Tips For Choosing Energy Efficient Windows

If you're going to invest in new replacement windows, you might as well buy the most energy efficient windows you can afford. By doing so, you'll reduce your energy bills and increase the value of your home. This helps you get a good return on your investment. Choosing the right windows can be tricky. It helps to understand a little about how windows are made, and how their construction affects energy efficiency. Here are a few things to know about selecting energy efficient windows.

Glazing Options

Window glazing is the glass part of the windows. You can buy windows with one, two, or three panes of glass in them. The more glass in the windows, the more energy efficient they are. However, it isn't the multiple panes that makes the windows more efficient. It's what goes between the panes of glass. The space can be filled with air or gas that acts as insulation. The glass can also be lined with film that blocks heat transfer and reflects UV rays. The glass in these windows works hard to help keep the climate in your home comfortable, but their appearance isn't affected. The glass is still transparent and clear unless you choose to get glass that is tinted dark for privacy reasons.

Frame Choices

The materials used to make window frames have different insulating abilities, and they have various price points too. Wood has a traditional look, and it insulates fairly well, but it requires a lot of maintenance. If it sustains damage from rot or insects, air can leak through the frames and cause chilly drafts in your house. Aluminum frames have a sleek look and are a good choice when you want a wall of windows because the frames are thin. However, aluminum is a very poor insulator, and not a good choice if energy efficiency is your goal. Vinyl could be your best choice for energy efficient windows. Vinyl blocks heat transfer so air warmed by the furnace stays inside during the winter. The frames are thin and light with hollow insides that can be filled with air or insulating foam to increase their insulating powers. As an added bonus, vinyl windows require very little maintenance, and you won't need to worry about insects boring holes into the frames.

Label Ratings

The easiest way to shop for windows is to check the ratings on labels for different types of windows. At the very least, you want windows with the Energy Star sticker. In addition, you can look for the rating sticker from the National Fenestration Rating Council. This sticker gives you a clear view of how well the glass and frame will perform for you in your climate. The label gives a U-factor rating, which lets you know how well the window keeps heat in your home. A lower number indicates better performance. The label also rates the solar heat gain coefficient, which lets you know how well the window blocks solar heating. A window with a low solar heat gain rating will help keep your home cooler in the summer.

Air leakage is also rated. You want this number to be low, because the lower the number, the better the window is at keeping drafts out of your home. The visible transmittance rating lets you know how much natural daylight will come through the glass. If natural lighting is important to you, you'll prefer windows with a high visible transmittance. Using the window labels as a guide, you can choose the most energy efficient windows you can afford in a style you like best. Visit Active Hurricane & Security Protection for more information.