Window Insulation

Insulation works by trapping air or other gases. This is why your puffy, down jacket keeps you warmer than your windbreaker. Both stop the drafts, but that windbreaker lets your bodyheat radiate away from you. The question is: Why would you allow your home to have the equivalent of windbreakers for windows? Let's examine the role of energy efficient windows.

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How Energy Efficient Windows Create Savings

Doors and windows are major culprits in your home's energy losses year-round. Installing weather stripping around doors and windows is a good start--like wearing a scarf with your windbreaker. But if your energy bills seem unreasonably high, more serious insulation may be needed. New doors and windows can save energy and add to your home's curb appeal.

Moisture Invasion Costs In Several Ways

If water leaks through window frames, or condensation forms, your windows are not airtight. Moisture also creates mold that may negatively impact your health while rotting away window frames and walls. To add insult to injury, condensation obscures the view from your windows.

What to Look for in a New Window

ENERGY STAR-rated windows are energy efficient windows that come in dozens of combinations of frame materials, sealed panes, and coatings..

  • Frame materials: Conductivity of window frame materials from lowest to highest is: fiberglass, insulated vinyl, clad wood, wood, and aluminum. Yet aluminum, which is very strong, can be be ENERGY STAR-rated if it's insulated and has a thermal break material between pane and frame.
  • Window panes: Air sealed between panes works well in mild climates. Inert gases are heavier than air and insulate better. Triple-pane fiberglass windows with inert gas are the ultimate in energy efficient windows.
  • Coatings: Microscopically thin metallic coatings inside sealed panes enhance the low emittance (Low-E) of energy. There are also coatings for impact and sound reduction.

The U.S. Department of Energy's ENERGY STAR website has a wealth of information for every climate and region. Perhaps it's time to start enjoying monthly savings with new windows. And don't forget your doors, where the same principles apply.

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