New Energy Efficient Windows: one of the best steps in revitalizing your home
If you are trying to sell your home, or simply want to improve the appearance and update the cooling and heating efficiency, you will find there is no better place to start than with your windows. In the days when everyone used fireplaces or when heating oil was cheap, people didn’t worry much about insulating or about the heating and cooling energy that was lost through the old single pane windows.
Today, however, homeowners realize that in an otherwise well insulated home, having modern double or triple glazed windows both improves the looks and saves money on heating and cooling costs.
Regardless of whether you really need to improve your efficiency, you will probably shop on the basis of appearance first, and cost second. Windows are available in nearly any shape and size from curved plate glass bay windows to arched, etched, shaded, and even stained glass windows.
Regardless of the shape, you want to make sure that your windows fit tightly as a significant amount of airflow occurs if windows leak. In addition to airflow, windows cause energy loss through radiation, convection, and conduction. The best windows will reduce or eliminate all four areas of energy loss.
Radiation is the most common source of heat loss or gain and is the actual movement of heat through the glass. In the summer time, the heat of the sun is radiated in. In the winter, the heat from indoors is radiated out. The problem is corrected with coatings on the glass that cause the glass to reflect heat rather than radiate it.
Professionals tell us that about half of heat loss or gain is caused by air leaks around the windows. Frames with tight weather stripping and durable seals will hold the windows tightly in place, minimizing energy loss. Manufacturers advertise their products based on the air loss per cubic square foot of window. You want the lowest possible rating.
Do you feel cool air when you stand by your windows in the winter? If so, it is probably being caused by convection. Convection happens when warm air in your home is drawn toward the cooler window pain. The heat becomes denser as it cools and moves toward the floor; then warmer air from the room is drawn in to replace the cool air. This problem is solved by the installation of double or triple glazing that is gas filled along with heat resistant frames.
Conduction occurs when heat comes in contact with the window, then warms the air on the other side. This is the same effect as putting a pan on a hot stove. As the burner heats up, the pan also heats up along with its contents. Windows with two or more panes (called multi-glazed) have a non-conductive gas such as argon between the pains. Since the gasses are poor conductors of heat, more heat is kept inside in the winter and outside in the summer.
The price ranges for windows are almost as widely varied as the shapes; the cost is determined by the type of store you purchase them from and by whether you install them yourself or hire a professional. Use our friendly internet tools to obtain quotes. Also, check your neighborhood for local recommendations before you make a commitment.
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