Homeownership can be costly, and many homeowners find themselves looking for more ways to cut back on their energy bills, while still retaining or even enhancing their comfort level. One aspect of home improvement that is frequently overlooked is how efficient their windows are, and if they should be replaced with newer and more energy-efficient replacement windows. Since windows play such a crucial role in the total energy consumption of a home, they can be seen as far more than a luxury and a smart, cost-effective decision that can save money long-term.
This post will investigate how investing in more energy-efficient windows now can not only lower your heating bills and overall energy costs but also contribute to a more sustainable and comfortable living environment. Whether you’re thinking about rehabbing an older property or considering options for building a new home, having a solid understanding of the energy impact that windows can have on a home can help drive more effective, informed decisions. Let’s get into it.
Windows are one of the primary channels of thermal exchange in the home, which means they are one of the biggest areas where heat is either gained or lost in a home. Traditional windows, particularly in older homes, are often a major source of energy inefficiency and can account for about a third of all energy needed to heat or cool a residence. This is because most windows are terrible at blocking energy transfer, which means in winter they allow heat to escape while letting the cold seep in, and in the summer they can allow heat to enter the home and put more strain on the AC unit.
Having a clear grasp of energy transfer through windows is important, and involves two key concepts, conduction and insulation. Conduction is the process whereby heat is transferred from one material to another, such as heat going from your warm home, to the frigid outdoors, by being conducted through the window pane.
There is a long list of benefits to installing energy-efficient windows, and they extend well beyond just saving some money on your heating bills. Of course, one of the biggest benefits will be that you’ll be able to see the drop in your home’s energy consumption, by limiting heat loss in the colder months and limiting cold air escape in warmer months. This is primarily due to the vastly improved insulative properties and the better sealing, which helps create a completely draft-free construction.
Additionally, energy-efficient windows help create a much more comfortable living area by helping to keep the temperature much more consistent inside the home. Better sealing prevents drafts and hot spots that are typically associated with older windows and allows homeowners to enjoy a comfortable, cozy environment inside no matter what the weather is like outside.
Another big benefit is the reduction in your home’s carbon footprint. By lowering your home’s energy consumption, you’re reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses generated to keep that home comfortable and healthy. On top of that, many energy-efficient windows come with extra features that make them an even better value. This includes things like UV protection, which helps protect your home’s interior from UV-related degradation, letting you enjoy natural light without yellowing and fading all of the fabrics and photos in the room.
If you’re thinking about having energy-efficient windows installed, once you start researching them you’ll find there are several different types of energy-efficient windows available, each one having a unique list of features and benefits that may or may not fit your needs as a homeowner.
One of the most popular choices is double-glazed windows. These are windows that, instead of having a single pane of glass installed, have a pane installed that consists of two pieces of glass sealed together with a gap between them that has the air removed and is typically filled with an inert gas like argon pumped between them. This type of window provides nearly unbeatable thermal insulation and some of the greatest efficiency in cold climates.
Low-emissivity or low-e windows are another window innovation that homeowners find helpful. These are windows where the glass has been treated with a microscopic coating that reflects infrared heat into the room, which helps retain warmth in the winter and helps keep heat out during the brutal summer months. Additionally, low-e windows can help cut UV penetration and help prevent damage to the interior of your home.
Ultimately, choosing the type of energy-efficient windows for your home will depend on factors like your climate, aesthetic preferences, and of course your home’s specific needs. No matter how you look at it though, upgrading to energy-efficient windows is a smart move.
Many people see the initial cost of energy-efficient windows as a significant investment, and they’re right. But it’s also important to consider the long-term financial benefits, and while the upfront cost can be intimidating, the savings on energy over the lifetime of the windows can be substantial.
Other costs may be harder to quantify but are still reduced. This includes expenses like maintenance and repair of the HVAC equipment in your home. While the windows are helping to reduce energy consumption, the HVAC won’t need to work as hard to keep up, lowering the cost of maintenance and repairs needed over the years.
Overall, most homeowners can expect to see a drop in energy bills by up to 15-20%, according to some estimates. This doesn’t take into account rebates or incentives many areas have for making green improvements to a home. With all this factored in, the windows have the potential to pay for themselves relatively quickly.
Energy-efficient windows are not only cost-effective but also low maintenance and durable. Made with high-quality materials designed to withstand various weather conditions, these windows have a longer lifespan than traditional ones. Regular cleaning and occasional check-ups are all that’s needed to ensure they remain effective and functional for years to come.
Investing in energy-efficient windows is a smart move for your HVAC equipment as well as your wallet. If you think you’re ready to explore some options for new energy-efficient windows, reach out to a local professional today, and speak to an expert about your needs.