Many homeowners love the look and benefits of big windows. They provide excellent natural light, but they can also be a huge energy drain. Inefficient, old, or damaged windows promote heat gain and heat loss, which causes you to use more energy to heat and cool your home. If you’re sick of climbing energy bills, check out these four tips to reduce heat gain and loss through windows.
1. Consider Double-Paned Windows
If your windows are old, it may be time to replace them, and double-paned windows are a great option to consider. Single-paned windows only have one sheet of glass. If the air outside is cold, the glass gets cold, which includes the glass on the inside of the window. This can cause drafts as the hot air comes in contact with the cold glass.
Double-paned windows have two layers of glass instead of one. There is a small space between the glass, and it is often filled with insulating gasses. These features help reduce the transfer of heat directly through the glass. The exterior pane will still get cold during the winter, but the inside glass stays warm.
2. Get Low-E Window Coatings
If you get new windows, you can also ask about low emissivity (low-e) window coatings. If your windows are still in good condition, but you want to boost efficiency, buy low-e window clings to add to existing windows. Homeowners love low-E coatings because they block some light, which reduces heat gain.
Luckily, the coatings only filter out UV light, which is invisible to the naked eye, but can still heat your home. In addition, UV light can damage and age materials, including sofas, floors, and counters. Therefore, not only can low-e window coatings help reduce heat gain inside the home, but they can also prevent fading and sun damage to items and materials inside the home.
3. Use Exterior Awnings
If you don’t need new windows or you simply want to boost efficiency further, add exterior awnings to the home. Awnings help block summer sunlight from directly hitting the glass, which reduces natural heat gain, and keeps the home cooler. Awnings are great on all windows, but they are ideal for south-facing and westfacing windows because they tend to get the most direct sunlight.
During the winter, however, you want natural heat gain. With the sun naturally heating your home, you use less energy. Luckily, as long as your awnings are installed by a professional, they should allow sunlight to enter during the winter (when the sun sits lower in the sky).
4. Install Blinds, Shades or Drapes
Many homeowners love bare windows, but it’s best to have some kind of covering to prevent too much heat from transferring. Blinds, shades, and drapes are great at preventing sunlight from spilling inside your home during the summer. In the winter, they act as a barrier between cold glass and warm air inside the home, which helps to prevent drafts.
Drapes are a better solution for energy efficiency, especially insulated drapes. The insulating material has a high R-Value, which further limits the transfer of heat. The downside, however, is that drapes are often bulkier than blinds and shades. They may also offer less flexibility than blinds, because they don’t have slates, which can be adjusted to reflect light differently.
Inefficient windows can drastically cost you more in energy bills. They promote heat gain during the summer and heat loss in the cold winter months. With these four options, however, you can improve the efficiency of your windows, which keeps your home naturally cooler or warmer as needed. For more information about energy-efficient options, contact us at JFK Window and Door today.