Anyone who has spent even just one summer in Southern Nevada appreciates how devastatingly hot our climate can be. We’ve all experienced hot door and store handles! We know not to walk pets during the heat of the day lest their paws get burnt to a crisp. And when it comes to managing our money, especially soaring utility bills, we all know it costs more to cool a home than to heat it.
We’ll do anything and everything to cope with rising utilities. One of the most important things to consider are energy efficient windows, especially when you’re about to replace them or install new ones for the first time.
Sol-Up wants you to know the secrets to avoiding a bad choice and to maximizing your overall savings.
Glass matters. A great deal. Panes of glass in windows usually come in a variety of single, double, or triple layers. Each layer will have a space for air or in some cases a specialized gas between them to act as insulation and as a barrier to humidity and sound. In a hot climate, always use windows with double or triple panes, never single paned glass. The more panes the better the heat barrier capabilities. Modern windows use Argon gas between panes instead of air. Argon is better than air because it is denser. Being denser than air means heat transfers through it slower. It has better insulation qualities than oxygen and nitrogen, or common air. Pricier panes might use Krypton rather than Argon. Krypton is 6X denser still so there is a step up in insulation. There is also a 40% step up in price for Krypton. For today’s purposes, either Argon or Krypton work fine. Never get windows that use air, if you can even find them. You will not be happy about how poorly they handle humidity.
Read the window efficiency label
You don’t buy a car without looking at the window sticker. The same applies here. Read the window sticker(s). The first thing you are looking for is the Energy Star certification logo. When you see that Energy Star symbol, you know the windows have been independently certified as superior to others.
Look for an NFRC label. This label shows you 4 key performance categories to use to effectively compare windows. It will look something like this:
U-Factor U factor is a measurement rating the dissipation of non-solar heat. It has a range between .2 and l.2the. The lower the number the better.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient ranges between 0 and 1 in scale. Look for windows with a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SGHC). What that means is that the window does not transmit a lot of heat. The lower the number the better the window is at resisting unwanted heat transference.
Visible Transmittance measures how effectively the window allows daylight in. It ranges between 0 to 1. The higher the number, the better.
Air Leakage Measures how much air will get in through the product. The range should be less than 3. The lower the number, the better.
Occasionally someone will talk to you about R-value in conjunction with U-value. R-value typically applies to the insulation of components around the window, such as walls and ceilings. U-value is the preferred measurement for window efficiency.
Glaze that window glass
Forty years ago, only 50% of the windows sold in America were glazed. Meaning they were coated with a substance to reduce UV rays and radiant heat. Today 90% of windows are sold with blockage. Today’s Low E-coatings lay a microscopically thin coat over glass that reduces the long wave light allowed through it. Long wave light equals heat.
Design or Disaster
When those windows seem too cheap to be true, let the buyer beware. Cheap windows will have flimsy materials, loose construction, shoddy assembly, and the durability of an umbrella in a golf ball sized hail storm! Don’t settle. Look for quality components and craftsmanship. Are the channels tight fitting? Are sealants smooth? Are color tones and tactile textures consistent? Know what your window sashes are made from: metal, vinyl, fiberglass, wood, or polycarbonate? Look, when just looking at wooden windows, you have to be careful. Is the wood pine, fir, oak, teak, or something more exotic? Each type of wood has different properties and characteristics, from durability to warping, and expansion and transference in heat. That’s why it pays to talk to professionals.
Last but Not Least: Installation
At the end of the day, a huge consideration for the effectiveness of a draft free, heat resistant window is the quality of the installation. How well and tight is the actual window frame and sash assembly fitted into the building itself. One must consider what kind of construction medium the frame is inserted into and how best to insulate it. Are we working with a wood framed wall with layers of Celotex, chicken wire, and stucco or are we dealing with metal stud or wood or aluminum lathed siding or a brick facade? We must consider the properties of the wall construction materials and propensities to conduct or resist heat, to expand and contract during temperature changes, and how that affects the chosen sealants. Certain sealants work better with certain wall materials and the porosity and expansion characteristics of those sealants matter. Of course, installing the best windows in the worst way is self-defeating. Rely on the experienced, bonded, and insured professional installers at Sol-Up windows to get it right the first time, every time.
Window Functionality versus Appearance
We buy with our eyes. We see something, like it, and buy it. Buying is more emotional than logical. This is why car company commercials are filled with beautiful people happily driving immaculate vehicles through lush and vast vistas. Be careful when choosing windows. Look for the best functioning windows that appeal to your taste. A lot of really nice looking windows absolutely suck when it comes to performance. Inexpensive and pretty can cost you a fortune down the road. Shop and compare and be willing to pay a tad more to get a lot. You deserve energy efficiency, durability, and high style. Talk to us about how to get it all in one package.
Sol-Up has been the backbone of cutting-edge technology while helping revolutionize solar engineering since 2009. We have been installing heterojunction technology on almost all our residential projects due to its superior efficiency and performance under extreme heat conditions. Sol-Up is committed to providing the latest solar energy system technologies at affordable prices.
* Always check with your tax accountant to see which credits you may qualify for