The materials and technology involved with energy-efficient windows can be confusing for consumers. When considering this type of home improvement project, learn about options to help you make an informed decision.
Learning About Glass
Instead of old-fashioned single panes, current technology involves either double- or triple-pane products. Between each layer, manufacturers will add a special gas that boosts energy efficiency. Generally, triple panes offer more efficiency than double panes; however, this option does carry a higher price tag.
Glass can also have a coating on it that will allow sunlight to enter a home without solar heat entering with it. This glazing can reduce cooling costs during the summer.
Windows offer a number of different frame options.
- Wood is a common choice, typically because it does not conduct temperature changes as freely as metals do. Wood frames offer insulation against temperatures; however, homeowners will need to maintain these frames regularly with fresh paint or stain. Wood frames are typically higher in price than other options.
- Aluminum frames will allow some temperature transfer through the panes of glass and around the windows. Consumers can appreciate added features of aluminum such as strength, low price, and low maintenance if energy efficiency is not an important issue.
- Vinyl materials are budget-friendly and energy efficient. This frame material will prevent leaks. Some homeowners do not like the appearance.
The window design chosen can be an important factor for overall energy efficiency. Double-hung designs are common in many homes. This configuration involves glass panes sliding up from the bottom and down from the top. While this design can be efficient, some infiltration occurs with movement of the panes.
Casement designs involve the glass swinging open and closed on hinges. While this design involves maintenance of the parts, it is possible to seal the panes tightly.
The right windows will help improve overall comfort levels, as well as reduce energy consumption and costs.