Have your electric bills been higher than usual of late? Is your home sweltering hot in the summers and more cold than before during winter? If so, here’s news for you: your home’s comfort and efficiency has been compromised.
The signs I’ve mentioned above are the most common indicators that your windows could do with a replacement–and sooner, rather than later. Age and damage over time can compromise windows, allowing in drafts and contributing significantly to energy loss.
A window’s quality largely depends on its make and components. So when your home’s windows have aged and you’re looking to get new replacement windows, it’s best you turn to a reputable manufacturer to ensure you get products that prove worthy of investment.
As a homeowner, you should take the time to get to know the materials and products that you can buy for your home. When it comes to windows, the choice of frame and glass typically spells the difference between low quality and high performance. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of these two primary window components.
Window Frame and Glass: What They Do
Basically, windows are composed of two main parts: the frame and the glass. These two may be composed of other smaller parts and features, but let’s take a look at them as a whole first.
The frame is essentially a window’s backbone. Its main purpose is to…
- Give the window its shape. Window frames come in different shapes and sizes, thanks to customization options. The right window frame material can take any shape and size without compromising window quality and safety.
- Hold the window glass in place. Window glass can’t be installed directly on your walls. It’ll need to be built into a frame, although some materials–such as Fibrex®–are durable enough to be made as thin and inconspicuously as possible.
- Prevent air leakage. When properly manufactured, measured and installed, the frame can effectively prevent air leakage around the window. Otherwise, it can pave the way for drafts.
Meanwhile, glass, which makes up the larger part of the window, does the following:
- Determines how much natural light comes in through the window
- Affects the amount of heat that’s absorbed into the home in the warmer months
- Affects the amount of heat that leaves the home in the colder months
When combined, a high-quality frame and glass can make for a beautiful and stylish window that is also energy-efficient.
Windows and Energy Efficiency
It’s difficult not to bring windows into the conversation when energy efficiency is in question. Windows will only be energy-efficient if made with a highly insulative window frame and glass–and when the windows in your home are energy-efficient, they can help you save on energy costs.
You might ask how much exactly you can save with energy-efficient windows. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if you have a single-pane window and you replace it with a double-pane window packed with energy-efficiency features, you can save at least $126 in annual energy costs. It’s even possible to save up to $465 a year.
As a bonus, you also get to enjoy a more comfortable home no matter the time of the year.
Windows and the Value of Investment
Since energy-efficient windows typically have frames that offer high thermal resistance as well as double-pane glass, a gas fill, and a low-emissivity (low-E) coating, deciding to invest in them means brings the following benefits:
- Incredible thermal performance
- Reliable durability
- Long service life
- Ease of maintenance
- Lasting aesthetic performance
- Sufficient natural indoor lighting
- Reduced outside noise absorption
Some materials are simply made better than others and offer more benefits than more traditional products. Renewal by Andersen®’s Fibrex, for one, is a composite material durable enough to be made thin. It allows for the manufacture of thinner window frames, which means that the glass area can be made larger. This results in maximum outdoor views and natural lighting. Furthermore, the low-E coating on Renewal by Andersen’s window glass also helps prevent interior fading without impeding natural light.
Knowing what an energy-efficient replacement window should be made of can ensure that your investment doesn’t go to waste. Once you’ve found the right products, make sure you have them installed by a trusted window replacement contractor. Better yet, seek the help of professionals, as they can lead you to the best products available on the market.
About the Author
Lance Schepps is the president and general manager of Renewal by Andersen® of Los Angeles. He believes that to help clients make their home more energy-efficient, comfortable and beautiful, professionals like himself must help homeowners make smart window replacement decisions. Check out their company blog for more of Lance’s tips, industry news and company updates.