Are Your Windows in Your Home Costing You Money?
Jan 06, 2017
Written by Ashley Leach

Windows are an essential part of your home. By allowing light to enter it keeps your home from feeling like a closed up box. However, in some older homes they often have windows that cost the owners money. This is due to the construction of the windows, materials used, installation methods, and how much the home has settled/ shifted over time.

Replacing windows is a long term investment, but if done properly it can pay for itself with electricity savings, since older windows are often one of the most common ways for heat to escape your home.1

Do you know all the types of window frames?

Wood frame windows are extremely popular. It insulates, acts as a sound barrier, is flexible and easy to work with, can be stained or painted, and is aesthetically pleasing. However, wood is also one of the higher priced types of materials. It requires annual maintenance, and can contract or expand depending on temperature. Making sure these kinds of windows have tight seals and checking them periodically is crucial. Otherwise you may end up with a draft.2

Vinyl is a more economical choice. It can include UV (ultraviolet) light stabilizers, is weather resistant and well insulated, can be shaped and colored, and requires barely any maintenance. However, some people don’t like the appearance of vinyl. Aluminum is another of the cheapest options, but its lack of insulating properties and makes it a poor choice if energy conservation is your goal.2

Fiberglass is one of the most popular choices next to wood, as it is resistant to weather changes, barely contracts or expands, and can mimic the appearance of wood without suffering from wood tendencies such as rot, swell, or warp. Fiberglass frames are also a good thermal insulator making them energy-efficient. It may be slightly more expensive than some types of wood, but fiberglass is becoming a favored choice for a long term option.2

Do you know all the types of window glass?

If a window frame is installed and sealed properly, the glass itself will help keep heat inside a home. When it comes to glass windows you have a couple of different options ensure that heat is not escaping from your home. Having tinted glass windows in your home is good for reflecting heat in the summer and is a very poor insulator for winter months. This is because the tinted windows are fragile and are known to shatter. Reflective glass has similar issues, and blocks the majority of light out as well.

Insulated glass can help you conserve energy with a double pane construction that includes an inert layer of gas between the inner and outer pane. The gas is a poor thermal conductor, which means heat doesn’t pass through easily. Most modern windows are double pane insulated glass.

Low Emissivity (Low-E) glass incudes a thin metallic coating that reduces heat transfer. This is good to have during the summer when solar heat coming in is a problem, and also can block light rays that damage paint, artwork, carpets, and furniture. In winter, the benefits of Low-E are not quite as impressive.2

Depending on the type of glass and frames that are currently occupying your window space, you could be losing a good amount of heat. If this is the case, replacing your windows may result in saving a significant amount on heating bills over the years.

 

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Ashley Leach

Ashley Leach is a freelance writer and digital content marketer with a background in journalism, digital reporting, and marketing for numerous industries. She's found her perfect fit at North American Power in writing about home maintenance and repairs, energy efficiency, and smart home technology.