Photo By Brandon Ruckman at istock
Often overlooked, windows are one of the avenues in your home that could be draining energy. They are a great place to start when adopting energy efficiency in your home. The U.S. Department of Energy points out that windows could be responsible for up to 30% of the energy used to cool or heat your home.
In areas like Southlake, TX, where summers are extremely humid while winter temperatures are freezing, you need to check on your home’s energy consumption. One of the ways through which you can achieve this is by installing energy efficient windows.
During the summer, such windows can contain the cooled air within the house while keeping the humid air outside. Your home stays comfortable with minimal cooling costs. But how much will you save by installing these windows? Let’s break that down bit by bit.
What Makes up Energy Efficient Windows?
Several elements contribute to the energy efficiency of your windows.
- The number of glass panes – Your windows will lose most of the energy through the glass. However, technology has made it possible for the glass to be engineered to prevent heat transfer. Single pane glass windows have the least energy efficiency, while double and triple pane windows offer more energy efficiency. The latter also provides better insulation and soundproofing.
- Low-e glass – Apart from multiple panes, manufacturers apply a special type of coating that maximizes the efficiency of the glass. The low emissivity (Low-E) coating reflects infrared and ultraviolet light.
- Quality frames – Apart from impacting your home’s curb appeal, frames impact your windows’ ability to lose or retain energy. Vinyl, wood, and fiberglass frames are the most energy-efficient, while aluminum frames are the least energy efficient.
- Gas fills – Most energy efficient windows have gas fills between the panes that help insulate your home better than the normal air. The gas is usually argon, krypton, or any other non-toxic gas.
- Weather-stripping – This acts as a seal to any leaks. However, the effectiveness of your window weather-stripping depends on its quality and amount. The most energy efficient windows have a generous amount of fibrous weatherstripping.
- Window installation – To enjoy the full benefits of energy efficient windows, have a professional install them. The highest-rated and most expensive windows will have little or no effect on your energy usage if they are installed incorrectly.
Is It Worthwhile to Install Energy Efficient Windows in Your Home?
The worth of your new windows depends on the windows you intend to replace. For example, if you replace single-pane windows with damaged frames that have no weatherstripping, you will probably notice some difference in the utility bills you pay. If you want a return to your investment within the next few years, the upgrade needs to be quite significant.
Most homeowners are hesitant to replace their windows as they are often costly. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to $583 every year if you replace single-pane windows and up to $197 when replacing double-pane windows with replacement windows with Energy Star ratings. However, given the extreme temperatures in the region, you could save significantly more.
Other Factors That Will Affect How Well Your Energy Efficient Windows Perform
Your home’s air sealing
Although your replacement windows will result in significant savings, they will not be completely effective if your home is not sealed correctly. This sealing goes beyond caulking the joints around the windows. You need to have openings around chimneys, dryer vents, furnaces, and water heaters.
The windows’ U-factor
U-factor refers to your window’s ability to prevent heat from escaping, or its heat loss rate ranges from 0.15 to 1.20. High resistance to heat loss implies that the window is well insulated. The lower the U-factor value, the more energy-efficient the window is. This means that the most energy-efficient window has a U-factor of 0.15.
Visible transmittance (VT)
This is a measure of the amount of light your window lets in. The VT value will be particularly important if you prefer natural lighting. The higher the window’s VT, the brighter your space will be.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
This refers to the amount of solar radiation a window allows into your space. The number ranges from 0 to 1, and the higher it is, the higher the heat that gets through the window. Regions such as Southlake, TX, need windows with the lowest SHGC rating to reduce HVAC use.
While this has little to do with your window’s energy efficiency, it may affect how fast you decide to replace them. Condensation resistance is the measure of how much moisture will build upon the window’s surface. It ranges from 1 to 100.
Apart from energy efficiency, other benefits of upgrading to energy efficient windows include:
- It raises your home’s value – This will be particularly beneficial if you plan to resell your home soon. While the window replacement costs might be high, you can be sure to recoup up to 70% of the expense.
- There will be fewer UV rays – As mentioned, Low-E coated energy efficient windows block harmful UV rays. Such rays are among the key reasons why your upholstery is fading.
- Energy – Efficient windows reduce HVAC costs – poor energy efficiency leads to increased reliance on your HVAC to keep your home comfortable. In the hot summer, your air conditioner will have to work extra hard to cool your home and vice versa. After window replacement, not only will your bills be lower, but the HVAC maintenance costs are also significantly lower.
When considering a window replacement project in your home, it is essential to do your research and fully understand all the options available. Remember that all homes have unique energy profiles. At Energy Windows Solutions, we are the leading window experts in Southlake, TX. Our professionals have vast experience that covers all aspects of the window industry. We also offer our clients free quotes before taking on any project. Get in touch with us today for more information about our services.