If you are installing replacement windows Los Altos, CA, you may be considering purchasing windows that are energy efficient. While you may be familiar with the term “energy efficient” enough to know it will help lower your utility bills, you may not really understand what goes into making a window more energy efficient than another. When making a big purchase such as this, it is good to know the details of these windows so that you can be confident you are choosing the right windows for your needs.
Terms to Know
When shopping for your windows, you will come across several terms that you have probably never heard before. While there may be additional terms, some of the main things to be familiar with are:
- SHGC Rating – This stands for “solar heat gain coefficient” and represents how much fraction of solar radiation is coming through a window. It is measured on a scale from 0-1 and the number you should aim for depends on your climate. For example, in warmer climates, you would want a lower score, and in colder climates, a higher number would be better.
- Emissivity– You will come across windows that have a “Low-E” rating. These windows have a coating applied to the glass that minimizes how much ultraviolet light passes through.
- U-Value– This value represents the rate of heat transfer and is typically between .25 and 1.25 with the lower number being better.
- Window glazing– This term is related to how many panes of glass the window contains such as double-pane, or triple pane.
- Window gas fills– Many windows will use gas to fill in the spaces for an extra layer of insulation. These gases are typically argon, xenon, or krypton and are odorless and non-toxic.
Spacers and Frames
Other than ratings and glass coatings, the spacers and frame materials also play a role in the energy-efficient of the window. For example, some spacers are known as warm edge spaces and are more energy-efficient than other types. These warm-edged spacers contain little or no metal.
Frame material also can affect the energy efficiency of the window. Fames typically are made from wood, aluminum, fiberglass, and vinyl materials each having its own set of advantages and disadvantages. One example is wood window frames can be very energy efficient but require regular care and upkeep to ensure they stay like new.
Choosing Which Windows to Replace
While replacing all your home’s old windows with new energy-efficient ones is ideal, not every homeowner can afford such an investment at once. If your budget only allows a couple of windows to be replaced at a time, think about which ones will make the most difference once replaced. There might be some windows that are showing obvious signs it’s time for replacing such as drafts or broken panes of glass. Other considerations may be replacing the windows on the side of the home that faces the hot afternoon sun all day.
Whether you can replace all your windows at once, or just a couple at a time, choosing energy-efficient windows can help reduce your utility bills and make your living space more comfortable all year round.
When you are ready for new replacement windows Los Altos, CA, give us a call and let us help you decide which windows would be best for your needs.