extremely light-weight, they are the most common choice for high-rise apartments, condos and commercial buildings. Their one drawback is a poor energy efficiency rating in extreme climates (like the cold snap in Burlington this February of 2015) unless extra precautions are taken to insulate them properly.


Vinyl is a favorite in this category because you can create any look with different colours and a wide assortment of styles. Another bonus with vinyl is that the colour is part of the vinyl material, making them scratch resistant. There is never a need to scrape or paint. You can also match the window frame colours to most other paint colours you’re using on the house.

Aluminum has a variety of colours as well, but unlike vinyl, aluminum frames may be painted if you choose to go this route.  Since aluminum windows are similar in look to steel, they offer a sleek, contemporary and industrial look. The sleek frames are simple in appearance and perfect for a modern loft, home or residential building.


The cost of vinyl runs the gamut and they’re made to fit any budget; however, even though the lower-end vinyl windows are cheaper yet durable, it’s best to step up to a mid to high-end window. This is a long term investment that is geared to reducing heating and cooling costs, so for the best energy-efficiency, invest for the future.

Aluminum windows are seen as an economical choice. They are also affordable and their cost is mid-range, somewhere mid to upper range for vinyl. However, because their energy efficiency is less than vinyl, they can typically be more expensive if you get anything other than a bottom-line product.

Your Choice:

Like everything in life there are pros and cons to anything. What type of windows you decide to install will be determined by many factors, including price, climate, esthetics look of your home, maintenance requirements and energy-savings features. Do some research ahead of visiting your local retailer’s showroom so that you will a more informed consumer in making your final determination. Jans Awning Products can answer any questions concerning windows you may have concerning whether you should get vinyl or aluminum.

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There are many benefits that you gain from installing energy-efficient windows if you’re building a new home or renovating a current one. Installing custom-made windows is a rewarding investment that yields many rewards such as lower utility bills, better soundproofing and improved curb appeal, which enhances the appearance of your home. A number of reports suggest that your return on investment can range from 80 to 90 percent with window replacement ranking in the top 5 for highest return on investment projects.

snowy day windows and fireplace

It is always a wise investment to install high-quality windows that suit the design and style of your home and North Star custom-made products can fit your every need in any shape or size. Their energy-efficient windows can save you money by reducing energy costs while keeping your home comfortable in any season. Your home is filled with more natural light, better airflow, and it stays cool in during the summer months and warmer during the wintertime.

Independent studies show that installing new or replacing old, single-pane glass windows can improve your home’s ability to sustain a warmer interior by as much as 50 percent. Today’s energy efficient windows, like North Star, are made with cutting-edge technology. The windows combine durable vinyl with double-glazing and frames with high-performance glass packages.

Vinyl is today’s choice in high-quality windows because they are both attractive and low-maintenance. They never need to be painted, are easy to clean, energy efficient, built to last and either double or triple glazing provides exceptional energy efficiency in colder climates. North Star’s offers energy-saving low-e glass with Super Spacer® technology to resists condensation, boosts R-values and reduces noise. The fiberglass frames are inherently stable and the hardware systems are constructed of durable die-cast zinc or stainless steel material. These features provide not only durability, but they offer homeowners peace of mind.

There are several key signs that you windows need to be replaced such as inefficient and drafty one single pane glass, damaged or rotting wood caused by moisture, cracks in sashes and sills, excessive outside noise and condensation between glass panes. In particular, new windows have the ability to significantly reduce noise transmissions from the outside environment. With population density on the rise each year, controlling the frequencies that result in external noise filtering into the house is becoming an important aspect for new windows.

When these sub-standards occur over time, you know that you have windows that are inefficient and costing you money in utility bills. Their degraded appearance is detrimental to the curb appeal of your home and its value. Now is the time to retrofit your home with North Star’s high-quality, durable windows. They are built with the best materials to dramatically enhance the look of your home and measurably improve its energy efficiency for outstanding performance for many years to come. Additionally, installing new or replacing your old inefficient windows has a positive effect on our earth. By reducing energy consumptions, you reduce dependence on the production of natural resources that often cause harm to our environment.

North Star’s premium quality windows and doors are proudly 100 percent Canadian. Since 1985, they have been an industry leader, and their windows and doors are manufactured with pride in St Thomas, Ontario. Their products meet all testing requirements and they are certified by the Canadian Standards Association and comply with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) standards since their products are exclusively made for the North American Market.

