If your windows are old, you should consider replacing them with energy-efficient windows. Energy-efficient replacement windows are designed to limit how much heat leaves or enters your home, keeping your energy bills low. If you aren't sure if energy-efficient windows are right for you, check out these six frequently asked questions.
How Much Do They Cost?
Expect to pay about $270 to $800 per energy-efficient window. Of course, you must think of energy-efficient windows as an investment. Not only will you see monthly energy savings, but the return on investment for energy-efficient windows is high, at about 80 percent. Therefore, you'll get most of your money back when it's time to sell. The downside, however, is that to get the benefit from the energy savings and the ROI, you need to replace all your windows at once, or else you are just wasting money.
When Should You Buy Them?
If you want energy-efficient windows, purchase them during late summer. First, this saves you money. By the end of summer, most people already have their new windows, and contractors may be looking for work, so they are likely to offer you a good deal. Another reason it's best to install during the warmer months is that it causes fewer problems. If windows are installed when it is moist, the window may not fit properly, which allows for drafts to enter your home through cracks and gaps.
Why Are Double-Paned Windows Good?
Many energy-efficient windows are also double-paned. This helps create a stronger barrier between the weather outside and the weather inside your home. With a single-paned window, the cold air outside chills the glass, so when warm inside air touches it, it becomes cold, creating a draft. With double-paned windows, there is one layer of glass outside and one inside. Plus, there are insulating gases between the panes to help prevent cold spots even further. This way, the panel inside your home stays warm even if it's freezing outside.
Do They Block UV Rays?
Another way energy-efficient windows reduce the transfer of heat is with low-e coatings. These coatings are invisible, and they block invisible light from entering your home. This means you get plenty of natural light without unnecessary invisible light, including UV rays. UV rays don't just increase the temperature inside your home. They also fade materials, including floors and furniture. You can purchase low-e coatings to place on your existing windows, and they work just as well at blocking UV rays, but they won't increase the value of your home.
What Framing Materials Are Available?
Many energy-efficient windows are made from vinyl because vinyl is naturally non-conductive. In other words, less heat transfers through the vinyl, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. However, a lot of people don't like the "plastic" look of vinyl. Luckily, energy-efficient windows can be made from any framing material, including metal. Dampers are used to help stop the transfer of heat.
What Is U-Factor?
The U-factor is a number that measures how energy-efficient the window is. The higher the number, the better the energy-efficiency. However, different regions have different U-factor guidelines. For example, if you live in Oregon, a U-factor of around 0.27 is perfect, but if you live in Florida, you'll want a U-factor of closer to 0.40. Skylights usually require a higher U-factor, as they are exposed to direct sunlight.
New windows are expensive, but they are also an investment in your home. If you are ready to stop wasting money on your heating and cooling costs, contact a window contractor in your area and get a quote for energy-efficient windows.