Energy efficiency is one of the most talked about terms out there when it comes to finding a way to save money for home owners. Getting the most out of your home’s energy sources is a vital part of keeping your home warm or cool and keeping your family comfortable and safe. One of the most
effective ways to save energy in your home is with the help of energy efficient windows. Replacing
windows you currently have during a home remodel is an effective way to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Types of Energy Efficient Windows
There are several types of energy efficient windows that you can choose from to improve the energy consumption in your home. Take some time to figure out which of these is going to be the best option for your home, family and wallet.
Gas Fills – This type of energy efficient window uses inert gases such as argon or krypton, as a filler between the panes of the windows that have been treated with insulated glaze.
Insulated – Windows that are glazed and contain two or more panes of glass are insulated windows. These are hermetically sealed after being spaced apart. This leaves a layer or insulating air between the panes. This type of window helps to reduce the U-factor and the SHGC. The U-factor is the rate that the window conducts the heat from the sun. The SHGC is the amount of solar radiation that goes through the window, usually through absorption and re-admittance into the room.
Low E – Low E essentially means low-emissivity and is a coating that is applied as a glaze on windows. It helps to control the amount of heat that is transferred through the window. It is a nearly invisible, metal or metallic oxide layer that is put directly on the window pane surfaces. This lowers the U-factor and allows high solar gain, moderate solar gain or low solar gain based on the rating.
Spectrally Selective Coatings – These types of windows have a coating that is low-e and filters out 40-70% of the heat that can normally be found transmitted through a window. These are designed to reflect particular wavelengths of solar energy, while leaving others alone. Typically they are used to reflect infrared solar energy which is heat. They are useful in helping to allow bright light into the home while keeping out harmful rays that might bleach furniture and carpets, while keeping heat into the home and not allowing it to escape through the window.
Reflective Coatings – This type of coating on windows allows for the solar radiation to be reflected away from the room. They are usually thin, metallic layers that come with many color tints. These are a great option for homeowners in the hotter climates.
Energy Star Approved Windows
Many of the energy efficient windows that you can choose from for your window replacement are
Energy Star rated. Energy Star is a voluntary program that is a part of the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) to help both businesses and individuals protect the environment and save money all at the same time. Established in 1992, Energy Star provides ratings for everything from appliances to windows and doors. Talking to the window vendor or the installer will provide you with information on which windows are Energy Star rated. This rating can help you to better understand how much of a savings you might see from the replacement windows that you choose for your home.
Pros and Cons of Replacing Windows
Replacing your windows with energy efficient windows may add to the home remodeling cost considerably. You will need to work with home improvement contractors that are experienced in window replacement of this nature in order to get the best results. The addition of replacing your windows with energy efficient windows might also add to the amount of time that the home maintenance schedule might take. These are some of the negative points related to replacing your windows with energy efficient windows.
On the positive side of replacing your windows with energy efficient windows during your home remodel is that you will save money in the long run on energy use. The dramatic differences in your
bill may be well worth the price you pay for having a home remodeling company replaces your windows. You may be able to save approximately 50% of your energy expenses by using energy efficient windows. In addition, you could dramatically increase the resale value of your home.
When it comes to the sheer numbers involved in replacing your current windows with energy efficient windows, you will find that the costs can be fairly offset. The average cost of replacing your windows with energy efficient windows depends on type of window selected, regional cost factors and any requirement for code compliance inspections. Generally the costs can be as low as $400 per opening in lower cost of living regions to $1000 in more expensive regions. This is no small investment, for sure, but it the energy savings you could see may be well worth the investment. Depending on the type of window replacement you are conducting, and the region that you live in, you could see a savings of up to $350 a year.
It is important to remember that there are some incentive and rebate programs available through various utility and state divisions for those homeowners that choose to replace their windows with energy efficient windows. These are not available everywhere, but if you are eligible it could offset the expenses that you will face with replacing your windows.
There are several options when it comes to having these energy efficient windows installed in your home. The first thing to consider is whether you want to hire a professional to do the job or if you think you might want to tackle the project on your own. While there are some types of low-e coatings that are available for you to apply to your own windows yourself, it could be to your advantage to hire a professional.
Hiring a professional to install replacement windows that are energy efficient will allow you the knowledge that a professional will have to share with you. In addition, a professional will be able to do the job in less time than you probably would and they have the tools and resources to get it done well. You will also find that hiring a professional means hiring someone with a license that also has full coverage insurance. The insurance is there to pay for damages caused if the professional should make a mistake while doing the work. If you do the work yourself and make a mistake you will have to pay for it yourself. This could be a much bigger expense than simply hiring one of the trustworthy home contractors to get the job done for you in the amount of time that you have to do so.
The professional that you choose may be able to provide you with replacement of your windows by removing the entire frame of the window and then putting in a new one with a new frame at all. In some cases a new frame will need to be built to ensure that there is insulation all the way to the window and that there is no chance of heat escaping from the area around the windows. There are metal window casings, wood window casings and vinyl window casings. Depending on the type of windows that you choose, you will need to select the best one for your home and your home style.
Considerations Having Your Windows Replaced
Before having your windows replaced you might want to take the time to meet with one of the home inspectors available. These individuals conduct home inspections that provide homeowners with a home inspection checklist and home inspection report that will address the windows in the home. You want to find out the condition of your current windows before hiring a professional to replace your windows with energy efficient windows.
If you don’t think that you can afford to replace your windows with energy efficient windows all at once, you might want to discuss doing sections of your home one at a time. You will likely want to start where you are losing the most heat in your home in order to maximize on the savings you will see in your heating and cooling bills. This might be an excellent way to get the job done over a period of time.
After the Installation of new windows
Once you have had your windows replaced with energy efficient windows you will want to learn how to maintain them. Talk to the installation professional about obtaining some home maintenance tips with regard to keeping your windows in good shape. Take the time to find out what you can do to give your windows a long lifespan and how you can better make your home energy efficient.
Replacing your windows with energy efficient windows can increase the resale value of your home and provide you with long term solutions to high energy costs. Make sure that you are considering all of the options and that you choose the windows that are right for your home. Talk to a professional about the choices and get all of your information in writing before you make a selection. A written estimate for replacement is the best way to see what you are in looking at in terms of cost to prepare properly.