Winter is a great time to consider your home’s energy usage and where certain efficiencies can be improved. It can cost a lot of money to heat a home during the colder months, especially if some of that heat is leaking out of your home, causing you to pay more to heat the same space over and over. However, you can take steps to reduce this winter “heat loss,” and one of the best ways to do so is to replace your home’s windows!
Did you know that a home’s windows account for 25-30% of home energy loss? That is why it is important to carefully select a window that fits your needs as well as the needs of your environment. There is a lot to consider when thinking about replacing windows in your home, but after reading this article you can make an informed choice when considering your next home window project!
When do windows need to be replaced?
Believe it or not, there are more signs to a bad window than a crack running through the center of it, and knowing these signs is crucial to any homeowner hoping to keep their home in tip-top, money-saving shape. However, if you are unsure about your windows and are wondering if they are at the end of their life, take a look at our other blog post about the signs of bad windows!
In short, bad windows could have all or some of the following traits:
- Difficulty closing/opening
- Moisture around the window
- Broken hardware/glass on window
- Frame issues (i.e. cracked or rotted)
- Unusual spikes in energy bills
If this describes any window in your home, then you may be in need of new windows! Fortunately, American Design and Build can help! American Design and Build has been installing windows in homes for over 28 years. Our window experts can sit down with you and help you decide what is best for your home and climate. With ample styles and colors to choose from you are bound to find a window to accent your home’s beauty.
Selecting Windows for Your Home – U-Factors, SHGC & More!
When selecting windows for your home you may find yourself overwhelmed. Not to worry, we will help you make a sound decision on your home’s windows. The first thing you should consider is what kind of environment you live in. For example, do you live in a warmer climate year-round or is it colder most of the year? The answer to this question will help you when deciding what windows to purchase. Things such as U-factors and SHGC can help you decide which windows are right for your climate. A window’s U-factor can be described as the rate at which non-solar heat flows. Furthermore, the U-factor can refer to the glass the window is made of or the glazing on the window alone. The lower the U-factor the better the window will insulate the home and resist heat flow. It is also important to pay attention to whole unit’s U-factor and not just the “center of glass” U-factor, as some product labeling can be misleading.
Another common term you will see when shopping for energy efficient windows is a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). This number, between 0 and 1, is important because it represents the amount of heat coming from solar radiation that a window allows into the home. The lower the SHGC the less solar heat that window transmits into the home. Now, why would some want a lower SHGC and some a higher SHGC? Say you lived in a very hot, sunny environment and wanted windows to make you home as comfortable as possible. This person may choose to go with a window with a low SHGC because windows with lower SHGC allow less solar radiation (heat) into the home. Whereas someone living in a colder climate will want that natural solar heat with a higher SHGC rating. It is easy to see how your location along with many other considerations must be made when selecting the best windows for your home. There are other properties in efficient windows such as visual transmittance, air leakage and condensation resistance, but U-factor and SHGC are a good place to start when selecting windows.
Installation and Why It Matters
Installation is a massive factor in a window’s performance. A beautiful, energy efficient window is only as good as the installation of the window itself. A professional installation, like that at American Design and Build, will make sure that there is no air and water leakage. Furthermore, a good foundation for the window is also key. Our professionals also make sure there isn’t any rot or water damage before installation of the new window, as this will likely cause issues in the future. Another reason to have your windows professionally installed by a licensed contractor is the manufacturer’s warranties. A lot of manufacturer warranties are contingent upon being professionally installed by a licensed contractor. Install them yourself or by a non-licensed party and you are likely to void the manufacturer’s warranty. Do yourself a favor and trust the experts when it comes to installing or replacing windows!
Winter Window Tips
You may not think about your windows a lot in the wintertime, but there are some things you can do to make sure your windows are up to the task of winter. One thing you can do during the winter is to observe your windows. Are they allowing excess moisture into your home? Are they closing properly? Do they have a noticeable draft? Ask yourself questions like these and do a visual assessment of your windows to see if there are any problem areas that need to be addressed. Another area that is important to inspect is the caulking and weather stripping. Items such as these can become susceptible to fail over the years of cold, heat and moisture. Any areas that are cracking or failing may need to be re-caulked and have the weather strips replaced.
Storm windows can also help with insulating your home and providing protection from the cold and moisture. If you live in an area that is battered by storms frequently or just want more protection, then this may be a valuable addition to your home! Custom built to your specifications, storm windows not only provide protection and help with keeping your home warm, but storm windows help with outside noise too! Getting back to the insulation aspect however, in a recent study storm windows with the most efficient glass option saw an average of 21% heat loss reduction and an average payback of 4.5 years1!
These tips along with good, quality window themselves will help to keep you home happy and comfortable this winter and many to come! When it comes to your home, don’t be afraid of the winter months, just be prepared! If you need your windows professionally inspected along with a free quote, give American Design and Build a call or go online at Adbuild.com/schedule-now.
- NAHB Research Center, 2006 Consumer Practices Survey, 2006
Craig Drumheller – NAHB Research Center, Christian Kohler – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stefanie Minen – Utilvate Technologies, Field Evaluation of Low-E Storm Windows, 2007