Energy-Efficient Windows: How to Reduce Energy Costs and Increase Comfort?

According to modern estimates, with decent windows, you’re losing around 18% of the heat via windows. During the summer, this is how much cool air leaves your home. In other words, the state of your windows, and your windows in general, are directly responsible for the cost of your power bill.

Since both heating and cooling are responsible for making the conditions in your home livable, this would make your windows directly responsible for the comfort in your home.

On top of this, windows are a major aesthetic element in your home. Whether you’re decorating your home’s interior or exterior, choosing a window will majorly impact the outcome.

Lastly, remember that you don’t choose new windows every day. With that in mind and without further ado, here’s how to reduce energy costs and increase comfort in your home.

Buy the right window

The first thing you need to do is buy the right window for your home. Here’s what you need to pay attention to.

Number of panes

This is the biggest single factor there is. Namely, a double-pane window can drastically reduce your home’s heat loss. If you currently use a single-pane window, you can save as much as $250 per year. In other words, it’s a decision with a positive ROI.

Remember that three-pane windows further increase the saving, but the increase is neither exponential nor linear.  In other words, while it’s efficient, it’s not necessarily cost-effective. Switching to a double-pane window makes a world of difference.

Frame material

The most important decision you can make when choosing a window is the material. Ideally, you would go for something like vinyl or fiberglass. Wood-clad frames are just as great from the energy-efficient standpoint, but they’re problematic when it comes to maintenance. They don’t last as long and are not as well-suited for all weather conditions.

Remember that aluminum windows are the most durable, but their thermic properties are not on-pair with fiberglass and vinyl.

So, before choosing a frame, research the insulator properties and heat transfer compared to traditional frames. Compare it to your current windows, and you’ll see how much you stand to save.

Also, remember that interior design also depends on your choice of window frame material. This is something that many people skip when furnishing their first home.

Gas-filled windows

Some windows are filled with argon gas. This gas is pumped between their panes to provide an optimal barrier and bring down the heat loss to a minimum. Since 25-30% of your home’s heat leaves via windows, this is a massive advantage you need to consider.

The problem is that it’s not cost-effective. The heat-loss reduction is massive, but the difference between regular double-pane windows and these gas-filled windows is not significant enough to justify this cost increase.

It all depends on what you’re looking for – effectiveness or cost-efficiency. If you just want to make a zero-energy home and don’t care about the cost, there’s no better way to get there.

Alternatives to installing new windows

Installing new windows is expensive, complicated, and it will take a while. if you’re living in a historic home, you may not even get permission to get one that’s too different from the original mode. This is why you may have to look for alternatives.

You can find amazing energy-efficient window inserts out there. Storm windows and similar options can make a difference in your home and don’t require a complex remodeling project.

When installing a new window, there’s a lot that you have to change. You may also have to replace the door and change the façade (or even clad the walls of your home). With inserts, you get to skip all of that.

You don’t have to hire specialists since this is a simple enough DIY project. Not only that but the maintenance and repair become simpler, and you get the satisfaction of doing it all with your own two hands.

Improving your current windows

You can also do a lot to increase the energy efficiency of your current windows. You see, even the best window won’t do much if there’s a hole somewhere in the window. You must seal and weatherstrip it to prevent drafts and air leakage. This will already drastically increase the energy efficiency of your windows, and you’ll only have to set aside a couple of bucks and a few minutes of your time.

Another thing you can do is look for weather-resistant caulking to prevent air leaks.

You’re doing all of this to fix various irregularities in the window, usually left by the contractors or the previous owner. Sure, the windows and the walls/roof surrounding them deteriorate over time, but this is not what you’re dealing with most of the time. Windows are built to last, so if there are any irregularities, chances are that they’re the original contractor’s fault. Therefore, when replacing them, find someone more capable and trustworthy.

As we’ve mentioned, the state of your windows will deteriorate with time, so you need to conduct regular inspections. The sooner you notice a problem, the sooner you get to fix it. This means that you won’t lose an excess of energy unnecessarily for too long.

Blinders and curtains

It’s not just the window. Every obstacle stops heat, so if you have a heavy curtain or thick blinds installed on your windows, you might have an easier time making the room more energy-efficient.

This is so brilliant because both blinders and curtains have their function, even outside of making the home more energy-efficient. They’re there to dim the lights, provide more privacy, and even lower the noise coming from outside (or leaving your home).

In other words, you’re already buying them; these are just some positive side effects.

Wrap up

At the end of the day, replacing windows is one of the most impactful decisions you can make in your home. This will reduce energy costs, increase comfort, and future-proof your home. The sooner you do this, the more money you get to save, which is why this is a decision that you should never postpone. At the same time, this is a decision whose consequences will be with you for decades, so weigh your options.

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