Many are changing out their old drafty energy-sucking windows for those that are more energy efficient. You don’t only want windows that are going to function properly and save you money, but that are also attractive and work well in your living environment. If you’re getting ready to choose energy efficient windows to make your home a little more green, here’s five tips to keep in mind while you’re shopping.
Choose the right installer
There’s no point in doing all the research to find energy efficient windows if you’re not going to make the effort to also find the right installer. If the windows aren’t properly installed, it’s just as bad as if you never had them done in the first place. Ask your loved ones for recommendations, do some Internet research, and make sure that the installer is properly certified.
Choose the right frame
Picking out the right frame is just one of the aspects of choosing the right energy efficient windows, not only for function but also for their look. There’s typically three different types to choose from: fiberglass, wood, and vinyl. Fiberglass frames can stand up well to temperature changes, provide excellent insulation, and require little-to-no maintenance over time. While wood is a natural insulator and expands and contracts depending on the temperature, it can also rot, buckle and warp over time, and they do require maintenance. Vinyl frames require little-to-no maintenance over time, provides excellent insulation, and work well with different temperatures.
Ask about glazing
When the glass is coated, they can become even more energy efficient, but it’s up to you to find out what the installer offers where you are. For example, if you live in a really hot climate where you use air conditioning often, Low-E glass, also known as Low-emissive, is not only more energy efficient, but can cut glare and protect your inside furnishings.
Choose the right glass
To be deemed energy efficient, one must look at the U-Value and the SHGC. The U-Value measures how much heat goes in and out of the windows while the SHGC measures the amount of solar heat coming through the glass. Whether the glass is single, double, triple, or quadruple paned, the lower the U-Value and SHGC numbers, the better. The more panes of glass, the more insulation in between, and therefore, the lower the aforementioned numbers will be.
Buy the right window type
The way a window operates actually has a lot to do with how energy efficient they are. There are several types, including picture windows, single and double sliding, and casement. The latter type of windows, for example, have lower air leakage because they seal closed tightly. They require maintenance, but are typically good for areas that experience a lot of wind. Choosing the type of window not only has to do with the type you want, but also how often you’re planning on using them, as well as the area you live in.
When it comes down to choosing energy efficient windows, there are several things you have to look at and consider beyond looks and price. Maintenance is a factor as are the U-Value and SHGC numbers. Where you live and the weather conditions also play a part. For example, if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, wood frames aren’t your best bet. Do your research, consult with a reputable installer, and before you know it, your current windows will be replaced with ones that are much more energy efficient.