Keeping Cool: Selecting & Replacing Energy-Efficient Windows

Keeping Cool: Selecting & Replacing Energy-Efficient Windows

Recently, our phones have been ringing off the hook, and we have received many emails from Los Angeles area residents, asking us what changes they can do to their windows and doors to keep their homes cooler, especially during recent heat waves hitting Southern California. Homeowners want to know how and when they can start replacing their current windows with new, energy-efficient models.

There are many options available to both residential buildings and offices, and at Fusion Windows and Doors we are confident that we can suggest the right types of windows and schedule the time to start the installation process.

From our blog: How to pick the right door for your home, Click Here.

As for when the best time to replace your windows, the answer is: Now!

If you have old wooden windows, or other types of windows worn out or just not the right fit for the weather you must look into replacing them and that means getting windows that keep the heat out during summertime and not lose heat in winter time. If you are on a tight budget, replacing and making improvements to your existing windows can help you reduce the amount on your energy bills. The two main things you need to know is the type of glass (mainly the glazing) and the frame it sits in.

Few general things you can do with the windows you already have are:

Install white window drapes, shades or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.

Close curtains on windows facing the sun during the day to reduce the amount of heat absorbed by those rooms.

Install awnings to keep the intensity of the sun heating up the rooms down.

Apply sun-control or other reflective films to reduce the amount of solar heat absorbed in the room.

But there is no substitute for a replacing your windows

Properly selected and installed, energy-efficient windows can help reduce the cost of heating, cooling, and lighting of your home.

Remember: you don’t have to do the entire house all at once. At Fusion Doors and Windows we can suggest a few ways to get you started with this exiting and important project. CLICK HERE to see a variety of window options at Fusion Windows and Doors.

SELECTING NEW ENERGY-EFFICIENT WINDOWS

If your home has very old and inefficient windows, it is more cost-effective to replace them than the amount of time and money you will waste on temporarily improving them. Chances are you will only end up looking for window replacements. So, why not think about it now and explore your options.

Your new energy-efficient windows will eventually pay for themselves as you notice a lower cost in heating and cooling the place and the amount of electricity you use to light up a dark room because you covered it from the sun.

Improving window performance in your home involves design, selection, and installation.

TYPES OF WINDOW FRAMES

The thermal resistance of the window frames depends on the overall energy efficiency material in the frame. There are advantages and disadvantages to the types of frames you pick. However, vinyl, wood, fiberglass, and some composite materials in the frame are more resistant to heat than metal. So, let’s take a look at the these energy-efficient frames

ALUMINUM AND METAL WINDOW FRAMES

Quite the maintenance-free pick, in addition to being very strong, light, and metal, or aluminum window frames can be a heat magnet, and that makes them not-so-ideal. To reduce heat flow and the U-factor (the rate at which a window, door, or skylight conducts non-solar heat flow), metal frames should have a thermal break (an insulating plastic strip placed between the inside and outside of the frame and sash).

COMPOSITE WINDOW FRAMES

Composite window frames consist of composite wood products, i.e. particleboard and laminated strand lumber. They are very stable, and have the same if not better structural and thermal properties as conventional wood, and don’t decay soon.

FIBERGLASS WINDOW FRAMES

Dimensionally stable, these frames have air pockets that can be filled with insulation, becoming superior in thermal performance compared to wood or vinyl with insulation.

VINYL WINDOW FRAMES

Made out of of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with ultraviolet light (UV) stabilizers they prevent sunlight from breaking down the material. Vinyl window frames do not require painting and have good moisture resistance. Filled with insulation, they are superior to standard vinyl and wood frames.

WOOD WINDOW FRAMES

Wood window frames insulate relatively well, but they also expand and contract in response to weather conditions. However, they require regular maintenance, and that will cost you some money.

TYPES OF WINDOW GLAZING OR GLASS

Now that we are done with frames, you must take a look at the types of glazing or glass to help improve the energy efficiency of your residence. Window designs such as orientation, climate, building design, must be considered. Your choices in window glazing can differ when it comes the parts (side) of the house they will be installed in.

GAS FILLS

They help the thermal performance of windows with insulated glazing. The space between the panes is filled with inert gas — commonly argon or krypton which has a higher resistance to heat flow.

HEAT-ABSORBING TINTS

Heat-absorbing window glazing, with special tints, change the color of the glass. They help absorb a large amount of the incoming heat, the solar radiation to be precise. You will notice a slight change in the color of the light covering the room with such windows. Some heat will end up passing through such tinted windows. The tint doesn’t lower a window’s U-factor.

INSULATED

Insulated window glazing is when windows with two or more panes of glass. In this approach, the glass panes are spaced apart and hermetically sealed, leaving an insulating air space.

LOW-EMISSIVITY COATINGS

Windows manufactured with low emissivity (aka: low-e coatings) typically cost about 10% to 15% more than regular windows, but they reduce energy loss by as much as 30% to 50%. Again, you will save money on electric and heating bills. A low-e coating is a microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide layer deposited directly on the surface. These coatings are normally applied during production by the manufacturer. But some are available for home owners to do by themselves. do-it-yourselfers. The good news is that they will last 10 to 15 years without peeling, they save energy, and the fabric does not fade quickly.

REFLECTIVE COATINGS

Reflective coatings on window glazing or glass reduce the transmission of solar radiation, blocking more light than heat. Reflective coatings usually consist of thin, metallic layers, and come in a variety of colors, including silver, gold, and bronze. In hot climates this glazing is used to control solar heat gain. Reflective glass is used mostly for special applications. Therefore you may need additional electrical lighting, depending on how it affects the light pouring indoors.

SPECTRALLY SELECTIVE COATINGS

A special type of low-e coating is spectrally selective, filtering out 40% to 70% of the heat normally transmitted through insulated window glass or glazing. But in this case while a full amount of light transmission is possible. This particular coating is optically designed to reflect particular wavelengths, but allow most (be transparent) to other wavelengths. To reflect the infrared (heat) portion of the solar spectrum while admitting more visible light, this is the coating to use.

For more information on how to get started and to receive a quote, contact us at Fusion Windows and Doors today.  

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