Windows are one of the most important features of a home when it comes to energy efficiency. A good window can help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer while saving you money on your utility bills.
If you're thinking about replacing your windows, or are just curious about what new windows can offer, this blog post is for you! We'll discuss everything you need to know about new windows, from how to tell when you need them replaced to understanding the NFRC label. We'll also provide tips on how to select replacement windows that will save you the most energy and money.
How to tell when you need new windows
Your windows may be due for a replacement if you notice any of the following:
* Cracks or holes in the glass
If you've noticed any cracks or holes in your windows, it's time to replace them. Even small cracks can let in drafts and cause your energy bills to go up.
* Drafts coming from around the window
If you feel a draft coming from around your window, that's another sign that it needs to be replaced. Not only are drafts annoying, but they also mean your home is losing heat (or cool air in the summer).
* Moisture buildup or condensation between the panes of glass
This is a sure sign that your window's seal has failed and needs to be replaced. Excess moisture can lead to a host of nasty problems, such as mold and biohazards, so if you notice moisture, contact a window replacement company ASAP.
* Gaps around the window frame
Gaps can form around the window frame over time, which lets in drafts and can cause your energy bills to go up.
* Windows that are difficult to open or close
If your windows are difficult to open or close, it's time for a replacement. Not only is this annoying, but it can also be a safety hazard in case of an emergency.
* Peeling or flaking paint
This can be a sign that the window frame is deteriorating and needs to be replaced. While you may be able to sand off the peeling paint and repaint it, make sure the frame has structural integrity. Otherwise, you're just glossing over the real issue - and that never lasts for very long.
* Water damage
Signs of water damage include warping, swelling, or discoloration of the window frame. If you see any of these signs, it's time to replace your windows. As we mentioned above, water damage can lead to other more expensive and worrisome issues like mold and rot.
Do new windows improve energy efficiency?
The answer is usually a resounding yes. If your old windows are single-paned or have poor insulation, then upgrading to double-paned, low-E argon gas-filled windows will help increase your home's energy efficiency.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows can save you up to $465 per year on your energy bills.
However, if your old windows are already double-paned and low-E argon gas-filled, then you may not see a significant increase in energy efficiency with new windows.
How do windows affect energy efficiency?
Windows affect energy efficiency in two ways: through solar heat gain and air leakage.
Solar heat gain
This is the amount of heat that comes into your home through the window from the sun's rays. Air leakage is when cold or hot air leaks through cracks around the window, making your home less comfortable and causing your HVAC system to work harder.
This is when cold or hot air leaks through cracks around the window, making your home less comfortable and causing your HVAC system to work harder.
To sum it up, windows affect energy efficiency in two ways: solar heat gain and air leakage. If you have old, single-pane windows, you can improve your home's energy efficiency by upgrading to new double-pane windows.
If you're not sure if new windows will actually save you money on your energy bills, the best way to find out is to get a professional energy audit. An energy auditor will assess your home and identify areas where you can save money on your utility bills. They may also recommend other upgrades (such as insulation) that will help increase your home.
Selecting a replacement window: what you need to know
When selecting replacement windows, there are three main things to consider: frame material, glass type, and glazing options.
The frame material can affect both solar heat gain and air leakage. The most common window frame materials are wood, aluminum, and vinyl.
Wood frames are good at insulating against heat loss, but they can swell and shrink with changes in humidity, which can cause cracks that lead to air leakage.
Aluminum frames are not as good at insulating against heat loss, but they don't swell or shrink so they don't have the same air leakage problems as wood frames.
Vinyl frames are a good middle ground between wood and aluminum: they're reasonably good at insulating against heat loss and don't swell or shrink.
Glass type also affects both solar heat gain and air leakage. The two most common types of glass are clear and tinted.
Clear glass lets in the most solar heat, so clear glass lets in the most sun, which can increase solar heat gain.
Tinted glass reduces solar heat gain without reducing visibility.
Low-E glass is coated with a thin layer of metal that reflects heat back into your home, reducing both solar heat gain and air leakage. Low-E argon gas-filled windows are the most energy-efficient.
Glazing options are the final factor to consider when selecting replacement windows. Glazing is the process of adding a thin layer of glass or plastic to the window to improve energy efficiency. The most common glazing options are double-glazed and triple-glazed windows.
Double-glazed windows have two panes of glass with a space in between them that's filled with air or argon gas. This helps reduce heat loss and air leakage.
Triple-glazed windows have three panes of glass with spaces in between them that are filled with air or argon gas. Triple-glazed windows are even more energy-efficient than double-glazed, but they're also more expensive.
Understanding the NFRC label on an energy efficient window
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a nonprofit organization that provides ratings for the energy performance of windows. All energy-efficient windows will have an NFRC label that lists the window's U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).
The U-factor is a measure of how well a window insulates against heat loss. The lower the U-factor, the better the window insulates. Keep in mind, that higher quality windows often come with a higher price tag, but that's because they've been designed to work better and last longer.
The SHGC is a measure of how much solar heat comes through the window. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat comes in.
How to choose the most efficient windows for energy savings
There are three things to look for when selecting an energy-efficient window:
* The U-factor measures how well a window insulates. The lower the U-factor, the better the window is at keeping heat inside your home (or out during the summer).
* The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures how much solar heat comes in through the window. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat will come into your home.
* ENERGY STAR certified windows are ones that meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US government.
If you are ready to update and beautify your home’s interior and exterior, new energy-efficient windows are the way to go. And when you use a TrustDALE certified professional, you're always protected by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right Guarantee. So start looking for a trusted window replacement professional in your area today!