Time For New Windows? Consider These Energy-Efficient Features
If your windows are old, loose and thin, replacing them with virtually any type of new window is likely to yield energy savings. However, in order to make sure your new windows are as energy efficient as possible, you should consider choosing ones with one or more of these energy-saving features.
Many windows these days are double-pane, which means there are two layers of glass between the interior of your home and the outdoors. If you want to take insulation to the next level, however, you can find triple-pane glass windows. The layer of gas between window panes acts as an insulating barrier between the indoors and outdoors, slowing heat transfer. With triple-pane windows, you have two layers of air working together. Thus, even less heat will be transferred, lowering your energy bills. Energy loss through triple-pane windows is decreased by about 20–30% in comparison to a standard, double-pane windows.
The downside to triple-pane windows is that they are heavier than double-pane options, and thus need a more supportive frame. Frames made from fiberglass often work best. The increased cost of triple-pane windows plus stronger frames to support them may place this choice outside your budget if you're on a rather tight one.
Normal glass reflects a certain portion of light, and lets a certain portion travel straight through it. The light that travels through the window heats up your home, which can increase your energy bills in the summer when you're running your air conditioner. Heat-reflective glass, also known as low-e glass, reflects more of this light than standard glass. This reduces the heating of your home by sunlight, thus lowering your air conditioning bills.
You can purchase windows that are already treated with materials to make them heat reflective. However, if you're on a tight budget, another option is to purchase standard windows, and then coat them in a low-e film yourself. Often, the film comes in large rolls, and you just cut pieces to the size of your windows before sticking them on.
Low-e windows and coatings come in both tinted and non-tinted varieties. Which you choose is really just a matter of aesthetic preference. The clear windows reflect about the same amount of light as the tinted ones.
Argon Or Krypton Gas Filling
As mentioned previously, the gas trapped between the two (or three) panes of glass that comprise your windows acts as insulation. Standard, atmospheric air does a fairly decent job of insulating, but there are gasses that do a better job -- namely argon and krypton. The molecules of these gases move more slowly than the molecules of air (which is really a mixture of gases). Thus, they are not as effective at transferring heat across the window.
Argon is the more affordable of the two gas filling options, and it is non-toxic, clear, and odorless. Krypton costs a bit more, but it is an even better insulator and will thus yield even better energy savings.
Many homeowners worry about gas leaking out of their gas-filled windows. While studies show that this does happen, the degree to which it occurs is minimal. The windows lose about 1% of their gas each year, and even when they are 20 years old, they do an effective job of insulating.
If you're looking for the most energy-efficient windows available, then focus on those with one or more of these features. In most cases, your decision will be based largely on what you can afford. With a large budget, a triple-pane, krypton-filled, low-e window may be ideal. But, if your budget is limited, a standard double-pane option with argon gas filling, for instance, will still lower your energy bills. Contact a company like Solar Shield Windows for more information.