Making upgrades to your home could involve many different features, like having energy efficient home windows. We all want to get the best materials that would save money long-term. When it comes to replacing windows, getting the most energy efficient home windows is crucial to saving on energy costs.
Windows provide us with natural light and fresh air. It is one way we enjoy the outdoors from inside our homes. When saving energy, windows could be a letdown if you don’t choose carefully.
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Years ago, windows weren’t as efficient in keeping out the sun’s heat in hot climates and heated air in cold climates. It’s estimated that 30% of cooling and heating costs come from energy loss through windows.
Window technology is much better than before. Investing in energy efficient home windows would pay off for years to come. You’ll stay comfortable in the winter and summer without having to pay more energy costs. It pays to get the most energy efficient home windows possible.
Why Choose Energy Efficient Home Windows?
Energy efficient home windows help keep your desired temperature in and the unwanted temperature out. That means your HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard, saving you money.
HVAC systems are among the largest drains of electricity in any home. They cost lots of money to run, especially when trying to cool down a poorly insulated house. Energy efficient home windows could help reduce your energy usage and ultimately increase your HVAC system’s lifespan — saving you even more.
With high-efficiency windows in your home, you can use less electricity without sacrificing comfort. It is a win-win.
The Four Factors That Affect Energy Efficiency
Getting new windows installed in your house is a big decision, and there are certain things you should know before you begin. Here are four essential factors that affect energy efficient home windows.
Windows are usually made of glass, so it stands to reason that glass plays a significant role in energy efficiency. Triple-pane glass is the greatest choice for exceptional insulation. As the name suggests, it is three times as effective as single-pane glass. The more panes you got, the more insulative the window.
It does not end there, though. You also want to consider the materials and makeup used to create and fuse the glass. For instance, inert argon gas could be used between the panes to lessen thermal transfer.
On that topic, you should consider the gas type. With some gas types and blends, you can get pretty close to what a triple pane option would rate in terms of efficiency. Based on the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, “A mixture of krypton, oxygen and argon gases is sometimes used to reconcile price and performance, and occasionally xenon and nitrogen are used.”
2. Frames & Sashes
Window frames and sashes could be just as essential as glass regarding energy efficiency. There are numerous types of materials to select from, each with its pros and cons. The most energy efficient home window sash and frame materials are vinyl and wood.
Wooden frames are great insulators since cold and heat can’t transfer through them. They also got a long lifespan, so you won’t have to replace them as often as other window frame materials. Wooden frames’ downside is that they could be damaged by weather and insects and are harder to maintain.
On the other hand, vinyl frames don’t rot or warp. Like wood, they also do not conduct cold or heat, making them very energy efficient. Plus, they are extremely durable, lasting up to 20 years without the inherent risk of wooden frames and routine maintenance.
Neither of the two qualities mentioned above matters if the windows are not installed properly. Proper installation is crucial to energy efficiency. No matter which materials you get, if your window installation has openings or the window is not put in a square, you will likely experience inefficiencies.
Not only does this affect your electricity bill, it also leaves you vulnerable to water damage and pests, and you don’t want to take that risk.
If you got lots of experience with home improvement and feel comfortable doing the installation yourself, it can be done. However, it’s always wise to employ a professional contractor to come in and install the windows for you. Just make sure you hire a company with both good reviews and experience from other homeowners in the local area.
Do your research, read reviews, ask family and friends for recommendations and seek advice from experts and consumers. A poor window installation could cost a lot more than the price of labor and a bad experience.
What to Consider in Energy Efficient Home Windows
1. A Quality Frame
The window’s foundation is the frame and the material it is made of. There are numerous framing materials to consider:
The differences in framing material can impact their ability to retain energy. Vinyl provides more insulation than wood. Frames could also have an impact on curb appeal and maintenance.
The frame’s durability also makes a difference in the lasting efficiency of the window. A durable frame would not sag or warp, meaning you won’t encounter drafts later. For extra insulation, search for a foam-filled window frame.
2. Multiple Panes of Glass
Windows could lose energy through the glass, but they could be engineered to help prevent heat transfer. A single pane of glass won’t provide much insulation for your home. Choosing two or three panes of glass would give you more energy efficiency.