North Star’s has a list of exclusive dealers who carry their products throughout North America. This highly reputable company is very selective about who they choose to represent them. Jans Awning Products in Oakville/Burlington is a recognized as an authorized dealer, but you can find a dealer in your location by clicking find dealer in your area.

Posted by & filed under North Star Windows, Patio Doors .

Sliding patio doors

Many new homes are often built with sliding doors, especially as alternative exits to the home or leading to the backyard. Sliding doors provide excellent sight lines to the outdoors and a source of natural light in the home. When old homes are renovated, many owners decide to change over to sliding doors for entry ways that look out to personal property. However, especially in a northern climate, are sliding doors an efficient option for your home?

If you live in an older home with original doors and windows, any new door will insulate better than older types and replacing them can be a good investment resulting in lower heating and cooling costs.

When purchasing new doors the best way to determine if they are an energy efficient option is to check their energy performance rating. This will make it easier to purchase a door most appropriate for your home’s climate and orientation. The energy performance rating will provide information about their potential for gaining and losing heat as well as transmitting sunlight into your home.

Heat Gain and Loss

Sliding doors can lose heat through direct conduction through the glass or glazing, frame or door. The radiation of heat into a house and out of a house from room-temperature objects. Although uncommon in most new doors, air leakage through and around them can cause heat loss, usually when installed incorrectly.

In comparison to most new doors, sliding doors usually lose much more heat than other doors because glass (the main component in sliding doors) is a very poor insulator. The most energy efficient glass doors will have metal frames with a thermal break which is a plastic insulator between inner and outer parts of the frame. Models with several glass layers are a good investment, especially in extreme climates. You can also use a foam caulking to help seal the new door frame as well as weatherstripping. Weatherstripping can be replaced annually to ensure the best seal possible around your doorways. Regardless of age or style, swinging doors still offer a much tighter seal than sliding doors. However, most home owners are still very drawn to sliding doors and they are often seen as a great value-add to any home because of high demand.

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Jans Awnings Products carries the high-quality vinyl windows from North Star. We are specialists in bow and bay windows, but offer the entire line of these windows and doors. The current day marketplace is chock full of replacement window and door products, but North Star products are unrivaled in terms of quality and popularity.

Windows at a winter chalet

Perfectly-Designed Windows

North Star windows and patio doors have all been specially-designed and built to effectively withstand the extreme weather conditions that prevail across Canada. Independent agency checks have proved that these products exceed the existing industry standards for insulation value and security. North Star provides the Low-E glass technology which is definitely an energy-saving advantage.

This is one of the standard features of all the windows and doors. All North Star windows are available with the Pilkington Activ™ brand of Self-Cleaning Glass. You can also opt for Argon and Krypton gas-filled, Tempered, Bronze and Gray-tint, Obscure or Triple glazing glass. These products provide the best insulation and help in reducing your energy bills.

The Special Window Coating

Low-E is an almost invisible coating that effectively reduces heat-loss from the windows even as it lets in sufficient natural light. This is an energy-efficient and high-performance glass which has a coating designed for top-notch performance in our climate. This is why it can also be rated the highest Canadian Energy-Rating.

This glass allows the energy of the sun to filter through in the winter even as the fusion-welded construction of the windows provides the perfect seal. This simply means that when you yearn to sun-bathe in the winter (when the sun manages to appear in the skies), you can easily get your shot of Vitamin D without actually stepping outdoors.

The windows hold in the comfortable inside temperatures that you want, when it’s freezing outside. This special coating will keep out the cold and allow you the luxury to treat yourself to a natural tan even when the outdoor temperatures are sub-zero.

High Quality Installation

You will find a number of good quality products on the market, but the durability and life of a window is highly dependent on how it has been installed. All our windows and patio doors come with the transferable limited-lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. When you get North Star windows installed from Jans Awning Products, the added advantage is that the installation is guaranteed for life.

Get that Tan

And so, if you feel that you want to get a tan and your dose of Vitamin D even in the winter, contact us at 905.335.3733. We can install these high-grade North Star windows for you anywhere across the GTA.

When you choose to purchase windows and awnings from Jans Awning Products, you know that you will get the best products, backed by iron-clad warranties and the highest levels of customer services too. For more information about North Star Windows and Doors, please contact us via this online form.