Windows provide light and create natural warmth in our homes, but if your windows are not functioning properly, they can actually negatively impact your home energy costs. Windows that allow the outside cold air into your home are having the opposite of the desired effect. Installing energy efficient windows will not only keep your home warmer, but they will reduce your reliance on your furnace, which means saving money. Afterall, isn’t the goal of home energy savings motivated by your wallet? Installing energy efficient windows is ideal, but if your budget is too tight, you can make some energy efficient improvements to your existing windows in the meantime.
Now that winter is here, it is important to keep as much heat in your home as possible. It is important to note that if you made energy efficient improvements to your existing windows for the summer months to help cool your home, those improvements will not help in the winter months. Typically, in the summer, measures are taken to reflect the sun’s rays away from the house rather than absorb them. Usually, this is done by posting a coating that reflects the sun away from the home and then covering windows with thick, sun-blocking curtains to prevent any rays from coming through and warming up the house. In the winter, however, it is important to optimize the amount of sun coming in an attempt to trap it; also known as passive solar energy. This can be done by using the window’s natural glass to allow the sun to enter and warm a room. The problem arises with poorly sealed windows allow a draft to enter. To make existing windows more energy efficient there are a few steps that you can take:
- Using heavy duty plastic sheeting or a clear plastic film to seal window frames helps reduce the draft while allowing sun rays to shine through and be collected inside
- Close curtains at night to keep the cold out and open them during the day to let the warm sunlight in
- Weatherstrip around windows to reduce draft
- Repair broken or cracked windows
If your home has very old windows or they are grossly inefficient, it may be more cost-effective to just replace your windows. Although windows are a large investment, when you do decide to replace, don’t throw your money away by purchasing more inefficient windows. When you spend the money to install proper energy efficient windows, it can easily cut your heating and cooling costs by more than 20 percent, all year round, which means there is a full return on investment in less than five years. It is a good idea for windows to be double paned to make them energy efficient on both either warm and cold days. Other factors to maximizing home energy savings with energy efficient windows include varying the window glazing and visible transmission on the glass panes depending on which way windows are oriented in your home. For instance, in the Texas heat, preference should be given to north-facing windows while shading south-facing windows in the summer months and harnessing the passive solar power here in the winter.
Because energy efficiency in windows relies on how airtight they are, it is critical to ensure that windows actually are energy efficient, by checking the energy performance rating, and should be installed by professionals. At Apex Home Energy Savings, we can guide you through all your energy efficient window options and tailor window installations to your needs and budget. We have been installing windows for over 25 years and we know a thing or two about the local climate and how to vary the windows on different orientations in your home. We guarantee comfort for every season and quality product and craftsmanship. Before we install new windows, we can perform a free, no obligation, home energy audit to find exactly where your home is losing energy. Once we find the source of your energy issue, we can fix anything home energy related to save you more money over time.