As temperatures rise, homeowners start looking for options to protect their homes and their inhabitants from the heat. But keeping the house cool during hot weather can put a strain on your budget. This is especially true when your home’s existing windows are single-pane. Because of heat permeating single-pane windows, you may have your air conditioner running nonstop. In fact, drafty windows account for up to 25% of a home’s energy loss, which can skyrocket during the hot summer months.
However, there is an upgrade that will keep your home cool in the summer, keep utility bills low, and add value to your home. All in one! That’s right - new windows can keep your house cooler, with several additional bonuses.
If you decide to replace your windows, you will have to make several decisions about the type of windows. For example, you may opt to replace the whole window -pane and frame- or perhaps just the window glass. You will also need to decide what features are important for your windows. You will need to consider the following:
- Frame types
- Gas fills and spacers
- Glazing type
- Operation types
Today’s energy-efficient replacement windows feature argon gas-filled panes that reduce heat transfer through the glass, so your air conditioning (AC) unit won’t have to work overtime just to keep you cool. Windows with Low-E coating further reduce solar transfer. You won’t feel the heat so much, even when you’re standing right next to a sunny window. The coatings also filter out the rays of the sun, helping to protect carpet, draperies, and upholstery from fading. With so many great options out there, we gathered some of the most important information to help you make the right choice for your home.
Keep Your House Cooler with Vinyl Frames
If you are concerned about getting the most from your air conditioning system in the summer, there are a few factors to look at. One of the first things to keep in mind when you are considering replacement windows is that vinyl options are made with chambers that allow extra insulation. This extra layer of protection acts to keep the cool air from escaping your home to the outside through the window frame.
By insulating these pockets, it becomes much more difficult for cool air in the home to escape through the window frames. Since vinyl frames can help reduce heat transfer, homeowners will ultimately experience a cooler home during the hottest days.
Argon and Krypton Gas Fills
Most people are probably unfamiliar with Argon and Krypton Gas. Don’t they sound like something out of a comic book? In fact, these odorless and colorless gases are very important to window insulation! They fill the space between window panes and are denser than the air around you.
This gas is inserted between the glass panes during the engineering of the window. Both gases are denser than air, although krypton is denser than argon. This helps to keep the temperature in your house consistent all year long.
Argon and krypton gas provide insulation properties that keep the home at a consistent temperature. When argon and krypton are combined with Low-E glazing, it brings the temperature of the window closer to the temperature of your living space. This creates a cool and comfortable environment for the home no matter the temperature outside.
Low-E Glaze Reduces Heat Transfer
The Low-E coating that benefits your home when it’s cold outside is another feature that helps you save on energy costs in the summer. The term “Low-E” refers to “low emissivity” which reduces the amount of heat that is transferred through the window. As the Low-E coating blocks the amount of heat that enters your home through the windows, your air conditioning has less work to do. Your home will stay cooler without the extra work for your AC.
Low-E is a colorless and odorless application that’s thinner than a single human hair. It’s applied to the glass during manufacturing. According to the Department of Energy, heat is transferred in three ways: convection, radiation, and conduction. Low-E helps keep your home cool by controlling heat transfer via conduction and radiation.
With heat transfer via conduction, heat travels through solid objects such as roofing, an entry door, and even walls. Of course, the more permeable the object, the more heat gets through. Older windows may be more susceptible to heat conduction. Typically, heat is transferred primarily through the window’s glass unit. But Low-E can block the heat from making its way through.
Radiation is the travel of heat via visible and nonvisible light. It’s how you feel the heat coming from the stove even without directly placing your hand on it. The heat “radiates.” With older windows, this radiation is allowed to pass through since there is no coating to stop it. You can help block the radiation by using curtains, although this requires the curtains to remain closed and compromises the amount of natural light in the home. However, Low-E technology blocks radiation from making your home too warm.
Window Operation Impacts Energy Efficiency
Another important consideration is how the windows operate. Because some operating types have lower air leakage rates than others, an update can improve your home's energy efficiency. Traditional operating types include:
- Single and double-sliding
- Single and double-hung
Best Options for Reducing Heat & Air Leakage
These are hinged at the top and open outward. Because the sash closes by pressing against the frame, they generally have lower air leakage rates than sliding windows.
These windows are hinged at the bottom and open inward. Like both awning and casement, they generally have lower air leakage rates because the sash closes by pressing against the frame.
Fixed panes are windows don't open. When installed properly they're airtight but are not suitable in places where window ventilation and egress are desired.
These windows are hinged at the sides. Like awning windows, they generally have lower air leakage rates than sliding windows because the sash closes by pressing against the frame.
Choosing Windows with the Right SHGC Rating
Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) is the fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window, door, or skylight -- either transmitted directly and/or absorbed and subsequently released as heat inside a home. This is measured with SHGC ratings between 0 and 1. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat it transmits and the greater its shading ability.
Professional Window Installation is Essential for Energy Savings
Even the most energy-efficient windows won’t keep the home cool if they’re improperly installed. Incorrect installation leads to a myriad of problems, with one of the most notable issues leading to energy loss.
Energy loss occurs in this situation due to air escaping through areas such as the sash, the frames, and where the sash meets the sill. Locking the window can help create an airtight seal, but even the smallest mismeasurement can result in a home that feels hot even when the air conditioning is running.
Before you choose to install replacement windows with energy savings in mind, be sure that you hire a professional window installation company. It might cost a little more upfront, but your savings will be greater in the long run. And when you use a TrustDALE certified professional, you're always protected by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right Guarantee.