If you’re a new homeowner, or never had to think about replacing the windows in your home, replacement windows can seem like a foreign concept. However, understanding the basic principles behind a quality window can make all the difference when budgeting for home improvements.

Windows come in all styles, shapes, sizes. However, whether you’re building a new house or already living in your dream home, the sizes of these windows have likely been predetermined. Your biggest decisions, therefore, will involve energy-efficiency and maintainability.

Increasing Energy Efficiency

Efficient windows usually have two layers of glass. These are known as dual-pane or double-pane windows. The gap between the glass layers prevents heat from escaping. This barrier can be enhanced if you choose to install another layer of glass. Gaps between glazing layers can also be filled with gas, which reduces heat flow through conduction. Gas fills may include Argon or Krypton gasses.

Window performance can also be increased with reflective films and coatings. Tints, films, and low-emittance (low-E) coatings are just of a few of the ways that we improve the efficiency of your windows. A reflective film has the capacity to block a large portion of the radiant energy that strikes your home, helping to maintain a cool interior. However, tints and films can reduce the amount of natural light entering a home, which can increase the need for electric lighting and thus drive up energy costs. For this reason, many homeowners opt for bronze or gray-tinted glass, which reflects energy without reducing as great a percentage of visible light. These types of tints can offer as much as 60% visual transmittance (clear glass provides 90%).

An even more energy-efficient window coating is the Low-E coating. More versatile than either of the above, this type of coating utilizes microscopic metal or metallic oxide particles to suppress radiant heat flow out of your windows and can be altered to allow solar radiation in. Low-E coatings meet the diverse needs of homeowners who both require either only heat retention or seasonal heat retention and cooling. At Appleby Systems, we are happy to alter your Low-E window coatings to meet the immediate needs of your home.

Construction Affects Efficiency

It may sound obvious, but the material from which we build your window frame can greatly affect its efficiency. Vinyl frames and fiberglass filled with insulation operate much better than wood, wood-clad, or even non-insulated vinyl. Aluminum and steel are less efficient.

For more information about replacement windows, stay tuned for our next installment! If you have pressing questions regarding a current or upcoming project, please call us! We’re happy to help!