Homeowners want to improve their homes for a number of reasons. Some might have fallen in love with an old house and want to update its look and feel without affecting its character, while others may want to modify the home they just bought to make it more modern and efficient. In general, people who buy homes look to save money over the years by increasing the home’s overall energy efficiency. This usually comes down to making their home more sustainable and energy-efficient, and conservation, to an extent, involves the purchase and installation of replacement windows.
If you’ve been scouring the internet lately, you’ve probably discovered all sorts of fun and interesting facts about energy efficiency as it relates to replacing older windows with new ones. Here are 10 more fascinating facts about replacement windows and energy efficiency you might like to know:
ENERGY LEAKAGE: A huge percentage of your heat and air conditioning is lost through drafty windows, which is why you should consider installing newer, energy-efficient units.
1. Up to 25% of your overall heat loss is through inefficient windows. Yup, you read it right. Old, damaged windows have cracks and gaps that allow energy to escape from your home. Over time, weatherstripping and seals may be damaged due to their constant exposure to the elements. This can result in an uncomfortable interior atmosphere, especially during the cold months. Aside from energy leaking out of your home, drafts and moisture can enter through old windows, adding to your level of discomfort. Take the time to look for the right replacement windows that can suit your home’s needs, so you can maintain a cozy living environment for your family.
2. You can save up to $465 a year when you install ENERGY STAR®-qualified windows. If you’re still putting up with your old, single-pane windows, it’s high time you update. Today, double- and triple-pane windows are a standard in boosting energy efficiency. Because they are made up of multiple layers of glass, they make it more difficult for energy to escape from your interior and for drafts to seep in through your windows. As a result, you don’t have to overwork your heating and cooling systems to maintain a comfortable atmosphere inside your home. According to studies, by replacing your single-pane windows with double- or triple-pane windows that are recognized by ENERGY STAR, you can save between $126 to $465 a year on your utility costs.
COMPOSITE FRAMES: Composite frames, such as Fibrex®, are ideal choices because they offer maximum durability, resilience, and versatility in design.
3. The frame plays an important role in a window’s insulation. As it surrounds the entire structure of your windows, the frame contributes a lot to their energy efficiency and level of insulation. Cracks, rots, and gaps occur mostly on the frames, so you should be careful in choosing the type of material for this particular window feature. Some of the most popular types are vinyl, wood, aluminum and fiberglass, thanks to their natural strength and low-maintenance properties. For a material that combines the advantages of these options, however, without their respective drawbacks, we recommend choosing a composite frame, such as Fibrex®. This material is made from reclaimed wood fiber and PVC polymer, allowing it to enhance their durability and insulation values.
4. Low-E coating is one of the most advanced window features today. With a myriad of technological advancements available for windows today, more and more homeowners are able to save on their annual energy costs significantly. For instance, the advent of Low-Emissivity (Low-E) glass coating has paved the way to more energy-efficient homes across the country. By reducing your windows’ heat emittance, this component helps you enjoy greater insulating properties for your home. There’s more to Low-E coatings than meets the eye, though. With their innovative surface, they can help minimize the effects of UV rays on your furniture, carpeting, and other valuable items. They can also regulate the amount of light that passes through your windows to avoid too much brightness and other light-related issues.
ENERGY RATINGS: the NFRC uses a specific set of energy performance ratings to determine the energy efficiency of windows and doors.
5. You can determine the energy efficiency of your windows through a set of energy performance ratings. Certified energy-efficient windows contain the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) label. To gain this label, windows need to meet and pass certain requirements and measurements:
- U-Factor – It gauges the ability of your windows to prevent energy from leaking out. The lower the score, the better insulator your windows are.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient – This measures how good your windows are at blocking outside heat. As with the U-Factor, lower scores indicate better performance.
- Visible Transmittance – This determines the amount of light that can pass through your windows. Units with higher visible transmittance scores allow more light in than other options.
- Air Leakage – This indicates how much air can enter your home through your windows. The lower the scores, the more airtight your windows are.
6. Energy-efficient windows can minimize, if not eliminate, condensation problems. Many old windows suffer from excessive condensation. This occurs when warm, moist air from inside your home meets the cold surface of your windows. Frozen condensation, which is rampant during winter, can lead to very cold surfaces that make your home feel colder, therefore requiring you to use more heat to maintain a comfortable atmosphere. Installing double-glazed windows can help minimize condensation because their gas fillings and other efficient components help prevent the excess cold from penetrating the glass surface.
7. Installing energy-efficient windows can help you recoup as much as 73% of the project cost in added home value. Window replacement, especially if you’re investing in an efficient unit, is one of the best home upgrades in terms of investment returns. In fact, according to the “2017 Cost vs. Value” report by Remodeling Magazine, homeowners can recover as much as 73% of the total job cost over time when they tackle this project.
MORE THAN JUST FRAMES AND GLASS: Energy-efficient windows are made up of different innovative components, such as gas fills, warm edge spacers, and Low-E coating to help boost insulation.
8. Aside from the glass and frame, there are other features that can help boost a window’s energy efficiency. For example, argon, krypton, and other gases that fill the space between window panes add extra efficiency to your units. Since they are thicker in consistency than ordinary air, they can provide excellent levels of insulation to your windows. Warm edge spacers are also vital in improving your windows’ energy efficiency. Strong and reliable, they help insulate pane edges, conduct notably less heat, and keep elements out. They also help maintain the right distance between your panes to prevent excessive heat absorption.
9. Proper installation is key to making the most of your energy-efficient windows. Of course, even if you purchase the most energy-efficient windows on the market, they won’t count for anything if they’re poorly installed. To make the most of your investment, you need to work with a professional window contractor. They have the experience, knowledge, and tools, to ensure the success of your project.
10. You don’t need to sacrifice style when you install energy-efficient windows. Some homeowners think that energy-efficient windows can dampen their home’s curb appeal. That’s not true. Modern technologies have allowed energy-saving units to come in an impressive selection of styles, colors, and sizes, giving you plenty of design options. That way, it’s easier for homeowners to find new windows that can complement their existing decor.
For those of you who wish to save on monthly energy costs, consider investing in energy-efficient replacement windows. They can provide your home with reduced solar heat gain, better comfort, minimized energy and air leakage, as well as reduced window condensation. If you’re not sure how and where to start with this project, don’t worry. You can always talk with an experienced window contractor about the ideal options for your home.
Kraig Mackett is the General Manager of Renewal by Andersen® of Northwest Ohio, the exclusive certified source for energy-efficient Renewal by Andersen replacement windows and Andersen patio doors in the region. His company offers beautiful and high-performance door and window replacement for homes in the Toledo, Ohio area.