Is your heating bill higher than it should be? Your windows could be the culprit. Certain windows designs such as older single pane varieties are notorious for providing poor insulation, and allowing heat to escape homes. This prompts people to crank their thermostats higher than they need to be, which raises their heating bill unnecessarily.
You should consider swapping out your current windows with other designs that provide better heat resistance to keep your home warmer for less.
How Energy Efficiency is Advertised
Window manufacturers usually advertise the insulating abilities of their windows using a term known as the R-value. Windows with higher R-values provide better insulation. A window rated R5 provides better insulation than one that was rated R4.
What Affects the Energy Efficiency of a Window?
Number of Panes: Single pane windows with thin glass normally found in older homes are usually the worst at trapping heat. Around 41% of American homes contain single pane windows while the rest feature double paned or triple paned windows.
Glazing refers to the process of trapping an inert gas such as argon or krypton in a tiny gap between panes of glass to improve the window’s insulative capabilities. Glazed double or triple paned windows are significantly better at preventing heat from escaping compared to single paned windows.
Pane Thickness: The thickness of the pane glass also affects the energy efficiency of the window. Windows with thicker glass have lower U values than those with thinner glass. Most windows use glass which is 3/32” in thickness, while large windows may be as thick as 5/32” to improve their wind resistance.
Low Emissivity Coatings: Some windows feature low-emissivity (low-e) coatings on their glass which reflects long wave infrared heat back into your home and reduces radiant heat loss through the glass. This makes the glass better at trapping heat in your home.
Frame Material: The material of the frames is important as well. Windows with metal frames are significantly worse at insulating compared to wood, fiberglass, and vinyl due metal’s high heat conductivity. Some materials need to be maintained regularly to prevent their insulative qualities from becoming compromised.
Wooden frames generally possess good insulating capabilities; but can be prone to cracking. This often results in the seal between panes failing, which reduces the window’s ability to trap heat.
Window Design: Certain window designs are more prone to leaking air than others. Windows that swing about a hinge and seal squarely against their frames in the closed position are better at preventing air from escaping compared to windows that feature sliding mechanisms.
Windows that are fixed and do not open are the best option to prevent air from escaping. However, these might be unsuitable for spaces where window ventilation is desired.
What Styles Are Best for Saving on Heating?
You should look to multi–paned windows with thick glass, and low-e coatings surrounded by frames made from fiberglass or vinyl to ensure superior insulation performance.
The design should also provide a good seal when the window is in its closed position. Swinging window designs excel in this regard.
Be sure to also check the R-value advertised by the retailer. A window with a high R-value will typically provide better insulation.
If you’re still skeptical about the quality of a particular window, look to verify if it’s Energy Star Certified. Energy Star Certified windows have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they meet standards set by an accredited laboratory and verified by an independent third party.
People looking to replace their windows with more energy efficient designs have plenty of variety to choose from. Each of which possess unique heat retention advantages. Be sure to use the services of a qualified window installation contractor when you decide to replace your windows to get the best results and insulation performance.