Wondering how to keep your home nice and warm this winter season without causing your monthly energy bills to spike? It is a common concern for many homeowners, especially during this time of the year when we need our HVAC system to function properly to keep our interiors comfortable and cozy. Both the heat gain and heat loss that occur via our windows equate to around 25-30 percent of the heating and cooling energy use in residential homes. So, when it comes to keeping your home as energy efficient as possible, your windows play a major role.
Read on to learn more about how your current windows could be the problem and how new windows can lower your energy bills.
New Windows Can Prevent Heat Loss
Many homeowners don’t realize just how big of a role their windows play in energy loss and regulating temperature. Both windows and entry doors account for up to 25 percent of heat loss in some cases. So, when your home is struggling to maintain a consistent temperature, it is usually a sign that there are air leaks somewhere in your home. If you have old and weathered windows that are more than 30 years old, heat can easily escape outside through the glass, cracks, warped frames or any other weathered and damaged areas. Plus, older windows that were manufactured years ago don’t have the advanced technology, materials, and insulating properties to create an airtight seal for your home.
That is why upgrading your windows is always an important and worthy investment to make. ENERGY STAR® certified windows are energy efficient and can keep your home sealed up adequately to retain the temperature you desire during any time of the year. Here are a few more ways that newer, advanced windows help you save energy.
Designed to Reduce UV Rays
New windows today are generally manufactured using a Low-E coating, which is a thin, metallic coating. The “Low-E” represents low emissivity, which refers to how effectively the window can reflect heat instead of absorbing it. In essence, the glass prevents your interior from being impacted by the sunshine.
The type of window glazing plays a significant role in the window’s U-factor or insulating properties. When we talk about glazing, we are referring to the type of glass – single, double or triple-pane – that’s used. Older windows in the past were typically designed as single-pane, which is why they are much more susceptible to temperature fluctuations. The more layers of glazing, the better your home will be insulated from what’s happening outside. This is why double and triple-paned glazing are frequently used today. They offer a superior shield for the glass and your home energy use.
Slow Heat Transfer with Gas-Filled Chambers
The chambers between the glass are also filled with Argon or Krypton gas nowadays. Aside from buffering out air leaks, these also help to reduce the intense glare and UV rays from the sun. Why does this matter? Aside from heating up your home, UV rays can also cause fading to artwork, rugs, furniture, and flooring. New windows prevent this from happening.
Protection Against the Winter Chill
If your windows are more than 30 years old, chances are they are not too comfortable to sit next to. Drafty windows that let cold air penetrate through will not only cool down the interior of your home, but it can also pull heat away from your body, causing you to feel that deep, winter chill even when inside. This is when many of us crank up the thermostat and throw on another layer. But as Canadians, we know how much it can add up when we are forced to blast the heat for several months during the year. Having ENERGY STAR® windows lets you curl up as close to the window as you wish so you can enjoy the view without having to blast the heat and use more energy.
Stay Cool in the Summer
No one wants to feel overheated and uncomfortable while at home. But our extreme seasons here in Canada can make that a reality every year, even in summer. During our intense heat waves, your old windows can attract approximately 75 percent of solar heat inside. Since ENERGY STAR® windows are designed to deflect that heat gain, you can enjoy the natural sunlight while staying cool throughout the summer.
Tips for Purchasing New Windows
When you are gearing up to replace your windows, remember some of these tips:
- Look for the ENERGY STAR® label to get the best energy efficiency rating for your home
- Make sure the windows are gas-filled for colder climates and have Low-E coating
- Generally speaking, for enhanced thermal resistance to maximize energy savings year-round, select windows with a low U-factor and low Solar Heat Gain (SHGCs). This, however, depends on your circumstances. For those with larger windows and increased sun exposure, values under 0.25 are recommended. On the other hand, those with smaller windows or overhangs who require more sun to warm up in the winter, a value above 0.4 is suggested.
- Talk to a window expert to get their advice on the best design and materials for your home and climate.