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As important as windows are to the function and aesthetic of a home, the underlying premise is pretty simple: they let in light and air. But despite their straightforward job description, windows have evolved into a wide range of different types and styles that have their own pros and cons. If you’re renovating your home, take a look at the possible options you have when it comes to new windows.

Single Hung

A single-hung window has two sashes, but only one of the sashes opens vertically. Single hung windows, which have been in use since the 17th century, are very common in homes across the country and are generally a very affordable option.

Double Hung

Like single-hung windows, a double-hung window has two sashes and both of them can open vertically. Double-hung windows are more expensive than their single-hung cousins, but they allow you to ventilate a room with just one window by opening the top and bottom of the window at the same time, which lets cool air enter from the bottom while hot air escapes from the top. In addition, double-hung windows are also highly energy efficient.

Casement

Casement windows are hinged on the left or right side and open by turning a crank. They’re a great choice for ventilation, since they can be opened to catch the angle of the wind and allow more of a breeze to enter, and they also provide quality insulation against the elements.

Bay

Bay windows refer to a series of windows–normally three, but potentially more–that protrude out of your home in a semicircle shape. Adding a bay window can be a great way to call attention to a great view or open up some interior space. The catch, however, is that bay windows are more expensive than most windows, and they require special installation that includes removing parts of the surrounding wall altogether.

Transom

Almost entirely an aesthetic feature, transom windows are rectangular or fan-shaped windows that go above or below other windows or doors. Transom windows can be a great style choice for your home and can also allow more light to enter. Certain transom windows can open to improve ventilation while others do not.

Awning

Similar to casement windows, awning windows are hinged, but at the top instead of the left or right side. These windows are generally energy efficient because they are made from one solid pane of glass and well insulated, and because you can install an awning window higher on your wall than other windows, it may also provide additional security. There is a drawback: because awning windows open outward, when you open your windows, they may block walking paths or generally become an obstacle.

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