An In-Depth Guide to Help With Buying Energy-Efficient Windows
Windows play an integral role in enhancing the visual appeal of your house, as well as providing many functional services essential to a balanced and sustainable lifestyle. The windows you have can play a significant role in the energy efficiency of your home. The question is, how do you know what type of window is most energy-efficient?
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, windows are becoming a rapidly popular choice for households due to the plethora of benefits associated with using these energy-efficient windows. Before PVC windows, the decision to place a window, skylight, door or even just a good strong wall was a matter of serious debate. Fortunately, ever since the inception of windows, we’ve found a way to amalgamate all of the separate functionalities of the afore-mentioned options into one versatile option.
However, where one problem ends, another takes root and we find ourselves, once again, at puzzling crossroads. Since there are quite a number of variants and countless manufacturers, deciding which window would best suit your needs opens another Pandora’s box.
Through this article, we’ll go over the options one by one, evaluating their practicality and analyzing the scenarios in which they work best. But first, you need to have an idea of the basic parameters you’ll want to be present in your windows at all costs.
Important Points to Keep in Mind When Buying Energy-Efficient Windows
Window specs can get a bit technical and manufacturers can easily cheat you in several places unless you’ve done your research. Know what you’re buying by following these pointers:
- One of the prime functions of an energy-efficient window is its ability to trap heat inside while preventing external heat from getting in, thereby keeping your house cool in the summers and warm in the winters. To achieve this key trait, always ensure your windows are properly sealed with silicone sealants and the gasket is at least 3mm in width. Additionally, check with your manufacturer to see if the gaskets are made of EPDM rubber and TPE (both of which have physical properties that allow you to disrupt heat flow effectively without giving way to weather conditions).
- The true measure of any window is how well it stands the test of time. This time-driven erosion is more likely to affect your window profile way before it starts affecting the glass itself. To protect your profile from erosion, make sure it is crafted using galvanized steel. Also, reiterating the last point, silicone sealants and EPDM rubber gaskets not only prevent the passage of heat, but also block outdoor noise. No more noisy neighbors!
- A factor, which you can fine-tune according to your setup, is the thickness of the glass and how many times it’s glazed. Each extra layer of glazing gives you added protection both against heat loss and noise reduction, but at the expense of reduced light entering the window. Do you have a dark space such as a theatre? If so, go for the double glazed window. Kitchens normally require ample natural light to bring about a healthy and lively atmosphere, so always go for single glazed windows here.
- If you’ve watched Home Alone, then you know how important good windows are. It is imperative not to compromise on security when addressing the question of windows. Make sure the window has sturdily built locks, hinges, and friction stays that make for a punishing resistance to forced entry. Furthermore, your build should ideally be forged out of 304-grade stainless steel.
- Finally, always check the warranty period facilitated by your manufacturer. A one-year warranty for the glass and 6-10 year warranty for the profile should be sufficient. PVC windows also tend to discolor over time. You may want to have your manufacturer add Titanium dioxide in the profile. This gives your window a staggering resistance to discoloration.
Now you’re caught up on the basics. So it’s time to delve into what options are available on the market.
Types of Glass Used in PVC Windows
Low Emissivity Glass
This glass is quite a viable option for areas where there are stark differences between indoor and outdoor temperatures. This option comes with metallic oxides coated on the inner panes of the window, which are sealed and filled with inert gas. This type specializes in stopping UV rays from getting in so if you do not want your precious antique mahogany set to fade, then these are your optimal windows.
Solar Control Glass
A more comprehensive version of Low-e (or low emittance) glass, solar control glass combines the low emissivity rating with what may very well be the best heat encapsulation rating in the market. Best of both worlds. However, avoid this glass if your windows are north-oriented. The reflective surface of this glass prevents sunlight from entering your space giving way to condensation.
Planister Sun Glass
This archetype is the ideal choice for morning people. It has an excellent facet in terms of stopping infrared radiation and thus allows light to pass through while retaining any heat energy. This makes for a wonderful combo allowing you to savor the daylight a little while longer without having to worry about heat loss.
This variant takes into account the rowdy nature of your neighbors as well as the possibility of the glass being vulnerable to forceful impact. This variant provides the best sound resistance and due to its unique design, it can withstand quite a lot of beat down before it gives way. A good option to have in case you need durable windows for your backyard where kids regularly play ball.
This glass lets you bask in all the benefits an energy-efficient window provides without compromising your personal space. Often installed in places where confidentiality is of critical importance (law firms, offices, clinics), this glass is designed to let light pass through while hindering vision from outside.
All in all, the option you choose depends upon the characteristics you prioritize. To sum it up, your final decision should come after an evaluation of these factors:
- Climate conditions
- External noise level
By using this guide to help you buy energy-efficient windows or your home, you can start saving energy, saving on your electric bill, and more importantly, start saving the Earth without compromising on your quality of life.