Know your orientation; lower your window replacement cost

November 18, 2011

Did you know that the following factors can have a direct effect on your monthly heating and cooling costs?

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  1. The way your house is oriented on your property
  2. the amount of available shade and
  3. the type of replacement windows you choose.

Use this knowledge to make your home more energy efficient, and you may even be able to lower your window replacement cost.

How sunlight can affect your window replacement cost

Depending on what part of the country you live in, sunlight pouring through your windows can be a welcome sight or a situation to avoid at all costs. Window manufacturers have spent a lot of time and money developing window coatings to help prevent southern homeowners from getting cooked by radiant heat from the sun, but that same heat can feel pretty good to a family in Michigan on a cold winter morning when outside temperatures are in the teens and the furnace is burning through fuel.

  • Colder regions: Use replacement windows with higher Solar Heat Gain Coefficient measurements and lower U-factor numbers in rooms with southern exposure. This allows radiant heat to enter and keeps it inside. Windows with northern exposure should have the lowest U-factor number possible to prevent heat loss, but the SHGC rating isn't as important as the home shouldn't get much direct sunlight in those areas. Replacement windows facing the east and west should have low measurements in both categories, and care should be taken that the SHGC rating for west facing windows is as low as possible.
  • Warmer regions: Cooling costs can be a concern in southern states, so make sure all windows facing south, east, and west have a very low SHGC measurement. This isn't as critical when windows have a northern exposure as they usually don't receive direct sunlight. All replacement windows in a southern home should have low U-factor numbers to help contain your air-conditioning.

If you're planning a window upgrade for your home, the U.S. Department of Energy has recommendations on how proper window placement can actually help lower your heating and cooling bills; following their guidelines may even help lower your window replacement cost. You don't have to move your house or change the location of your windows--all you have to do is choose the proper window style for each opening.

Lower your replacement window cost by not paying for low U-factor and SHGC measurements in openings where they're not needed, and don't worry about your windows not matching--most energy-efficient factors used to determine ratings affect the glass and shouldn't change the overall appearance of the windows.

Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I., and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time. He spends his time writing, remodeling his old farmhouse, and in animal rescue.

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