What should you look for in new windows? What are the most important qualities to look at when considering alternatives? What makes one window a better option than another?
These questions are just a few that will come to mind when you begin the process of replacing your windows.
The truth is, for something that looks so simple and is in almost every room in your home, there are a surprising number of considerations to take into account before making a final selection.
One of the most important things to take into consideration is your geographic location and the climate you live in.
Your windows play a large role in keeping your home comfortable, even when the conditions outside are miserable.
When selecting a window that will work perfectly in Pittsburgh, you need something that is equipped to handle hot humid summers and cold grueling, winters.
One window may conduct solar energy well providing you with what equates to free heat in the winter. Unfortunately, this process will be unwelcome in the summer months when it is 95 degrees outside. Free heat is not your priority at that moment in time. To offset the heat making its way through your windows you will need to blast your air conditioning even more to maintain a comfortable temperature.
So how do you pick the right replacement?
Here are a couple indicators that will help you make the best decision.
Solar Heat Gain CoefficientAccording to energy.gov Solar Heat Gain Coefficient “is the fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window, door, or skylight -- either transmitted directly and/or absorbed, and subsequently released as heat inside a home.”
The lower the SHGC is, the less solar heat it transfers. A low number means it is better for hot climates because it will keep unwanted heat out. A high number is better for cold regions where you could use any additional heat you can get. Find out what SHGC the window has before you make it your replacement.
U-FactorA window’s U-Factor measures non solar heat flow.
The lower the U-factor, the better and more energy efficient the window is. A window with a low U-factor is a great choice for anyone living in Pittsburgh.
Low-EOne type of window to consider is Low-E. Low-E stands for low emissivity and refers to the thin metal coating on a pane of glass that helps control the transfer of heat. Soft coat Low-E windows have great insulating qualities, reflecting hot or cold air back to the source. Using this type of window is perfect for the Pittsburgh climate and will help you maximize the ability to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Low-E windows will cost a little more than other alternatives, but you might find the investment worth your time.
Looking at these numbers and talking about them with a window expert will help you locate and purchase the best replacement windows you can find in Pittsburgh.