Have you ever sat near a window in your home, and then all of a sudden felt a breeze – even though the window was closed? Old or poor quality windows are likely to cause drafts, as the seal around the window is no longer airtight. Leaky windows can heat up your home in the summer, making your air conditioning system work overtime. Similarly, your old windows could be letting in icy cold air in the wintertime, making your HVAC perform extra work to keep your home at a desirable temperature. If your windows are drafty, you might already be noticing a steady increase in your monthly energy bill. You may already even be aware of the energy savings you can expect by replacing your windows, and how they can increase your home’s energy efficiency by over 30 percent. But did you know that green, energy-efficient windows also improve your home’s air quality, require less maintenance, insulate against noise, and look great too?
Just like there’s a variety of reasons for you replace your windows with newer, green windows, there are also a number of ways for you to choose window replacements. Here are some things to look for when searching for new energy-efficient windows to fit your home.
Window coatings (also known as low-emissivity coatings) are a layer of metallic oxide in the glass that can reduce the amount of heat that comes through the glass. These coatings give you the option to tailor how much solar heat and UV radiation enters your home according to your climate. If you live in a cooler region, you can choose a coating that will maximize solar heat, so that your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard. If you live in a hotter area, where you are always using your air conditioning, you can choose a coating that blocks solar heat from warming your home even more. Low-E coatings can cut energy costs by 25%, and can also filter UV-rays, protecting your furniture and carpeting from fading in color.
Metal window frames, such as aluminum and steel, are good thermal conductors – meaning that the metal can easily transfer heat from the outside to the interior of your home. While your air conditioning system is actively trying to cool your house down in the summer, heat from the sun is counteracting the effort. For optimal energy efficiency, it’s best to instead choose frames with low thermal conductivity, such as wood, vinyl, and fiberglass. These New Jersey replacement window installers, for example, offer vinyl window frames for even better overall energy efficiency. Specially insulated frames also do a great job of preventing solar heat transfer.
Another important thing to consider is how much ventilation you’d like for your home. Well-ventilating windows will improve the indoor air quality of your home. However, if a style of window is able to be opened, this means more opportunity for outside air to leak in even when it’s closed. The many different styles of windows offer varying degrees of both ventilation and insulation. For example, picture windows do not open and provide no ventilation, but are the best protection against drafts. Casement windows open with a locking lever, offering both ventilation and decent insulation. Consider the climate you live in and your own preferences.
Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” solution for buying energy-efficient window replacements for your home. However, with a little bit of research, taking into consideration your personal comfort needs and the specific characteristics of your climate, you should be able to find the perfect window to fit your home and give you the results you want.