How To Pick The Best New Windows For Your Climate
Many things have changed over the last several decades, and the improvement of window manufacturing is certainly worthy of note. No longer do windows differ only by appearance. In fact, your monthly energy bills could improve significantly, depending on which windows you buy for your home. This guide will help you select the windows that are best suited for your home and the climate it's situated in.
Understanding Efficiency Ratings
When shopping, you'll find several specifications and ratings clearly displayed on the product labels of any window you look at. Every window manufacturer aims to minimize the transfer of heat through the glass and frame of their products. There are two metrics that measure a window's energy efficiency.
- The U-Factor measures a window's heat exchange from all heat sources excluding the sun. The lower the rating, the better it shields against heat exchange.
- The solar heat gain coefficient, or SHGC, is the measure of heat from the sun transferred through the window. Like the U-factor, the lower the rating, the less heat transferred through the window.
Accounting for Temperature
- For Hotter Climates--The lower the U-factor and SHGC ratings, the more comfortable your home will be and the less you'll have to run the air conditioning.
- For Colder Climates--As with hotter climates, it's also important for homes in cooler climates to have windows with a low U-factor rating. However, choosing windows with a higher SHGC rating will actually help to warm the house on winter days when the sun is shining.
Window Features and Upgrades
- Panes--It's common for windows to have two, or even three, panes built into the frame. If you're concerned about noisy neighbors, choose a window whose panes are of unequal thickness. This will help to keep unwanted noise outside.
- Tint--Visible transmittance, or VT, is the measure of light allowed through the window. The lower the rating, the more light allowed through the window. Any tint can reduce the amount of light coming through the window, but some tints may be able to help protect against extreme heat during hot summers.
It is important to understand that the efficiency of your windows can make a noticeable difference in your comfort level and the amount you pay in utilities. However, even if the windows are well-rated in certain metrics that doesn't mean they are ideally suited for every home. With what you've learned today, you'll be able to pick windows that help maximize the energy-efficiency of your home.
To learn more, contact a window company like Simpson Windows and Doors.