What to Look for in Energy-Efficient Window Replacements
Installing new windows is a great opportunity to give your home a new look. But did you know it’s also a great opportunity to improve your energy efficiency as well? Your windows have a tremendous impact on the amount of heat and energy that can enter and exit your home. This guide will help to familiarize you with what you should look for in energy-efficient window replacements that can save you both time and energy.
Window replacements don’t have to match the style of window that you started with. Choosing a window design with less air leakage is an excellent first step toward energyefficient windows. Naturally, this means that non-opening windows are the most efficient, but most homeowners want the option to let fresh air in occasionally. Between hinged and sliding windows, hinged designs will create a tighter seal when they close and leak less air.
The material your window frames are made from determines how easily heat can enter around your windows. Fiberglass, vinyl, and wood frames are all excellent insulators, while metal frames are more conductive and will allow heat through easily. Your contractor will ensure that your replacement windows are sized correctly for the space available and hung squarely to prevent air leakage.
Energy-efficient replacement windows will always have more than one pane of glass. Single-pane windows are too prone to air leakage, and heat can radiate through one pane of glass quickly. Another thing to keep in mind is that single-pane windows are fragile. Windows with two or three panes may survive events that could break single-pane windows and leave no protection against the elements.
Window replacements with low-E glass were designed with energy efficiency in mind from the start. “Low-E” is short for low-emissivity, which is a more precise way of saying that this type of glass releases less heat energy into your home. A thin, reflective coating on the glass keeps more of the sun’s heat outside during hot weather and more of your home’s heat inside during cold weather.
The reflective coating on low-E glass is made of small metal shavings that are added while the glass is still molten, or later in a vacuum chamber after the glass has been cut. Replacement windows with low-E glass can be compared via a metric called the solar heat gain coefficient, or SHGC. Windows with a lower SHGC allow less solar energy to pass through them into your home.
The space between panes of glass is just as important for energy-efficient window replacements as the panes themselves. The problem with leaving open air between window panes is that this air doesn’t block heat transfer any more effectively than the outside air. Argon, on the other hand, is denser than air, so it’s great for adding extra insulation to your windows.
Argon gas is odorless and colorless, so windows that contain argon will let the same amount of light through as standard windows. Argon is most commonly paired with low-E glass to create highly efficient windows with multiple insulating technologies that complement each other. Argon’s unique properties make it ideal for homes in any climate because it won’t condense or expand in response to temperature changes.
Window replacement is a valuable investment that every homeowner should consider. Upgrading to more efficient windows will pay for itself over time through energy cost savings.
If you are in the market for replacement windows, get in touch with us at Central Glass Company. We’ll help you find the perfect windows to save energy and increase your home’s curb appeal at the same time!