When you live in an area that's hot most of the year, keeping your house cool often results in high energy bills as your air conditioner battles against the sun to keep heat gain in the home to a minimum. One thing that can help immensely is installing energy-efficient windows that keep warm air outside and cool air inside. Here are three tips for picking the right windows for your home.
Choose a Wood or Vinyl Frame
Most people focus on the features the panes have when shopping for new windows. However, the frame also contributes to the window's energy efficiency. Some frame materials make it easier for heat to transfer into the home, while others do an excellent job of keeping it out. For instance, while aluminum frames are inexpensive, they absorb heat from the sun's rays and radiate it into your house.
The most energy efficient window frames are wood and vinyl. Wood has great insulation properties on its own, while vinyl frames have hollow cavities that can be filled with insulation. Of the two, vinyl is the least expensive and requires the least amount of maintenance. Wood frames look great, but they need to be maintained on a regular basis to minimize deterioration.
Get More Than One Pane
Regardless of whether you live in hot or warm climates, it is critical that you invest in multi-paned windows. With single-paned windows, there's only one sheet of glass standing between the inside of your home and the weather outside. Double and triple-paned windows typically have gas injected in the spaces between the sheets of glass that provide additional insulation against the transfer of heat and cold. Not only will multi-paned glass prevent the heat from entering your home, it'll keep your air conditioned air from escaping.
Opt for High VT and Low SHGC
The last thing you should look for in replacement windows are panes with high visible transmission (VT) numbers and low Solar Heat Gain coefficient (SHGC). Visible transmission indicates the amount of light that can penetrate the pane into the home. The higher the VT number, the more light will enter your home and less you need to use electricity.
SHGC indicates the amount of solar radiation (i.e. heat) that is absorbed and transmitted into the home by the window panes. The lower this number, the more heat is blocked and less your air conditioner has to work. Look for window panes with an SGHC rating of less than 0.25.
For more information about choosing the best energy efficient replacement windows, contact a local contractor.