With today’s technology, manufacturers of impact windows have come up with innovative ways to make new windows more energy efficient without sacrificing style, so if you are in the market for replacement windows you will find that today they are quieter and more attractive which will make your home more comfortable. So how does one find out what the efficiency ratings on new windows mean? Here are a few things to consider:
- Ease of Replacement
- Wind Resistance
- Resistance to Rain
Did you know that if you have drafty old windows that they are responsible for ten to twenty five percent of your total annual cooling and heating costs? According to the DOE or U.S. Department Of Energy this is exactly what happens. And according to the A.A.M.A. Or The American Architectural Manufacturers Association new windows will cost homeowners anywhere from $7000 to $20,000, so if you are currently in the market to buy impact resistant windows you can expect to pay about 15% of the cost described above.
What will determine the level of energy efficiency in new windows is based on the use of and the amount of low e-coating, inert-gas insulation and multiple glazing. When you see a U-Factor symbol on new windows, this will tell you about the ability of the glass to conduct heat or thermal energy. There is also the R-Value which is the reverse of the U-Factor, which tells you about the insulation ability of the glass. So when it comes to buying replacement windows you should look for a lower U-Factor rating and a higher R-Value rating, this will give you the best energy efficient windows.
These ratings will indicate how replacement windows will keep your home cooler in the summer months and warmer in the winter months. When you see windows that have an R-value of 2 or 3, then you will know that you are buying a top quality, energy efficient window, which is similar to a wall without insulation. Another important window energy rating that should be considered is the SHGC or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. This will tell you exactly what amount of sunlight that will enter your home, once the rays hit the windows of your house. If you live in cold climates then you should get windows with high SHGC and if you live in warmer climates than getting a window with an SHGC of .40 or less would be ideal. There is also VT or Visible Transmittance which indicates the amount of visible light that will be let in by any given window. The higher the better.
According to the AAMA, wood frames account for about 50 percent of the market and the rest is comprised of vinyl and fiberglass. Here is a list of some of the most common types of windows:
- Hooper-style windows – these are usually found at the top of another window or above the doors
- Vinyl windows – inexpensive and maintenance free
- Casement style – easy to clean
- Awning style – this will give you better ventilation and deflects rain
- Fixed windows – ideal for areas that don’t need any ventilation, but need a lot of lighting
- Fiberglass frame and wooden frames – great for keeping out cold air and rain
In the past you used to find single glazed windows, however, they have been phased out because of their inability to properly insulate homes in the winters and summer months. Some of the more popular features today includes triple glazing, double glazing, gas filled window panes, which include, argon, krypton or other inert gases for the purpose of cladding and insulation. There is also Low-E coating which keeps out the sun’s heat during the summer and reflects back the heat into your house in the winter months.
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