Choosing the right replacement windows is a great way to increase your home’s curb appeal while dramatically reducing your monthly energy bills. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with some of the key features to look for in an energy efficient window can be one of the best investments you make.
The first step in the process is to learn some of the terminology. The three most important features to look for when comparing windows are its R-value, its U-factor and whether or not it’s a Low-E window. And as the type of window can dictate some of the energy efficiency qualities as well, you will also need to consider it’s style.
Style: Some kinds of windows are more energy efficient than others. Casement windows are the most effective barriers to the elements. They open on a hinge that glides open when you turn a crank. The weather seal holds the heat inside your house, or the cool AC air. They are designed so that when wind blows against the window, it actually seals tighter, instead of blowing into your home.
R-Value: The R-value is the most important factor in regards to the energy efficiency of a window. It is a measure of how effective the window is at retaining heat so that the temperature outside your home has a minimum effect on the temperature inside the home. The higher the value, the better it is at doing this. R-3 is the lowest that you will want to go if you want to build an energy efficient home.
U-Factor: The U-factor is the second most important thing to consider when buying replacement windows for their energy efficiency. It measures how effective the window is at preventing air leaks in between the seal and the frame of the window. If air is seeping through the window it won’t retain heat within the home. A U-factor below 0.35 is considered too low for energy efficiency.
Low-E Windows: These are windows which consist of two panes of glass separated by a layer of non-reactive gas, usually argon. This provides much more insulation than a layer of air or a single pane of glass.
These are the three most important things to consider when shopping for energy efficient windows. When it comes closer to decision time, some other considerations you will want to consider include condensation prevention, where to place the windows, building code requirements in your area, and UV blockage. A little research put in at the front end of the project can save you a lot of time, money, and most importantly – save energy in the long term.
Kathy Brock has been in the energy efficient windows business for over a decade and enjoys sharing tips with first time buyers. Her business, Superior Window Company, offers a variety of replacement window choices for any budget. For more information on energy savings, or if you are in the market for replacement windows in Houston, visit her company website at http://www.superiorwindowcompany.com.