As the cold weather begins to set in, there’s never been a better time to make sure you’re prepared for winter! And knowing how unpredictable Illinois temperatures can be, it’s never a bad idea to do a little extra when it comes to winterizing your house. One thing you might consider for this year is evaluating the efficiency of your windows. You may not realize it, but your windows have an incredible effect on the temperature of your home. If your windows aren’t properly sealed, they let air escape, thus pushing your heating to work overtime.
Check Your Frame
The two components that make up every window design are the glass and frame. In ensuring your windows are winter-ready, you’ll first want to inspect your frame. By checking key areas and determining your frame’s material, you’ll be a step closer to being prepared for the coming months.
While no window is 100% airtight, you shouldn’t feel any significant areas of air or draft coming from your frame. In looking for where airflow might escape, check the windowsill, perimeter and sash. If you aren’t familiar with these terms, here is a quick explanation of each:
- Windowsill – The bottom of your window frame.
- Sash – The portion of the window that fits inside the frame. (What you push up, down or side to side.)
- Perimeter – The left, right and top sides of your window frame.
These three areas are the most likely to let air escape from your home. Whether due to improper installation, age or other factors, the sealing around your frame may no longer be effective. However, with some proper caulking and the replacement of seals, your windows can better prevent air from escaping.
The second factor to consider with your frame is the material it is made of. While ensuring your window frames are made of materials better equipped to handle cold temperatures may require the replacement of some windows, you’ll make up for it in energy savings.
- Wood – A frame made of wood has incredible insulation qualities that other frame materials cannot beat. However, wood frames require more upkeep than other materials.
- Vinyl – While it doesn’t possess the insulation prowess of wood, vinyl frames still retain heat at a comfortable level. Additionally, they require little maintenance and upkeep.
- Composite – A composite frame is similar to wood in that it’s made of much of the same material combined with plastic. This gives composite similar insulation qualities while also protecting it against rot and decay.
- Fiberglass – If you want the most energy-efficient frame material on the market, fiberglass is the way to go. Fiberglass is stronger than most other materials and retains heat better than the rest, making it the best option for the coldest temperatures.
Check Your Glass
Glass, the second component of your window, is just as important as the frame when looking to keep warm air in and cold air out. And you might be thinking, “glass is glass; what’s so important about it?” While it may seem there isn’t much to glass, you’d be surprised. Between the number of glass panes, gas fills, coatings and more, you can go from a wimpy window to an energy-efficient machine!
Consider Heat Transfer
When looking for energy-efficient glass, you ought to consider your glass’s ability for heat gain and loss. The best windows keep cold air in during summer and keep cool air out during the winter. You’ll find the windows that do this the best have a low U-factor. Typically, the U-factor will range from 0.14 to 1.20 (when looking at provided glass) ratings. Keeping the U-factor as low as possible is key to retaining heat for your home.
What are Gas Fills?
Another aspect of finding an energy-efficient window is whether or not it has a gas fill. You ought to, at least, have a window with two glass panes. One isn’t enough for fending off cold temperatures. And to further improve its insulation qualities, some double-paned windows also possess a gas fill of either argon or krypton gas. Both gases are natural and invisible to the eye. However, due to these gases’ density, they create a form of insulation that you can see through.
Finally, you should make sure your glass has a coating to prevent the escape of heat from your home. Such glass with a coating is called low emissivity glass, or low-e for short. Low-e glass offers another layer of protection in its coating, reducing heat loss by a significant rate. For example, low-e glass can reduce heat loss anywhere between 30% and 50%.
Find the Right Windows with Doerr
Doerr Siding & Window has numerous options when considering new, more energy-efficient windows. You can select from different window styles, frame materials and glass types to suit the climate you live in (Illinois can get significantly cold!). And, if you’re looking for more than windows, Doerr is one of the area’s leading contractors for exterior remodeling and renovations. Call us today at 309-694-9561 to see how we can help update your home for the seasons to come. Also, we are located at 603 Pinecrest Dr, East Peoria, IL 61611.