If your current windows are drafty, outdated or over a decade old then it’s time to think about replacing them. New windows can significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency, curb appeal and comfort. Replacing all the windows in your house is a major investment of your time, money and energy, however. You need to do it right. To help you prepare for this big project, read on as we walk you through the process and give you key information.
In this post, you’ll learn how energy-efficient windows work and how they can help improve your home’s comfort level while also reducing your energy bills. You’ll also learn how to read the energy efficiency ratings on your windows’ National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels. Finally, we’ll discuss the benefits of upgrading your windows and will explain which window types are the most energy-efficient.
How Energy-Efficient Windows Work
Light and heat pass through ordinary window glass unimpeded. This is a problem on hot summer days and cold winter nights. The heat from the sun and the heat escaping from your interior can affect your home’s indoor temperature. Energy-efficient windows have special glass coatings that reflect heat, reducing the amount of heat that can enter and escape through your windows, which helps keep your home’s interior temperature stable.
Energy-efficient windows work by treating visible, ultraviolet and infrared light in different ways. They reflect ultraviolet and infrared light while still allowing visible light to pass through. Energy-efficient windows have low-emissivity (low-e) glass, which contains a microscopically thin, transparent coating that’s much thinner than a human hair. This coating reflects long-wave infrared energy, more commonly known as heat.
When heat from inside your home tries to escape through your windows during the winter, the low-e coating on the window glass reflects the heat back. The reverse happens during the summer, since the low-e coating is applied to both sides of the window glass. Energy-efficient windows typically are built with frames made from materials that provides good insulation. Their glass packages are generally double glazed, with insulating gases in between the window glass. These features work together to further reduce the amount of heat that travels through your windows.
How to Read the NFRC Label
To get the most out of your window replacement project, you will need to learn how to find the best replacement windows for your needs. As the top choice for window replacement and emergency roof repair in Fostoria, OH, we believe that the best way to do this is by learning how to read an NFRC label. The NFRC independently tests and labels energy-efficient windows, and you can rely on their findings.
The NFRC label is composed of different parts. Here’s what each rating means:
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – A measurement of the ability of your replacement window to prevent solar heat from penetrating through the window glass, the SHGC rating ranges from 0 to 1, with lower numbers more desirable. If you are concerned about your air conditioning bills, then choose replacement windows that have a good SHGC rating.
- U-Factor – Serving the opposite purpose of the SHGC rating, the U-Factor measures the ability of a replacement window to prevent indoor heat from escaping your home. This rating ranges from 0.20 to 1.20 and, once again, lower numbers are better. Window manufacturers tend to prioritize either the U-Factor rating or the SHGC rating, so you’ll need to find out which one is more important for your local climate.
- Visible Transmittance – Low-E windows are designed to maximize the amount of visible light that enters through the glass while minimizing the amount of UV rays and heat that can get through. The visible transmittance rating measures how much visible light can pass through the window. This rating ranges from 0 to 1 and, unlike the earlier ratings, higher numbers are better.
- Air Leakage – If a window has any cracks or gaps, air can leak through, wasting energy. The air leakage rating measures how much air can escape through the window. The more air that escapes, the harder it will be for your HVAC to keep your home comfortable. The rating ranges from 0.1 to 0.3, and lower numbers are better.
Benefits of Replacing Your Windows
As the leading expert in home window installation in Fostoria, OH, we strongly recommend upgrading your windows because new windows have a lot of benefits. Replacement windows can save you money, make your home more comfortable and protect your interior from damaging UV radiation. Here are the benefits of getting energy-efficient replacement windows:
A More Comfortable Interior
Your home will feel more comfortable since outside weather will no longer adversely affect your indoor temperature. Energy-efficient windows can also reduce excessive glare and heat gain, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of natural lighting in your home without the downsides. Using natural light to brighten your interior has many benefits. Natural light has been found to improve mood and productivity and helps make rooms feel more cheerful and welcoming.
Reduced Energy Bills
Energy-efficient replacement windows have low-emissivity glass that reflects heat and reduces heat transfer. This means that your new windows can help make your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Energy-efficient replacement windows can reduce the workload of your HVAC system, leading to lower energy bills.
UV Ray Protection
Low-emissivity glass also reflects harmful UV radiation away from your interior. UV rays can break down chemical bonds and cause photodegradation in your furniture, furnishings and art. Fortunately, most energy-efficient replacement windows can block the majority of the sun’s UV rays. You can use sunlight to illuminate your interior without worrying about anything fading.
Energy-Efficient Window Styles
Some window styles are more energy efficient than others. If you want to maximize your home’s energy efficiency then you need to choose the right kind of windows for your project. Picture windows are the most energy-efficient window style you can use because they are inoperable. They don’t open, which makes them more airtight than operable windows. This greatly reduces the risk of energy leaks.
In terms of operable windows, casement windows are the most energy-efficient. They are better than sliding and double-hung windows at preventing heat transfer because of their design. When you close a casement window, the sash closes by pressing against the frame. This seals the casement window shut. Specialty windows are another good choice. These are fixed windows that come in various shapes and sizes.
If you need more information on energy-efficient windows, give Clear Choice Exteriors Your Local Window Depot a call. We are a locally owned and operated home improvement company that has been in business for over a decade. We’re proud to serve our community. We’re known for our attention to detail, our excellent customer service and for always putting our customers first. If you’re in the market for our services and products, then contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.