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A window seems like a very straightforward appliance: It has a frame, glass, and maybe even a knob or lock to open or close it. However, there’s a lot more than windows than meets the eye, and each element of a window has its own unique name. With that in mind, don’t be surprised when the window expert at the local hardware store doesn’t understand what you mean when you say, “The moving part of my windows is stuck”–and don’t be surprised when he or she asks you back, “Are they single or double-hung sashes?”

Knowledge of window-related terms can help you to take better care of your windows and save you time and money when you need to call an expert to take care of a problem. To save yourself the trouble of hiring an interpreter the next time you to talk about your windows, take a look at this quick window glossary!

Air Leakage: The measure of how susceptible a window is to leaks from the inside and outside of your home. This is determined by calculating how much air, in cubic feet, is able to pass through a square foot of window under certain conditions. A lower number indicates less air is likely to pass through and thus signals better performance.

Casement Windows: Windows that swing out to open rather than sliding up or down.

Double Hung Windows: Windows that have sashes (see below) that open from both the top and bottom.

Energy Star: Run by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), the Energy Star program measures the energy efficiency of various devices, including windows. The ratings criteria vary for each of the DoE’s climate zones, and they also rely on a window’s performance rating as determined by the NFRC (see below). Windows USA’s Alaskan Windows are 100% Energy Star certified.

Fixed Windows: Windows that do not open or close. These are sometimes called “picture windows.”

National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC): A nonprofit that rates windows, doors, and related products. While the tests are totally voluntary on the part of the manufacturer, most manufacturers elect to have their products rated by the NFRC, especially considering that an NFRC rating is required in order to qualify for the Energy Star ratings program (see above). NFRC labels offer important information about a window’s specific energy efficiency potential and other factors.

Sash: The moving part of a window. This piece also holds the glass in place.

Single Hung Windows: Windows where the top sash (see above) is fixed in place but the bottom sash is able to open and close.

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