They can, in fact, contribute greatly to your home’s architectural and historic accuracy. All you need to do is customize your replacement units with the right colors, hardware, glass, and grille patterns.
Aesthetic appeal, however, isn’t the only thing replacement windows are good for. They can also help elevate your home’s comfort levels and energy efficiency. This allows for a more pleasant indoor environment during any season, minus the high energy bills. With new windows, you won’t just benefit from a lovelier home, but a more sustainable one, as well.
To detail, here are some of the advantages you can enjoy by investing in energy-efficient windows:
Today’s replacement windows are designed with increased comfort in mind. They feature durable, airtight seals that eliminates potential of drafts from entering your home. At the same time, they prevent costly heating or cooling energy from leaking outside your home. This way, your living spaces remain thermally stable — deliciously cool during summer and cozily warm in winter.
Significant Energy Savings
Energy-efficient replacement windows come with tighter seals, stronger framing material, and more advanced glass technology. They eliminate the need to overcompensate for air leaks and energy loss when summer or winter comes around.
This allows for less energy usage and even better, fewer zeroes tacked onto the digits on your home’s energy bills. Of course, this will depend on which material you chose for frames and sashes, plus the glass package included with your new windows.
Increased Daylighting and Maximized Viewing Areas
Brightening your home naturally is easier with energy-efficient windows. They usually come with reflective glass that allows considerable natural light to stream inside your living spaces without the heat gain. This means you no longer have to use tinted glass, which reduces visible light and obstructs an expansive view of the outdoors.
Less Chance of Condensation
Most glass options included with energy-efficient windows come with gas fills and spacers. These components help improve the units’ insulating value, preventing moist air or frost from collecting between the window panes. Without condensation, the unit retains its energy-saving properties.
Better Sun Protection
The same glass that reduces solar heat gain can also protect your living spaces from damaging UV light. This means there’s less possibility for fading walls, furniture, and flooring.
Reduced HVAC Bills
Because energy remains trapped inside your home, your replacement windows help lower the peak heating and cooling loads. In fact, with more energy-efficient units, you can install smaller HVAC systems, which is more cost-effective.
If you want to experience the many benefits that energy-saving windows can provide, you’ll have to cover a few essentials. Window replacement, after all, is an important investment. You’ll want to get the most out of it. This means making sure your replacement units can truly deliver superior energy performance. When choosing energy-efficient windows, you’ll need to consider the following:
Your replacement windows longevity and energy efficiency will depend on your choice of framing material. Some of the choices available today are wood, vinyl, aluminum, and composite. It pays to weigh in on each option’s pros and cons before making your choice.
For instance, wood is known for its strength and great insulating properties, but is prone to moisture damage. Vinyl, while requiring less maintenance than wood, warps easily when exposed to extreme changes in weather and temperature. Meanwhile, aluminum offers a clean, sleek look to your windows, but isn’t good as wood with insulation.
You may do well to invest in composite, which offers the advantages of other framing materials. There are composite frames, in fact, that feature the durability and insulating action of wood, plus the maintenance-free performance of vinyl.
Choose replacement windows that come with Low-E (low-emissivity) glass. This advanced component lowers radiant heat transfer, keeping your home thermally comfortable all year round. While you get the benefit of more natural light in your rooms, you no longer have to worry about the heat that comes with it. The glass helps reduce your reliance on your HVAC system, letting you enjoy considerable energy savings.
When picking efficient windows, make sure that they are dual-paned. The width of air space between these two panes should be optimized — there should be enough to properly insulate the window and reduce heat loss.
Your replacement windows should have a low-conductivity spacer that resists heat transfer and maintains the glass’ stability. Spacers may come in aluminum, stainless steel, or even plastic. It pays to choose a durable option that doesn’t cause seal failure or deteriorate over time.
Standard windows use only air between the panes, but energy-efficient ones have gas blends that improve their insulating value. Argon gas is one of the best examples of insulating gas fills available today. It improves the window’s’ overall thermal performance, helping you save more energy.
To confirm that your replacement units can deliver improved energy efficiency, look for the white-and-blue ENERGY STAR label on your windows. This means that they have met the stringent energy performance requirements set by the program. You can even take this further by checking the windows’ NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label. This helps you compare each window brands’ energy efficiency through a set of ratings, including:
This helps determine how effectively your new windows retain heating energy inside your home. A lower U-factor means your replacement units offer better insulating value, allowing for more durable seals that prevent significant energy loss.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
This rating measures how well your replacement windows can block solar heat. Units that have lower SHGC can provide better access to natural light, only without the heat gain. They also ensure that your home’s interior is free from sun damage.
Air Leakage (AL)
This measures how well your windows head off drafts. You’ll want windows that eliminate leakage and can stabilize indoor temperatures, so choose ones with low AL.
This rating shows how well your new units light up your home. Windows with high visible transmittance allow access to more natural light, which can possibly save you money on artificial lighting.
Investing in energy-efficient windows allows for a more comfortable home without worrying much about utility bills. Because they give a healthy return on investment, you’ll be able to save even more. Add the fact that, depending on your location, you can qualify for tax incentives for installing them, and you’ll find that energy-efficient windows are a win-win. Just make sure that you’re hiring a reliable window company who can properly and efficiently install them.