Choosing energy efficient windows is no small task. At Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver, Colorado, our experts specialize in making easier for you. Energy efficiency is dependent on various factors that work uniquely depending on your particular home. We have put together some great tips for helping pick out the best option for you.
Energy Efficiency for Existing Windows
First, let’s talk about budget-friendly energy efficiency. Perhaps, you are looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home, but replacing all of your windows isn’t in your budget right now. If your windows are still in decent condition and there’s no real need to replace them, you’re in luck. There are quite a few things that you can do to up your energy efficiency without buying new windows.
First, add some caulking or weather-stripping. This will help seal up places where there might be air leakage. Caulking goes on areas where there are no moving parts. Use weather-stripping for areas that are not stationary, like doors and windows that open. You can also add window treatments to the glass that will help reduce the flow of heat. They work both ways, in the winter they cut down on heat loss, and in the summer they cut down on heat gain.
Adding storm windows helps a lot, but is a more significant investment. You might consider installing them only on the side of the house that receives the most abuse from inclement weather.
When it’s Cold Outside
There are a few things that you can do based on the kind of weather you are dealing with. When it’s cold outside, follow these tips for maximum window energy efficiency.
Try covering your windows with a transparent plastic sheet on the inside. This can help cut down on drafts. Alternatively, you can add insulating window shades to button up windows that are still drafty after adding caulking or weather-stripping. At night, close all your curtains and shades. This will help prevent heat loss through the cooler night temperatures. Be sure to open everything back up during the day to let in as much sunlight, aka warmth, as possible.
When it’s Hot Outside
Here are a few other tips that are more useful during the warmer weather months. Opt for white blinds or shades since white will reflect heat away from your home.
You’ll receive the most sun from the south and west facing windows in your home. Keep those shades or blinds drawn all day and maybe even add some awnings to those windows. You can also add reflective coatings to the window panes themselves to help reflect away more of the sun’s heat.
New Energy Efficient Windows
There comes the point when your windows are just too old, too leaky, and too drafty. All the weatherizing tips in the world aren’t going to be of much use if your windows are just plain worn out. New windows can feel like a steep investment, but you will regain a lot of what you spent on lower energy bills and maybe even tax credits if you’re savvy about it. There’s a whole range of options out there for making windows more energy efficient. Let’s take a look at some of the critical aspects of choosing energy efficient windows.
The Right Design
Energy efficient windows have convenient performance ratings that you may think you can use to determine which ones to buy. Most buyers probably figure they should buy the best rating they can afford. But the ratings don’t take into account your home’s orientation. When choosing energy efficient windows, so look at what ratings work best for your situation.
There is a whole science built around what is called passive solar design. This is basically choosing and positioning the windows to increase solar gain in winter and decrease it in summer. Of course, all of this depends on the climate and which direction your home faces. We highly recommend getting professional advice on windows as there are so many variables. Plus, you need to know how those variables interact with each other when choosing energy efficient windows.
The Right Materials
As we mentioned, windows come with different energy performance ratings. The type of glass and window coatings obviously plays a large part in this rating. Less often thought about, but the material you use for the frames also plays an important role. Different materials allow for different amounts of heat transfer. Plus, some materials work better in certain climates.
Even how the window opens has an impact. The actual construction of the window affects how leaky it will be. Windows that open will always have a certain amount of air leakage, but there are ways of reducing it. Let’s look at a few and talk about which ones are better.
Awning type windows are hinged at the top and open upward and outward. Because the sash presses against the frame to close, this type of opening has lower leakage. Casement windows are basically the same except they open outward from one side. These also have lower leakage. Hopper windows are hinged at the bottom and open inward. These are also in air low leakage camp.
Single and double hung windows have panes that slide up and down. This is where you find higher air leakage. The sliding factor doesn’t allow for a seal quite as airtight. Single and double sliding windows slide from side to side. The same thing applies here and they tend to have higher air leakage.
Installing Your Windows
You can make all the right decisions when choosing energy efficient windows, but they won’t work correctly if they are installed wrong. Make sure you hire a reputable company with experienced experts that know what they’re doing; otherwise, all your planning and efforts will go to waste.
Of course with the almost 25 years of experience that we have here at Wholesale Home Improvements, we’ll make sure that your windows are installed correctly. We hope this information is helpful for you when choosing energy efficient windows. Feel free to contact us with any questions or for a free quote.