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Energy Saving Tips for Your Windows

Want to Reduce Your Home’s Heating & Cooling Costs? Just Take a Look Out the Window

energy saving tips - drafty windowsWith the cost of heating and cooling your home or business steadily on the rise, energy efficient building features are becoming more and more commonplace. If you’re looking to reduce the cost of your energy bills, one great place to start is with your windows and sliding glass doors.

When it comes to improving your home’s energy efficiency by way of your windows, you have two main options. You can either fix or improve your existing windows, or replace your windows entirely.

Here are our best energy-saving tips when it comes to your windows.

Improving Your Existing Windows

Fix Drafts – A drafty window means there is some air seeping in and out of your window frame. This is likely due to cracked seals. Sometimes drafty windows can be fixed using caulking or weather stripping, but there is a time limit as to how long this solution will be viable. Drafty windows ultimately need replacing.

Add Interior Window Coverings to Reduce Heat Gain – There are specialized window treatments available that can help keep your house cool in the summer. Such draperies or curtains are thick, light-coloured, and have an inner liner that helps deflect sun from penetrating through the glass. Other window coverings for summer include blinds and roman shades.

Add Interior Window Treatments to Reduce Heat Loss – Insulating curtains are heavy-duty, thick, thermal-lined curtains that can trap and prevent drafts from fully entering your home, and prevent heat from escaping outdoors. Such curtains work best when they are a lot wider than the window and create a ruffled appearance – the drafts get trapped in the panel before entering the home. Other window coverings for winter include insulated cellular shades and window quilts.

Install Exterior Window Treatments – Exterior window treatments are mostly used during the summer to block out solar radiation. Using awnings in the summer on south and west-facing windows can help reduce solar heat gain by as much as 75 percent. Light-coloured awnings made of tightly woven materials that are lighter in color will work the best. Exterior shades, shutters, and solar window screens can also be an effective, attractive option.

Add Window Film – Window film is a thin, strong, sheet-like material (usually treated polyester laminate) that is applied (retrofitted) to either the interiors or exteriors of older windows. It is meant to improve a window’s appearance or performance while still allowing occupants to see out their windows. It is designed to block UV light from entering the building, and has insulating properties.

Some drawbacks of window films are that they can lead to a small loss of interior light, as well as extra care and attention will be required during the cleaning process. Some films also cause reflections. This material is best applied by a professional because it can be tricky to work with.

Try Plastic Sheeting – Plastic window sheeting is a common DIY way to quickly and temporarily insulate windows in the winter. Readily and cheaply available from your home hardware store, the material is cut to size then taped overtop of the window, from frame to frame to slow down any air leakage from your home.

The drawbacks associated with this method are the labour and amount of plastic waste involved year after year. Then there is the mess left behind by the tape, as well as moisture build up that can lead to mold and mildew problems.

Experiment with Rigid Foam Insulation – A somewhat more industrial-looking solution might be placing rigid foam insulation boards friction-fitted into windowsills to help control the climate indoors. Blue or pink Styrofoam insulation board is readily available from the hardware store. One potential drawback of this solution is having to do all the windows in the house, and not being able to see out of the windows anymore.

Replacing Your Existing Windows

The above solutions for existing windows are most suitable if your home’s windows are still in relatively good condition. However, improving a home’s energy efficiency is quickly becoming the number one reason why homeowners are upgrading their windows before their existing windows reach the end of their expected life span. That’s because today’s modern windows have more insulating properties and higher energy efficiency ratings than ever before. As an added bonus, BC Hydro offers rebates on window replacements.

Features of Today’s Energy Efficient Windows

Replacing your windows with today’s modern windows that have the following properties will go a long way towards reducing your heating and cooling costs.

  • Framing Material – Vinyl is durable as well as being one of the most energy efficient window framing materials available. It also reduces heat transfer, thereby providing better insulation for your home.
  • Low E Glass – These special coatings (low-emissivity) are added to the glass during the manufacturing process. They work by reducing the amount of infrared and ultraviolet rays coming into your home through your windows.
  • Double or Triple Panes – Single pane windows just don’t cut it anymore. Now it’s all about the double-pane (or sometimes even triple-pane) windows. These provide additional “layers” of glass to further insulate your home.
  • Gas Fills – Many energy efficient windows on the market today have argon, krypton, or other gases between the two or more panes. The gases are odorless, colorless, non-toxic, and insulate better than air.
  • Warm Edge Spacers – Holding the multiple panes the correct distance apart (so that enough gas is allowed in between to insulate) are things called spacers. These spacers are either made of steel, foam, fibreglass, or vinyl to further reduce heat flow and prevent condensation.

How to Choose the Right Energy Efficient Windows

As you can see, a lot goes into the design of an energy-efficiency window! A window and glass specialist can discuss your options with you, taking into consideration the climate of your local area, the orientation of your house, the size of your windows, and the condition of your building’s existing framework. Sometimes new windows can be added on top of existing frames, significantly reducing the installation time.

For the best energy savings possible, your new windows should be NAFS (North American Fenestration Standard) and Energy Star certified.

Read More: 5 Ways to Winterize Sliding Glass Doors

The glass specialists at Modern can help you drastically reduce the amount you’re spending on heating and cooling your home. Request a free quote or call us today at 1-866-934-2599 to talk about the benefits of installing our energy-efficient glass in your business or home.

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