Energy Efficiency: The important thing to remember when purchasing new windows is that windows lose and gain heat. It crucial to pay attention to the U-factor (U-value) of a particular window because that is the energy term used to describe this heat transfer. The lower the U-value is, the better the insulating value of the window. Put simply, a lower U-value equals better performance.
Make sure to look for a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label on your windows. The NFRC has created industry-wide standards. They guarantee credible information on the energy performance of windows. It is also recommended that your windows have low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) to maximize energy benefits. It measures how well a product blocks heat caused by sunlight. The ENERGY STAR® logo is the first sign that your window is equipped with all of these energy saving aspects.
Single Pane vs. Double and Triple: In the past, most homes were built with windows that contained a single layer of glass. Single strength glass, unless heat strengthened, is at greater risk of failing due to thermal stress than is double strength or triple strength. Keep in mind, triple pane has a higher R value than the equivalent double pane, but you run into the law of diminishing returns. Going from single to double pane is a much bigger boost in insulation than going from double to triple pane. Furthermore, most of these windows feature a fill gas (argon, krypton or carbon dioxide) between the panes which adds to the insulating value of the window.
Keep in mind, if you want to improve the strength and energy efficiency of your windows, try storm windows! Storm windows can significantly increase the efficiency of single-pane windows, the least energy-efficient type of glazing.
Window Glazing: In addition, advances in insulting qualities have lead to double or triple-glazed windows. These windows offer better thermal performance. The number of dollars saved is determined greatly by the type of glazing you choose to use on your windows. Multiple layers of glaze on your windows can insulate your house and retain heat, which adds to the energy value. Today’s marketplace includes several glazing options such as double or triple glazing, as well as argon-gas filled windows and a special low-e coating (low-emissivity). For windows in warmer climates, it is suggested to pay attention to low-E coatings because they reduce the solar heat transmitted through the window pane and into your home. This significantly lowers the U-value, which ultimately increases the insulation ability.
Low-E Coatings:Low-e coatings (low emissivity) are microscopically thin layers of metallic oxide that bond to the surface of a window's glass. This thin coating prevents heat and ultra-violet (UV) rays from passing through glass. Basically, it allows the light to come in but prevents the passage of heat energy. Windows with this feature do a better job keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
If you want the best, Solarban 60 is what to look for. Solarban 60 is PPG’s premier, energy efficient Low-E glass. A microscopic coating reflects heat toward its source; outside in summer months, and inside in the winter. This produces a more comfortable home all year round. It also blocks UV rays (preventing fading of furniture, carpet and paint) while allowing visible light through so that your room does not become darkened.
Air Leakage (AL): The amount of air that will leak into your house through your window will depend on the style of your window, air-tightness and its weather stripping qualities. The ideal window will be tightly constructed and have good weather stripping to prevent air leakage. Two styles in particular that offer a tight fit include casement and awning style windows. If you get a quality single or double hung window it should also prevent air leakages. However, slider windows are generally more prone to air leakage and more appropriate for warmer climates. Keep in mind, Air Leakage can be measured. The lower the AL, the less air will pass through cracks in the window assembly. This gives you control over heat loss and gain.
Window Material: A windows insulating qualities are also affected by the materials used for the sash and frame of the window. The energy efficiency of the window can either be increased or decreased with regard to material. Wood, for instance, has amazing insulating qualities, but vinyl and PVC are still trying to climb the charts when it comes to being a great material for energy efficiency. However, over the years, the energy efficiency of vinyl and PVC has improved. Other options include fiberglass and wood clad windows. Fiberglass rates very well in terms of energy efficiency and provides incredible durability as well. Wood clad windows also rate well in terms of energy efficiency.
Window Style: Make sure to pay careful attention to the overall design of your home before purchasing new windows. The style of the window you select should compliment your home’s design and provide symmetry and balance. The right windows can give your home and appealing, fresh look and also make your home appear more contemporary. Just keep in mind that windows are a major investment so it is important to take the time to research the properties and designs of your windows in order to make the best choice for your home.
Interested in More Information About Replacement Windows?
Replacement windows can save you a ton of money which is why they are a great investment. However, you will want to make sure you are choosing the right replacement windows for your home and your budget. Our services can help you! We offer Free Replacement Window Quotes from local, reliable contractors.