Energy efficient windows keep unwanted heat and cold air out of your home, reducing your energy costs. They also prevent your HVAC system from overcompensating for constant shifts in temperature, saving you money over time.
Window frame material, glass type, Low-E coatings and gas fills all affect a window’s ability to insulate. Double-pane and triple-pane windows insulate two or four times as well as single-pane windows.
Window frame material
The window frame material plays a major role in a window’s overall energy efficiency. For instance, aluminum frames conduct cold and heat easily, leaving the home uncomfortable in the winter and hot in the summer. This can increase your electricity bills by a significant amount.
Fiberglass, vinyl and wood-clad frames are good choices in sunny climates. They are affordable and provide excellent insulative properties.
In addition to reducing your energy bills, new windows can also boost your home’s value and protect valuables from harmful UV rays. These rays can cause color fade and deterioration in furniture, carpeting, rugs and other items.
The window frame is comprised of a head, jambs and sill. The double-hung window is a popular choice among homeowners, as it allows you to open the top and bottom sashes completely for enhanced airflow.
Window installation is one of the most important parts of a home improvement project. It’s also one of the most difficult to get right, and missteps at this stage can create serious problems down the road. To avoid these problems, it’s important to hire a professional window installer who uses the latest installation techniques.
A good window installer should follow several steps to ensure that the job is done correctly. He or she will first do a walkthrough of the house and lay down drop cloths where needed to protect floors from debris. The crew leader should then explain the full installation process. He or she will also ask the homeowner to remove furniture, curtains, and other items near the windows.
Next, the window installer will install flashing around the perimeter of the new window. This is a step that’s often overlooked, but it’s crucial to preventing leaks and other problems. The flashing should be put on in “weatherboard fashion,” meaning that pieces are layered from the bottom up. This will prevent water from seeping under the window.
Windows account for 30% of a home’s air-conditioning energy losses. Air leakage siphons most of this energy to the outdoors, but well-designed windows can reduce this loss with durable weatherstripping and a tight seal. Hinged windows like casements and awnings clamp more tightly against weatherstripping than sliding or double-hung windows.
When shopping for windows, look for ENERGY STAR label ratings from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The ratings are based on testing that considers the insulative value of the window as a whole unit. This makes them more reliable than the U-values, solar heat gain coefficients and visible transmittance values used by some manufacturers to advertise their windows.
Energy-efficient windows cost slightly more than standard ones, but the long-term payback period can offset the initial cost. Additionally, they provide protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays that can fade carpet and furniture. They also contribute to a lower carbon footprint.
Adding energy-efficient windows can improve your home’s appearance and help reduce energy costs. It can also protect your home from harsh weather and other environmental problems. If you’re considering replacing your existing windows, choose a vinyl replacement window with an Energy Star rating to save money and prevent drafts.
During installation, your window professionals will ensure the proper fit of the new windows. They will also check for air leaks and water damage around the windows, if any. If there’s any wood rot or deterioration, they will replace the casing and trim.
In some cases, a full-frame installation is necessary for optimal window performance. This method removes the interior and exterior trim, giving installers direct access to wall voids, pulley pockets, and gaps around the frame. Insulation is added and the sash, framing, and trim are caulked and sealed to promote energy efficiency. The windows are then painted or stained to match the surrounding woodwork.