A Small Guide to Choosing Energy Efficient Windows

Energy Efficient Windows

Your home is your pride and joy and the most expensive thing you’ll spend your money on, so invest well. Not only on the home itself, but on all the elements about the home so that it is safe, and protects your family well. Another way you want your home to perform well for you is to be as economical as it can be so that you’re not dishing out tons of money where you don’t have to, like with poor quality windows. Did you know that cheap, poor quality windows can end up costing you more money in the end, as opposed to just purchasing and installing a higher quality window from the start? Choosing energy efficient windows is important, but if you aren’t knowledgeable on the topic, we have a few tips for you. Here is a small guide for choosing energy efficient windows.

1. Understand the effects of a poor quality window

There are many things about your home that can be affected by poor quality windows and once you understand the effect they can have on your home and the costs of operating your home, you’ll understand more, why you need to replace those inefficient windows with higher quality ones. Here are a few of things that you put your home at risk for with poor quality windows.

The need for a larger HVAC unit

Poor quality windows are a big leaking system that allows heat and air to escape your home, and you don’t even see it happening. All you notice is that your HVAC unit seems to not be doing its job well; it’s having a hard time keeping up with the temperatures you’re setting the thermostat on, causing it to struggle and possible wear it out. You’ll need a bigger unit to keep up with its demands and this can include needing new ducting in your home as well. That’s all a pricey upgrade that you could avoid by getting more efficient windows with a better grade of insulation to prevent air leakage. It’s recommended that insulation with values as low as U-0.18 have large impact on the the heating and cooling efficiency of your home.

Drafty versus cold windows

A lot of people have a misconception when it comes to drafty feeling windows. While there are plenty of windows that area drafty, meaning, there is air escaping or coming in, there are also windows that are known as “cold” windows and this is a different problem. Cold windows are low-quality windows with cold glass. Cold glass is due to the radiation rate of the window being too high and it makes the window feel cold, which then allows the cold to transfer into the room.

2. Framing material

The framing of the window has a big impact on a window. You want a window that is framed in a high quality material, especially if you live in a climate that has harsh weather conditions. A high quality framing material would be a window that’s framed in fiberglass or clad. They offer a high level of weatherization and insulation, as well as it will shrink and expand at the same rate as the glass in the window to prevent drafts and air leaks.

3. Double or triple panes

The days of having single panes in windows are almost obsolete and the more advanced technologies of window making is now to include two or three panes of glass. In the beginning of energy efficient awareness, this is one of the first steps made toward creating a more energy  efficient window, and it’s one that is still used today. At Proud Green Home, the process is described as air space separating the panes with spacers at the top and the bottom of the air spaces. The glazing unit is then sealed to complete the frame.

4. Know the U-Factor

You will want to know what the U-factor is for the windows you purchase. You’re looking for a low number and the lower the U-factor number, the better it is. This is a number that tells you well they prevent heat loss, so having a low U-factor number ultimately means the windows prevent heat loss. For norther climate homes, the lower the U-factor number, the better.

5. Air leakage

No matter where you live, you don’t want your windows leaking air, which can quickly result in higher energy bills. You want the tightness of the window construction to be signified in a number rating of 0.1-0.3. When looking at windows, look for this number on the label or in the product’s literature that comes with it to be sure it falls in this range. If you want to be guaranteed the window meets these requirements, look for the Energy Star label on the window. Energy Star windows have to meet these measurements.

6. Use effective weather stripping

According to HGTV, using the best weather stripping when installing the windows will also help give your windows the best efficiency for your home. Weathering stripping should be a compressible gasket type, which is similar to what you would see on a car door. When you combine this type of weather stripping with a high quality window latch you’re creating an ultimate weather barrier for you windows and your home.

Bottom line

Start saving money and protecting your home and family from the heat and chill of the seasons with better windows. It may seem like an unnecessary expense you don’t want to indulge in now, but in the long run, it can save you thousands of unnecessary spending for bigger HVAC unit and ducting, plus  higher monthly energy bills. Once you know how to shop for energy efficient windows, you’ll know more of what will work best for your home.

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