In this article, you will learn:
1. The Key Components of an Energy Efficient Window
2. The Best Types of Windows for Low Air Leakage
3. The Importance of a Professional Installation
When it comes to weatherproofing your home, Canadian homeowners have a lot to consider.
From the hot and humid summers to the cold and icy winters – our windows play a very important role in keeping our families safe, dry and comfortable!
Unfortunately, windows can wear down over time and issues with condensation, caulking, air leakage and/or weatherstripping can often occur.
While windows can account for up to 25% of total house heat loss, it’s very important for homeowners to keep their windows as airtight and energy efficient as possible – especially during the winter months.
At Stouffville Glass, we are committed to helping our clients make better decisions for their homes.
To help you understand what to look for in an energy efficient window, let’s review their key components:
Key Components of an Energy
1. Window Frames
The materials you choose for your window frames can play a big role in improving your window’s overall energy efficiency.
While there are advantages and disadvantages to all types of frame materials, it is important to look for options that will improve the overall thermal resistance and U-factor of your windows.
a. Wooden Frames:
Traditionally, wooden window frames have been the most popular choice for residential properties.
With the ability to fit into almost every home design, natural wood offers an excellent source of security and energy efficiency, insulating about 1,800 times better than aluminum.
Unfortunately, wooden frames can be quite expensive, and their vulnerability to rotting over time makes them a lot harder to maintain.
b. Aluminum/Metal Frames:
Lightweight, durable and almost maintenance-free, aluminum windows are available in a variety of shapes and colours.
Although inexpensive and resistant to corrosion, their low thermal performance prevents them from being as energy efficient as their alternatives.
As metal window frames can conduct heat, they are unable to provide as much insulation without an insulating strip placed between the frame and sash.
c. Composite Frames:
With the strength and stability of wood and rot-resisting capabilities of vinyl or aluminum, composite window frames make an excellent choice for eco-conscious homeowners.
With improved moisture and decay resistance, composite frames can offer improved functionality and efficiency to your windows.
Unfortunately, composite materials can be quite expensive, falling just below the average cost of natural wood.
d. Vinyl Frames:
Low-maintenance and affordable, vinyl window frames are currently the most cost-effective and energy-efficient options on the market.
Made of polyvinyl chloride material (known as PVC), vinyl windows are recyclable, low in thermal transfer and resistant to rotting, warping or corrosion.
Available in a variety of different colours, vinyl window frames can fit into any interior aesthetic with the added firepower of airtight efficiency!
2. Glass Coatings
In addition to your frame materials, the glass and/or glazing you choose can also play a role in improving your home’s energy efficiency.
As different windows in your home may be exposed to different conditions (for example, sun-facing windows vs windows that remain in the shade), you may even want to select different types of glazing to best suit the requirements of each space!
Here are some options to consider:
a. Insulated Window Glazing – Insulated window glazing can improve the U-factor by sealing an insulated airspace between two or more panes of glass.
b. Low-Emissivity Coatings – Low-E coatings on insulated glass windows can help reduce energy loss by 30-50%.
c. Spectrally Selective Coatings – Spectrally selective coatings are a special type of low-E coating that can help filter out an additional 40-70% of the heat without impacting the amount of light that shines through.
d. Gas Fills and Spacers – Gas fills (such as argon or krypton) are used between the glazing layers to help minimize heat transfer between the inside and outside of your windows. Combined with spacers that keep the layers the correct distance apart, these added features help to prevent any moisture or gas leaks.
What Are The Best Types of Windows for Low Air Leakage?
While air leakage is the rate of air movement around a window, keep an eye out for products that have the lowest air leakage ratings you can find.
As our Canadian winters are often cold and windy, these leaks can create an uncomfortable draft in your home while simultaneously racking up your energy bills.
Different operating types can also impact the degree of energy-efficiency, so here are a few of the top-performing window styles to prevent air leakage problems within your home:
1. Fixed/Picture: Fixed/picture windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but do not open or close. When installed correctly, these types of windows do an ideal job of sealing out any air leakage concerns. The only downfall is that this window may not be suitable for spaces where air ventilation is desired.
2. Awning: Awning windows have a hinge at the top allowing it to open outwards. Since the sash closes by pressing against the window frame, these windows have a lower air leakage rate than the typical sliding window options.
3. Hopper: Hopper windows are hinged at the bottom and open inwards. Much like the awning, these windows generally have a lower air leakage rating as the sash closes by pressing into the frame.
4. Casement: Hinged at the sides, casement windows also offer a lower air leakage rating than sliding windows as the sash closes by pressing against the frame. Popular in climates where the wind is an issue, casement windows have a crank that swings the window open and allows for a tight seal.
The Importance of a Professional Installation:
While the materials and window construction can greatly impact their performance, the installation process is equally as important!
As an improper installation can result in heat loss, air leaks and skyrocketing energy bills, overlooking the importance of this process can result in poor window performance and expensive repairs.
Instead, allow the right professionals to help you get the most out of your windows for many years to come.
If you are interested in learning more about your window options, our experts are happy to help!
Click here or call us at (905) 640-4016 for a complimentary consultation.