Energy efficient replacement windows not only help homeowners save a considerable amount on their utility bills, they also help to keep the home more comfortable. The primary purpose of an energy efficient window is reducing air leakage within the structure. There are several things homeowners can do to ensure their windows are as efficient as possible.
Install the Right Window Frame
The type of window frame you have can make a huge difference in the overall energy efficiency of your home. Carefully consider the material, style and design before replacing your windows. Frames can be constructed out of wood, vinyl, fiberglass, composite, aluminum or other metals. All these materials have their pros and cons. Aluminum is heated easily and therefore isn’t the best insulator. Wood tends to have efficiency issues due to contraction and expansion. Vinyl is a popular choice, especially if it is a version that features enhanced insulation. A lot also depends on the climate where you live and your house requirements in order to obtain the best thermal insulating result.
Reflective Coatings and Tints
There are a number of options for window glass coating. Reflective tint, heat absorbing material and gas fills can all contribute to a window’s energy-saving effectiveness. Tinting products are available in a range of colors such as green, black, bronze, gray and blue. Reflective coatings are designed to block out solar radiation and glare. This type of material is most effective in hot climates. There are also spectral selective coatings available that not only reduce heat transfer, but still allow adequate light to enter. In colder climates many homeowners apply a low-emission coating on the inside glass in order to keep heat from escaping.
Seal Air Leaks
Air-conditioned or warmed air mixes with outside air if you have even the smallest gaps around your windows. These leaks can waste a large amount of energy. Most window experts agree that applying weather stripping and caulking to reduce or eliminate air flow can pay for itself in energy savings very quickly. This technique helps to not only alleviate drafts, but also helps the home to feel warmer in cold weather. Caulking compounds can also prevent water damage from occurring. These products are typically used in disposable cartridges that fit inside a caulking gun. Plan to use a half-cartridge for each window and it’s usually preferable to use a water-based caulk for easy cleaning.