When the winter winds whistle around your home it is easy to think about energy-saving windows. During a steamy Madison WI summer energy-efficiency is just as important. Unfortunately, it is not as obvious. Studies show windows impact as much as 30% of your home’s annual heating and cooling costs. Heat lost in winter and gained in summer translates to dollars spent. The older the house, the higher the impact of heat exchanged through windows is on your energy bills. Modern, high-efficiency replacement windows not only lower energy bills, they provide added comfort all year around.
Older windows may look to be in excellent condition. Looks are deceiving. No matter how well maintained, old windows do not match up to the technology of today’s energy-saving windows.
Take a closer look at older windows. Inspect them for:
- Air-tight seals – to prevent air leaks, windows must seal tight at both top and bottom. And when they lock the mechanism should pull both parts together firmly.
- Weather-stripping – almost all windows have some kind of weather-stripping around the edges (or should have). Double-hung windows have it between the two parts, too. Worn or missing weather-stripping allows air to leak in and out.
- Caulk – caulking seals out both air and water. Older windows need caulking after years of expansion and contraction during changing seasons cause cracks around frames. Check for open cracks, gaps or missing sections of caulk.
Each of these elements relates directly to the installation process as well. Another reason proper installation is so critical.
If your inspection turns up any deficits, consider all your windows are probably the same age. Therefore, if one has a problem the others are prime candidates, too.
Measure The Value Of Energy-saving Windows
Windows come with an assortment of labels. What does it all mean? Is there a way to quickly determine how a new window will impact your energy bills?
The most common reference is an Energy Star® rating. Salespeople like to point it out. But, what does it mean?
Energy Star is a government-sponsored symbol of energy efficiency. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates evaluations and determines what it takes to get an Energy Star rating. Energy Star certified products are estimated to save American households and businesses more than $450 Billion annually.
To obtain top ratings, windows are tested for:
- Air Leaks (AL) – the rate air passes through window joints. Measured in cubic feet of air going through one square foot of window area per minute. The lower the AL value, the less air is leaking. Most of today’s building codes have a maximum allowable level.
- Condensation Resistance– water on window frames leads to mold, mildew and rot. Condensation resistance is scored on a scale of 0 to 100 – the higher the number the better a window resists condensation.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)– measures the amount of solar energy transferred from outside in and tells how well a window blocks the heat from sunlight. Recorded on a scale of 0 to 1. Common window values range from .25 to .80 – the lower the number the less solar heat enters through the glass.
- U-Factor– measures the rate of heat transferred and tells how well a window insulates. U-Factor values range from .025 to 1.25. The lower the U-Factor the better a window insulates.
- Visible Transmittance (VT) – measures the amount of light passing through a window. Also measured on a scale of 0 to 1, the higher the VT, the more light entering through the window.
Technology Boosts Lifestyle
You don’t have to sacrifice style and design to accommodate the latest technology. The latest windows are engineered to incorporate all the advances in energy saving with popular architectural styles. Energy-saving windows meet all the requirements for a wise investment. Not only are they environmentally-friendly, they contribute:
- Style and performance – open up your home with larger, design-friendly windows. Change the appearance of your home inside and out. Lifestyle influences the windows you choose and the windows you choose impact your lifestyle. There are so many shapes, sizes and configurations from which to choose – double-hung, casement, bay or bow expansions, etc.
- Let there be light – high-tech windows enhance your life beyond saving money. Natural light is a valuable commodity in today’s lifestyle. New energy-saving windows create an all-new curb appeal and open up vistas so you can appreciate your surroundings.
Installation Pros Vital To Energy-saving Windows
Not all window installations are equal. High-tech windows get top performance when installed by trained, experienced professionals. Not only do pros do it right the first time, certified window installation teams stand behind their workmanship. A replacement window is only as good as its installation. Sims fields skilled, experienced and factory-trained installation teams.
Call Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us for the latest window styles and high-quality energy-saving windows for your Madison WI home.