If you’ve decided to take the plunge and invest in new windows, do your research ahead of time. Windows vary in quality, features, and benefits. Oftentimes the explanation of these benefits can get a bit complicated, so we’ve broken down three of the most common (and slightly technical) terms and features below.
Insulated windows may sound fancy, but luckily, this is a feature offered in most new windows. It simply means that the window has more than one pane of glass. In fact, insulated windows are offered in double- or triple- pane options. This provides an extra layer of—you guessed it—insulation to keep warm and cool air where it should be. This is thanks to a sealed layer or layers of air or gas between the panes, which cut down on heat transfer or escape.
U-factor is a measurement that illustrates how much heat can escape through the window. Homeowners should pay very close attention to this important number, as it is the main indicator of the overall insulating power of the window. U-factor is measured on a scale between 0 and 1. Contrary to what you might guess, the lower the number, the better insulating performance you can expect. For example, a measurement of 0.10 will provide better insulation than a measurement of 0.35. ENERGY STAR offers U-factor recommendations based on your climate and region.
Low-emissivity (or Low-E) coatings
Now that you understand U-factor, we can now explore the term low-E, which can contribute to the U-factor. Often overlooked, this feature can make a big difference in your home’s energy efficiency.
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Windows with Low-E have a special coating on the windowpane glass that reduces heat transfer. This blocks heat from entering your home in warm weather, and keeps warm air in your home during cold weather. This technology often costs a bit more than regular, non-Low-E windows. However, for optimal energy efficiency (and for homes without A/C in the summer), Low-E windows might be a worthwhile investment for your wallet and overall comfort.
These are just a few of the terms you might hear when considering home window replacement. We recommend contacting Washington Energy Services to discuss further. One of our skilled technicians will take the time to explain all the options, features, and benefits of our wide selection. You’ll become a window techie in no time!