Poorly insulated windows and doors can increase your home’s energy costs by up to 30%. Although stylish windows and doors are an integral part of every modern home design, you need to look beyond aesthetics when it comes to creating an energy-efficient home. At a time when heating and cooling costs are shooting through the roof, homeowners are actively looking for ways to slash these expenses. There is no better place to start than reconsidering your windows and doors. Here’s how to pick energy-efficient and stylish windows and doors.
Go for an Energy Saving Frame Material
Most of our window frames today are made from materials that aren’t energy efficient. A large percentage of windows are made from aluminum. However, standard aluminum allows a significant amount of energy to be gained or lost, thus making it an unsuitable material for your door or window. Homeowners who are aware of the inefficiencies of this metal now go for wooden frames, yet, wood isn’t the best option when it comes to trimming your energy bill.
There are highly efficient materials that help you moderate the temperatures inside your home. One of the top energy-efficient materials is premium grade vinyl. It’s durable, requires little maintenance, and is visually attractive. Other excellent materials that perform remarkably include thermally broken aluminum and wood-clad. For your exterior doors, you can opt to go for fiberglass, vinyl, or steel.
Get the Right Glass
What goes inside the window frame and door glass frame plays a major role in maintaining a comfortable temperature inside a home. The type of glass you use affects the flow of heat that passes through it. Thanks to technology advancements, highly efficient glasses are now available. When looking for glass to fit your windows or doors, go for double or triple-paned glass. A pane that has multiple layers reduces heat transfer.
Check whether the glass has been built with special coatings, spacers, and insulating gases to further improve insulation. Also, select a glass that has low emissivity as this property helps to minimize heat transfer between the outside and inside of your house. Such a glass will protect your home’s interior from the effects of the scorching summer sun and block heat from escaping during the cold season.
Look for Windows and Doors that are Designed for Efficiency
How a window or door operates can increase or decrease the rate of air leakage and impact your home’s energy efficiency. Some windows and doors are purely designed to maximize energy efficiency. Going for these styles can make sense if you prioritize efficiency over visual looks. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t visually appealing windows or doors in this category. You can still find a style that blends with your home’s design. Casement, awning, hopper, and picture windows are some of the most efficient styles available.
Consider the Energy Performance Rating
The energy performance rating of a window or door can tell you whether it’s worth investing in it. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a trusted organization that ranks windows, doors, and skylights based on their energy efficiency.
To rate any of these products, the NFRC performs rigorous tests and comparisons. It assesses how the glass and frame gains and loses heat, the ability of the glazing to transmit sunlight, and how much air seeps through the frame and seals.
The U-factor rating of your door or window is an important factor to consider. This is the rate at which a door or window permits non-solar heat flow. A lower U-factor means the window has solid energy-efficient properties.
However, don’t just concentrate on the U-factor when looking for a window or door. Always look for the energy star label as it has detailed information that can help you make better decisions.
Even after investing in high-quality and energy-saving windows and doors, they won’t serve their purpose effectively if you overlook the importance of proper installation.
If there are gaps or cracks around frames and sashes, your home won’t reach the energy efficiency levels you are targeting. Poor window and door installation can lead to a dip in performance in the long term.
After selecting the right windows and doors, search for experienced installation specialists. Investigate how long the contractor has been in this industry, their certification, previous projects, and the tools they use. Also, work with professionals who specialize in installing the type of window or door you want. This is essential since not all experts have experience installing all types of windows. Remember that all the work should be done in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
There is no doubt that windows and doors play a critical role when it comes to a home’s energy efficiency. To slash your rising energy bill, look for windows and doors that can insulate your place and find a qualified contractor to do the installation.
Although there are many products in the market, the guide above will help you make a smarter choice.