Window replacements and repairs, depending the specific need can be costly if you don’t get help from a trusted and reputable window dealer. And, thanks to great marketing by home improvement companies, it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest window frames and panes possible. However, deciding on a home improvement company can end up incurring further costs down the line thanks to the abysmal energy efficiency ratings their windows may offer.
Conversely, selecting the best energy efficient windows on the market will pay off in the long run. In fact, there are a host of benefits to taking this route instead.
So, how do you go about choosing them though? How do you decide which one to buy?
We want to help!
Read on for everything there is to know about choosing the best energy efficient windows.
Benefits of More Efficient Windows
Let’s begin by considering why it can (literally) pay to install energy-efficient windows in your home.
After all, as we mentioned in the intro, there are cheaper options on the market.
You should hesitate before opting for these windows though. It’s a buying mistake that can end up biting in the long run. The benefits of getting the best energy efficient windows possible can far outweigh the initial cost.
Here are some of the main ones:
1. Better Insulation from the Elements
Windows play a major role in the temperature regulation of your home.
For instance, the process of heat loss and gain via windows accounts for 25-30% of residential energy usage. More than one-quarter of your entire household’s energy goes on regulating the temperature lost or gained via the windows!
When it’s cold outside, heat from inside the house is lost. On a hot and sunny day, the temperature inside rises too. That’s all totally normal.
However, low-quality windows exacerbate these effects. Your HVAC system has to work exponentially harder to regulate the temperature accordingly. That amounts to greater energy usage. The opposite is true for higher energy efficient windows.
2. Save Money
What happens when you use more energy to regulate the temperature?
Utility bills increase accordingly.
That’s why lower-quality windows can be a financial burden over time. Conversely, paying more for energy efficient options can reduce your energy bills considerably. They may end up repaying the difference in initial installment costs as a result.
3. Raise House Value
Windows are well known to play a positive role in the resale value of your house.
Paying to replace your old and inefficient windows can be a worthy investment at any time. Indeed, you can expect to recoup at least 70% of the initial expense at resale.
This is a major incentive to opt for more energy efficient options. Sure, you fork out more at the outset. But you do so safely in the knowledge that you’ll get the majority of the money back later.
In the meantime, you enjoy better thermal regulation and lower energy bills.
4. Reduce HVAC Costs
We’ve just noted how poor energy efficiency amounts to additional HVAC reliance.
In the hot summer months, it works hard to cool your property down. In the cold winter months, it works hard to heat it up. Greater energy efficiency reduces that need.
However, the benefits go one step further. HVAC units are never cheap. The larger machines are particularly expensive. With less need for a larger unit, you can manage with a smaller, cheaper system in place. This amounts to additional cost reductions!
5. Fewer UV Rays
Everyone enjoys natural light coming through the windows.
It creates a sense of space and freshness. It also reduces the need for unnatural light that costs money on electricity bills!
Unfortunately, all that sunlight also has a habit of fading your upholstery. The ultraviolet rays come through the windows and fade your carpets, sofas, curtains, and walls. Over time the effect can look bad enough to persuade you to buy new goods.
Higher energy efficient windows can offer better protection from UV rays. You’ll welcome reduced levels of fading, with the same levels of light.
6. Environmental Benefits
It’s also worth noting the environmental benefits of greater energy efficiency.
We’re living in an era where green considerations are increasingly important. We could all do with cutting our carbon footprint.
Low-quality windows have the opposite effect! As we’ve seen, their poor thermal regulation leads directly to additional energy usage. That’s bad news for the environment (and your wallet).
Of course, the opposite is true of higher-quality windows. For the environmentally-conscious home-owner, there’s only one winner in terms of window selection. The higher the energy efficiency, the better.
How to Choose the Best Energy Efficient Windows
With the advantages covered, let’s turn to the process of choosing energy efficient windows.
Unfortunately, not all of them are made equal! The different options will provide varying levels of benefit. Here’s what to look for, and how to go about selecting, the best windows possible.
1. The Energy Ratings
The first thing to look out for is the actual energy rating given to a window.
To begin, check to see if there’s an energy star label attached. This is the first sign that this window passes particular efficiency standards. One step up is the energy star most efficient designation. These windows will offer an exponential increase in energy savings.
However, these stickers only tell you so much.
The next step is to look for the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) energy performance window label. This independent body rates products in specific energy-related performance categories. Get yourself up to speed with how to interpret the figures on these labels. We proudly offer Energy Star® NFRC windows by ProVia.
You can learn more about the different window metrics here.
2. Decide the Best Frame
The actual pane of glass is only one half of the energy problem.
Frames play an important role too.
There is all manner of frame materials available to choose from. The type that’s right for you will be a balance between aesthetic appeal, price, and energy efficiency.
Take wood, for example.
Wooden frames are lauded as the best insulators. This eco-friendly option protects against excessive heat transfer, which is exactly what you want. That said, they can also be damaged by the weather over time. Rot and mildew are common. It’s crucial to keep them well-maintained.
They’re also more expensive to manufacture and install than vinyl or aluminum frames. However, wood is attractive to buyers; they may add resale value to your home.
As you can see, choosing the best frame isn’t always straight forward. A host of individual factors will come into play. What’s best for one person won’t be for others.
In terms of natural energy-efficiency alone, wood is best. Vinyl windows are arguably second. Aluminum is most durable but struggles to hold the heat without additional insulating steps.
3. Number of Panes
Single panes of glass no longer cut it in terms of efficiency.
They were the industry standard for years. These days, though, you want double glazing as a minimum if you’re serious about saving energy. Triple pane glass is becoming increasingly common too. More glass panes equal greater efficiency.
However, expect an accompanying increase in cost too. Colder areas, in particular, need more panes.
4. Look for Coatings & Gas Injections
An extra level of insulation can be added with a clever transparent coating.
Known as coated glass, these low-emissive layers provide invaluable (and invisible) extra insulation. They help to prevent heat transfer. Nicely, they also block the UV rays that we talked about earlier. This amounts to less damage to your upholstery and furnishings.
Additional insulating effects are felt thanks to gas injected glass. Triple-pane glazed units from ProVia offer the ultimate energy savings as they are high performance. This brilliant design is low-E coated and increased UV protection applied to two surfaces of glass. Both insulating chambers are filled with Krypton gas. It’s another non-toxic, invisible means of reducing heat loss.
5. Speak With an Expert
You might also want to speak with a window replacement expert, such as STL Windows and Doors.
This is undoubtedly the easiest way to ensure you’re getting the most efficient windows possible.
After all, it’s our job to understand all the terminology, technology, and nuances of quality windows. We will be able to recommend the best windows for the job.
Indeed, not all houses have the same requirements. Factors such as age can play a role in the best window replacement options. You may have neither the time nor inclination to try and understand everything about it. We’re a Platinum ProVia Dealer, and can help you make the best decisions for your home.
The most efficient panes and frames in the world won’t function properly if they’re fitted incorrectly. But have peace knowing we offer a stellar reputation and guarantee the installation.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: everything you need to know about choosing the best energy efficient windows for your home.
Windows cost significant sums of money to replace. It’s possible to save money upfront by choosing lower-quality panes and frames. However, as we’ve seen, the better alternative is to choose costlier energy efficient windows.
Hopefully, this post has highlighted why that’s the case, and what to look for when you’re (literally) window shopping.
Are you looking for new windows for your home? We offer free, no obligation in-home estrimates!