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June 18, 2018  |  Login
Energy-Efficient Windows
By Eric Corey Freed

Windows are the eyes of your home. They provide views, sunlight, ventilation, and solar heating.

Your walls are stuffed with insulation, but your windows are not so efficient. In fact, 10% to 25% of your heating and air conditioning are leaking out of the windows’ uninsulated frames. If your home has single-pane windows, as nearly half the homes in the United States do, you’re losing even more energy; consider replacing single-pane windows with double-pane ones.

Don’t throw away your old windows. Your local salvage yard will gladly take them and keep them from ending up in the landfill. Old windows can also be used to create an interesting interior partition.

When remodeling your home, the issue with energy-efficient windows is the cost. You could spend $20,000 replacing all the existing windows in your home, or achieve the same energy savings by spending just $2,000 for insulation. Although new windows will reduce your energy bills, think about this when looking for the biggest bang for your buck.

 Efficient Alternatives to Replacing Windows

If the cost and effort to replace all the windows in your home is too great, consider the following:
  • Hang heavy curtains on every window. Heavy curtains will prevent warm air from leaking out of the windows in the winter and block the hot sun in the summer.
  • Wash the windows often. Keep the windows on the south-facing side of your house clean to allow the winter sun in for warmth.
  • Put tinted window films on the south and west sides of your home to block the heat gain from the summer sun.
  • Install awnings and overhangs over south-facing windows. This will help block the heat gain from the summer sun as well.
  • Mount plastic sheeting over your windows and use a hair dryer to shrink the sheeting until it’s taut. The plastic sheeting will serve to insulate the windows in the winter months. You can find easy-to-install plastic sheeting for windows at any
  • hardware store. A low-budget trick: Recycled bubble wrap (from packages) works just as well as plastic sheeting and creates an interesting pattern over your windows.

If you can’t afford to replace every window, consider just focusing on older windows or on windows in the coldest rooms of your house.

If you’re building a new home, some of the cost of installing more efficient windows will be offset because you’ll be able to use a smaller, less expensive heating system.

If you live in a cold climate, you’ll need different windows than your friends in Florida or Arizona. Generally, you’ll want to buy double-pane windows with low-emissivity (or low-e) coatings on the glass. Most manufacturers offer windows filled with argon gas between the two panes of glass. This will add to the cost but increase the insulation value of the window.

If you live in a warmer climate without a harsh winter, it’s important to buy windows that will block the hot sun from coming in. Look for windows with tints and films to reflect UV light. more



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