Best Options for the Most Energy Efficient Replacement Windows
Outdated windows don’t do you any favors. IN fact, up to 40% of your cooling could be escaping through old windows making your home less comfortable and your energy bills more expensive. That is why energy efficiency is a top priority for replacement windows in San Ramon, CA. Choosing the right frame material, window style, and glazing technologies will make all the difference. So here is what you need to know to make your windows the most energy efficient.
Efficient Window Materials
There are a few options on the market, but vinyl and fiberglass usually offer up the best insulation and other benefits as well.
Vinyl. Vinyl frames are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a construction grade plastic polymer. Manufacturers use special additives to make the material strong, UV resistant, and energy efficient. Many homeowners choose vinyl frames because they are affordable, low maintenance, and water resistant. The material will not rot, rust, or decay. Vinyl windows can last anywhere from about 15 to 20 years depending on the quality and climate.
Fiberglass. Fiberglass is another highly efficient material. It has a low thermal expansion rate, which means it expands and contracts at nearly the same rate as glass so the seals do not break down as quickly. Also, this strong, lightweight material is perfect for fitting larger panes of glass on slimmer frames. You can expect these windows to last for 30 years or more.
Efficient Window Styles
The style of your windows dictates the form, function, and often the efficiency. There are so many options, but there are some that outrank other styles when it comes to energy efficiency.
Picture windows. These are fixed windows that do not open and close. No moving parts, no locks—they are just panes of glass fixed inside the frame. As such, you don’t have to worry about air leaks. And large or small, as long as you choose the right glazing options you will not have to worry about unwanted heat gains and losses.
Casement and awning windows. Casement windows hinge to one side, opening outward like a door. Awning windows hinge at the top and push out, creating a small roof over the window opening. These windows are great if you are looking for operable windows that still provide high energy efficiency. Because the sash closes tightly against the frame when closed, it seals the window tight. And if the window blows against casement windows it only tightens the seal.
Efficient Glazing Technologies
The glazing options on replacement windows are just as important as frame material and window style, if not more so. Because glass takes up the majority of the window you want to make sure it is well insulated to protect your home against energy losses. And there are several technologies to consider.
Multiple panes. The modern standard is two panes of glass. This reduces heat transfer and boosts energy savings. But you can go as far as getting three or four panes of glass for extra protection, though these are not as cost-effective in moderate climates.
Gas fills. It isn’t normal air sandwiched between the panes of glass. Manufactures pump out the air and replace it with a noble gas like argon, krypton, or xenon. These gasses have more density and help slow heat transfer both in and out of the home. Argon is the most readily available and the most common.
Glass coatings. Lastly, there are several ways to treat the glass so it reflects light and heat back outside. Low-E, tints, and laminates are just a few options to consider.