qualities-energy-efficient-windowsThe biggest motivator for buying new windows is energy efficiency.

Homeowners get tired of weatherproofing old and drafty windows year after year, only to continue to see their heating bills skyrocket. However, the market is overrun with windows claiming better efficiency, and it can be difficult for the average homeowner to evaluate their options.

When shopping for energy efficient replacement windows look for these five qualities:

One: Multiple Panes of Glass

A single pane window is your home’s worst enemy in winter. That one pane of glass makes it easy for cold air to flow in and your heated air to flow out.

Double pane windows are far more efficient, and triple pane windows are typically the most efficient. That being said, more panes of glass do not always equal an energy-efficient replacement window. You must also look for other characteristics before choosing the windows that are right for your home and energy bill.

Two: Gas Fills Between Panes

Energy-efficient replacement windows make use of inert gas in between panes of glass.

These harmless, invisible gasses like argon or krypton act as an additional layer or insulation for the window to help keep warm air in and cold air out.  Not all multiplane windows make use of gas fills, so it is important to double-check with a window professional before assuming gas is present.

Three: Low-E Glazing

A low-emission (low-e) coating is a thin, nearly invisible metallic coating on glass that improves the window’s performance as a thermal insulator.

Low-e glazing makes sense in every climate and it also protects from UV rays, helping to keep carpet, furniture, and décor safe from fading.

Four: Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

On a cold winter day, sunlight shining in can seem like a perfect treat. In the summer, however, that extra light and warmth can add a lot to your energy bill. This is where solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) comes in to play.

The amount of solar radiation that can pass through a window is measured in terms of solar heat-gain coefficient, where 0 equals the least amount of heat allowed through a window and 1 equals the most. So a SHGC rating of 0.5 means that 50% of the available solar heat can pass through the window.

Five: Insulating Window Frames

The window frame itself is important in an energy-efficient replacement window as well, and each option on the market comes with pros and cons.

Vinyl is a common choice because it’s budget-friendly but it’s still very energy efficient. Wood frames provide the most insulation, but they require more upkeep for homeowners. There are other finishes to choose from as well, and talking with a replacement window professional can help you navigate all the options of energy efficient windows—from frames to glazing—to find out what best suits your needs.

Knowing the five most important qualities of energy-efficient replacement windows is an important tool for homeowners looking to upgrade. However, the market can still be a very confusing place. If you are ready to replace your old, drafty windows and you want to work with a partner who will put your needs and your budget first, contact the experts at Legacy Remodeling in Pittsburgh today. We can help you choose the right windows to add value to your home, and keep more money in your wallet this winter.