Sure, “Jack Frost nipping at your nose” is fun in theory (and to sing by a roaring fire), but nobody likes feeling a cold draft when they’re indoors. Especially if that cold draft is caused by plummeting temperatures or wind sneaking inside a house from old or improperly-installed windows.
Windows lose heat from direct contact with the cold on the glass or glazing, the frame, and air leakage through and around them.
Newer windows have new functionalities and features that are more energy efficient and durable than older options. They will not only keep heat in and cold out during cold months, but keep cool air in and hot air out during warm months. New windows will also make your home quieter, as those cracks and crevices where blustery winds would normally flow through will be filled.
Installing new windows can be pricey, but doing so can save you big in the long run by not having your money and heat go (literally) out the window.
There are many things to consider when choosing new windows, so we’ve compiled a list to help you on your way.
The type of window frame materials you choose will have an impact on window energy efficiency. Each has its pluses and minuses, but fiberglass, wood, composite, and vinyl frames will prevent air leakage more than metal.
Aluminum and Metal Frames
Although these frames are sturdy and cost-effective, they tend to let heat escape at a quick rate. This makes metal a poor insulating material, and not great for energy efficiency.
Wood frames are aesthetically pleasing, and can be a stunning accent to a new window. They also insulate 400 times better than metal frames and 1,800 times better than aluminum, keeping out both cold air and sound. The main downside is that they require frequent maintenance, including paint or sealant, and to be checked for insects to prevent against deterioration. Wood frames can also be costly.
These frames are made up of a combination of products, such as engineered wood (like laminate), particleboard, and polymer plastics (like PVC). Composite frames are very stable and have similar heat-retaining properties as wood frames, but because of the combination of wood and plastic products, composite frames have better moisture and decay-prevention qualities.
Vinyl is the most common type of window frame replacement that you’ll find today. This product is durable and a great insulator. It’s also recyclable,making it an excellent environmentally-friendly choice. Vinyl window frames are also some of the most affordable frames out there, giving the most bang for your buck.
Compared to metal, wood, or vinyl, fiberglass frames are the most energy efficient. They are also capable of retaining the greatest amount of heat inside your home. Fiberglass frames have air cavities that can be filled with insulation. That, coupled with their herculean-like stability, gives them a leg up over the competition, providing superior performance and longevity.
Glaze or Glass Features
The treatment and type of windows you choose will affect the security, property value, and energy efficiency of your home.
Insulated or Double-Glazed Windows
Double glazing a window means using two panes of glass instead of one. There are many advantages to choosing windows that are insulated. They reduce the amount of heat escaping your home, soundproofs inside and prevents noise pollution from the outside. Double glazed windows are also harder to break and open from the outside, increasing the security of your house. Also, if you ever choose to sell your house, double-glazed windows increases property value. There are a couple downsides to insulated windows. First is the initial cost can be high. Second, if a window is ever cracked or broken, it can’t be repaired, but has to be replaced.
Low-emissivity (low-e) windows are windows coated in a special microscopic metal-oxide that reduces heat loss by 30 to 50 percent. It only costs about 10 to 15 percent more than regular windows.
Gas fills are essential to minimizing the transfer of heat between the inside and outside of your home. If you windows have a gas leak, air is more likely to be seeping through, as well. Window manufacturers most typically use argon or krypton gases to fill the air spaces between the glass panels. The two gases are odorless, non-toxic, and clear.
- Krypton is used when the space between the glass is about ¼-inch thick. Krypton has a better thermal rating the argon, but is more expensive.
- Argon is used when the space between the glass panes is about ½-inch thick. Since argon has a lower thermal rating, sometimes manufacturers mix it with krypton to increase the energy efficiency while still keeping the costs down.
Spacers are used to keep the panes of glass the correct distance apart while still allowing for expansion and adjustments to pressure, while also preventing moisture and gas leaks. There are many different types of spacers available, ranging in composition, performance, and temperature ratings. It’s best to consult a professional to discuss which type of spacer would be most beneficial for your home based.
At TruHome Inc., we understand that while efficient, quality windows can go a long way toward improving your home and life, they are also a big investment. That’s why our experienced window professionals will walk you through every step of the process to discuss the options best for you. From choosing a product that won’t make you feel like you’re throwing money out the window to installing your windows professionally and efficiently, our TruHome Inc. experienced window professionals will ensure all your window needs are met.
Contact us for your free, no-obligation replacement windows assessment and estimate with financing options available. TruHome Inc. is based in Monroe, WI and proudly provides services throughout the Tri-State area.