Windows let us enjoy the beauty that surrounds us, such as sunrise and sunset, Fall leaves and Spring flowers, and the muffled sounds caused by snow. Windows also cause 25 to 35% of your heating and cooling use. Those hoping to enjoy the comfort of their home and save on their energy bill have two options; either improve the ones you have or replace them with more energy efficient ones. Windows are seen from the outside as well as the inside which means efforts to improve energy efficiency should also take this into consideration.
Improving Existing Windows
Do you feel a draft when close to your windows? Do your windows leak? Is there visible damage to the window and/or frame? You may want to add weather stripping and caulking. Window treatments such as heavy drapes or curtain for extra insulation may help. The outside awning will not only protect your windows from the rain as well as block out the sun in hotter weather but add an attractive element. There is also a solar control film that will help to control the amount of heat that enter your home. If you inspect your windows and decide that for your replacement is the right option, you then have lots of other choices to make.
Choosing Replacement Windows
When considering replacement windows, the style, the material it is constructed of and its energy efficiency are all to be taken into consideration. You may get help from professionals, such as replacement doors appleton wi. Frames are made of wood, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass and many combinations of materials. Each type of materials have strengths and weaknesses. Wood is affected by the amount of moisture in the air and require lots of maintenance and upkeep. Vinyl also shrink when cold and expand when warm. Fiberglass is low maintenance but expensive. Aluminum transfer the temperature whether hot or cold to the inside of the home.
Ratings are now placed on window labels to indicate how effectively the window meet energy efficiency standards. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label in the upper right corner provides the window’s model, manufacture, material and style. Performance ratings include the U value, R value and the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). There is also air leakage (AL), condensation resistance (CR) rating, and visible transmittance (VT).
The U value indicates the rate of heat loss and should be between 0.2 and 1.2, the lower the better and the R value, the insulating value as well.
The SHGC indicate the amount of solar radiation that penetrates through a window and is released inside after absorption. It will be between 0 and 1 and a lower number is better meaning less solar heat.
VT tells the amount of visible light with a larger number meaning more light. It should be between 0 and 1.
CR rating tells how well the window resist condensation on the inside with a higher number meaning a greater resistance. The number should be between 0 and 100.
Some Features of Energy Efficient Windows
Some features that make windows more efficient include double and triple pane glass, gases, such as argon, placed between the panes and frames and sashes filled with foam to insulate. There is also Low E film and coatings added to the glass that may lower visibility but lessen the amount of heat penetrating the window.
The most energy efficient windows known to man will be ineffective if it is not installed properly. After you have found the best windows for your home, you must also find the best contractor or business to install them. The right company or contractor can also advise you on the values best for you climate. If replacing all your windows is not an option, you could replace the ones that need it the most and improve the condition of the other. You will start to receive the benefits in comfort and lower utility cost immediately.