Are You Insulated? Windows and What to Look For

December 14, 2009

Imagine that it's the dead of winter and you have old, drafty, single-pane windows. So that you don't freeze, it's a good idea to cover them with plastic. Hanging heavy curtains--blankets even--is another good idea. You'll want to tape over any potentially drafty seam, too. Hey, wait, couldn't you see out this window before? Sure, it's insulated, but it's missing the point of windows.

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A good, insulated window lets you stand inches from the worst storms comfortably--no plastic sheets to squint through, no seams to tape, curtains thrown wildly apart to let in the view, no matter how hellacious the weather. Insulated windows are also energy saving windows, which adds an extra perk to the stellar view.

When Window Shopping: Insulated Windows and Energy Saving

There are a few things to remember when you go out to shop for new windows. Apart from how they might match your home, look for the following:

  • Multiple Panes: Insulated windows have several panes of glass seperated by dead air space--or an inert gas. This is how these windows prevent the conduction of heat through the glass. This energy-saving trick produces double- or triple-pane windows that aren't cold (or hot) to the touch inside no matter what's going on outside
  • Multiple Chambers: The window frame is just as important for insulated windows. Unless you're going for wood windows, you should consider multi-chambered frames. The chambers in the frame create dead air space just like a double- or triple-paned window. Wood insulates remarkably well without the use of multiple chambers, as long as it's thick enough and well maintained
  • Warm Edges: It's always the edges that get you. Right where glass meets frame, things can't be separated by dead air space--they need to connect; they need to seal out drafts. This allows for conductance. Different companies have different ways of getting around this, but most insulated windows use warm-edge technology somehow--and it's the way to go

The best windows, when closed, only let in the view. Opt for energy saving, insulated windows. When it's twenty below zero--or twenty over one hundred--outside and you don't mind sitting next to the window, the benefits are as clear as the view.

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