Multiple panes help block heat transfer through your window. They offer resistance, insulation, and soundproofing.
3. Low-E Glass Coating
Heat can still seep through the window’s glass. To maximize the glass’ efficiency, energy efficient home windows would have a Low-E coating on them to reflect ultraviolet and infrared light. Low-E means low emissivity.
A Low-E is a thin metallic coating that goes on the glass. It’s placed on the inner part of your window’s exterior pane. This helps keep heat from escaping your house in the winter. Low-E coating keeps the heat outside from entering your home during the summer. The ultraviolet protection with a Low-E coating keeps the interior and furniture from fading and sun damage.
4. Gas Fills
There’s still some space, even with multiple glass panes with a Low-E coating. Between the panes of glass, there’s usually a special gas.
It is colorless, odorless, and non-toxic. These gas fills are made to offer better insulating performance compared to regular air.
Argon gas is typically used in these spaces. It is heavier compared to air and is inserted after air is vacuumed between the panes. By filling that space with a denser gas than air, your house has an added layer of insulation against the elements.
5. Warm Edge Spacer
A spacer is used to keep an appropriate distance between the panes of glass. The spacer helps create the seal around the glass panes where they touch the frame.
A warm-edge spacer gets the window insulated and reduces heat transfer through the contacts of the frame and pane.
Most windows got weatherstripping along the edges of the window. This plastic material produces a tight seal to keep drafts out. The quality and amount of weatherstripping are key to having energy-efficient windows. High-quality weatherstripping has a fibrous material to create a better seal. The more weatherstripping you could get on a window, the better.
7. Find a Professional
It’s always nice to get your hands dirty with a weekend DIY project. However, an investment such as high-efficiency windows is usually not something a novice could take on without some experience. A professional who could recommend the proper materials and make sure the windows are placed properly is well worth the energy-efficient windows installation cost.
Always check their ratings when searching for a company to perform the installation. It’s also a good idea to chat with friends and family to see if they have any recommendations.
If you’re thinking about replacing old windows with more energy efficient home windows, search for these features:
Energy Star Certified
Based on Energy Star, replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR-certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12% nationwide. In addition to saving money, reducing your household energy consumption can reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
Energy Star is an EPA program promoting energy-saving products like windows. Recommendations for energy-efficient windows are given depending on where you live.
Energy Star windows must be more energy-efficient compared to standard products.
One window rating component is the rate at which a window conducts non-solar heat flow or also known as the U-factor. The lower the U-factor, the better the energy performance of the window.
The type of frame could affect a window’s U-factor. Vinyl, wood, fiberglass, and composite frame types usually offer better thermal resistance than metal.
If you’re in a place where heating is the major energy expense, you would want windows with low U-values. It is vital to consider the U-value for the entire window unit, not just the glazing or frame.
Glazing and Coatings
You’ll have to consider the different glass and glazing choices and their benefits based on your home’s climate. Pella windows do a great job of combining the right glazing and gas fills to give you optimal efficiency for your home.
Depending on its design, you can even mix up the types of glazing for windows on different sides of your home. Choices might include heat-absorbing tints, gas fills, insulated glazing, low-emissivity, reflective coating, and other options.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
This fraction between 0 and 1 indicates the window’s ability to block unnecessary heat gain from reflected and direct sunlight. Windows with low SHGC ratings help lessen air-conditioning costs.
Visible Transmittance (VT). This number provides the percentage of visible light shown through the window’s glazing. Its range is between 0-1. The window with the greater number allows more light to pass through.
Air Leakage. It measures the overall tightness of the window’s construction. It’s a number between 0.1-0.3. The lower the number, the less air leakage there is.
You could find energy performance information in the product literature of the windows you’re considering. Some products got labels attached to them that have the energy parameters above. Again, the NFRC’s directory is a good place to check.
Ready for Windows that would Reduce Energy Bills?
Choosing windows that match your home’s style and architecture is easy. The many different types of windows, colors, and features will ensure your home is energy-efficient and appealing.
But remember, this couldn’t be done without the proper contractor to install your windows. We at Universal Windows Direct Central Texas specialize in window replacement. Our team of contractors is professionally certified and trained in window installation. We would have your home sealed with a lot of curb appeal. Reach out to us today!