Old windows definitely empty your pockets. Does that mean a replacement window installation will change things for the better? Well, it depends.
Let me start with a fact – very obvious, indeed. Any new window is better than the old, 30-year window of yours. And although the technology has made incredible improvements over the years, not all windows will actually save you money.
Numbers and stats bore us all. But let me just quote U.S. Department of Energy on that: approx. 30% of what we pay for heat and cooling at home is due to the drafty windows.
Now, the variables are many, the considerations fill a room, and the new window technology is complex. Simply put, yes, installing windows and witnessing our utility expenses drop is not easy – unless you are a professional window installer and know the secrets of the trade.
On the other hand, getting new windows and truly be amazed by the reduction of the energy costs is today possible more than ever. You just have to know what to do. And we’ll tell you.
Annoying abbreviations that make your window installation work
You may not know what SHGC stands for or what’s U-value, but there are quite a few thermal metrics that ensure your new casement or sliding windows will do the trick of lowering your expenses. So, when you are shopping for new windows, you need to pay attention to these terms.
• The R-value measurements show the window’s thermal resistance and must be high. The higher the better. Take your single pane windows. They average an R-0.9, which is low. Double-pane windows reach around 1.7, while triple panes go over 3 and even reach 5.
• While the R-value must be high, the U-value must be low. This metric shows the heat transfer and all components of the window must average between 0.25 and 1.25.
• Get low-e (emissivity) windows. This is a thin coating between the panes that reflects heat. Low-e coatings reflect the indoor temps back inside keeping the interior temps intact. What they basically do is eliminating the penetration of ultraviolet light without affecting the brightness.
• The SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) metric shows how much natural heat comes through the window.
While all the above metrics are important, the choice is subject to the local climate. No wonder you may need a window installation contractor to help you with all that. For example, in a cold climate, you will need the highest possible SHGC and the lowest possible U-value. If the climate is rather warm, you will be okay with low U-value and SHGC.
The glazing factor for lower utility expenses
The window glazing is all about the number of panes. Naturally, single panes are no good. And although double glazing is the norm, triple glazing will be better on occasions where the climate is harsh and the location of the window too exposed to the elements.
And while the number of the panes matters a lot, what’s between them is also important. The space in between panes is filled with some kind of gas – usually argon. This helps, how? It reduces condensation. Plus, it increases the window’s thermal performance.
With multiple panes, there are also spacers. When it comes to them, you need them with nearly no metal in order to be more energy efficient.
The window frame is of importance too
Wood window frames are fantastic and also, natural insulators. But they rot, warp, and become damaged easily. So, eventually you will have energy efficiency issues. To make it short, the best choice for window framing is composite – both fiberglass and vinyl are great choices.
Window caulking and weatherstripping
A simple thing, like caulking and weatherstripping windows, can make a world of difference. Don’t forget that not all structures are the same. The thickness of the wall, the condition of the wall – everything matters. But the little cracks and gaps can be caulked, while weather seals will further enhance the insulating properties of the window.
Attention to the window installation service
While you may manage to find the perfect energy efficient window for your home, you might not get the energy efficiency you expect due to a bad installation. So, be very picky when choosing the window installers too. That’s often as important as finding the most suitable energy efficient window.