If you’ve spent any time shopping around for windows, then you have probably seen a lot of the terms that are used to talk about the characteristics of windows. While things like “energy star rating” are somewhat common, and though you may not understand all the in-depth specifics, you at least have a basic idea as to what is the term referring. But something like the “U” Factor is a bit more uncommon, and there’s not even any hints as to what the term refers. You can always ask one of the highly skilled professionals here at Wholesale Home Improvements and they will be happy to answer any questions that you have about your new home windows. Or, for now, you can just keep reading to find out what the “U” Factor for home windows is all about.
The “U” Factor is a determinate used to measure performance, and of course, the performance is the window’s ability to inhibit heat flow and thus provide insulation to your home or business. The “U” Factor specifically indicates the rate of heat loss. A lower “U” Factor assigned to a window indicates less heat loss which translates to better insulation and better overall window performance.
The National Fenestration Rating Council or NFRC is the nationally recognized body that determines the rating method used for the “U” Factor. In this rating method, the whole window is included in the determination–which means that the glass, glazing, frame and spacers all play a role. Sometimes, then, a center-of-glass “U” Factor is used to describe only the performance of the glazing without taking into account the frame. When measuring center-of-glass “U” Factor against whole window “U’ Factor, the whole window is almost always higher in energy efficient windows.
Your next question now that you know a bit about “U” Factor is what’s a good number? As a good baseline typical high performance, double paned windows have a “U” Factor of about 0.30 or lower. Some well designed triple-paned windows can get that “U’ Factor down to about 0.15. This low “U” Factor typically is most important in cold climates, and you want to keep the inside of your house nice and toasty when Jack Frost is out there nipping. It is also beneficial in warm climates where you are attempting to prevent too much heat from entering the home as the inhibition of heat transfer works both ways.
You can get information directly from Energy Star to find out what the recommended “U” Factor is for your area, or as always you can talk to us here at Wholesale Home Improvements. We will be able to explain to you how everything works and help you balance cost, “U” Factor, and potential future energy savings to determine what type of windows is best for your home. We’ve got over 108 years of combined windows experience so we can confidently say that we know what we’re talking about to help you choose exactly what you need.