Upgrade your old windows
You can minimize heat loss by improving the efficiency of your windows. For many homes, the best solution is to make your existing windows more efficient. While it may not be cost effective to replace your windows based on energy savings alone, there are many other benefits from new windows, including comfort, security, noise reduction, and aesthetics. If you decide to replace your windows, consider the following recommendations.
Good to know:
- Fix first. For many homes, the best solution is to make your existing windows more efficient by caulking or weatherstripping. In fact, for most homes, it is more cost effective to improve the efficiency of existing windows than to replace them with new models.
- Consider replacement. If you've already improved the insulation levels and sealed air leaks throughout your home and you still want to minimize air leakage, replacing your windows may be an appropriate next step. Remember, efficient windows are a significant investment.
- Already renovating or upgrading? If you're already renovating or replacing your windows for another reason — such as for comfort, appearance, or convenience — then you should consider the efficiency of your windows when making your purchase decision. It usually pays to invest in a highly efficient window if you are already buying a new window.
- Hire a professional. To get the most out of your windows, ensure they are properly installed by checking that all gaps around the new windows are sealed and caulked before the trim work is replaced.
What to look for in a window:
- ENERGY STAR® certified windows. These are the most efficient option. ENERGY STAR certified windows, doors, and skylights can reduce your heating and cooling costs up to 8%.
- The NFRC® label. Comparing the label across window models, look for the following:
- A low U-value, which indicates the window insulates well.
- The proper solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) for your region, meaning the amount of heat transmitted through the windows by the sun.
- A low air leakage value.
- A high condensation resistance value, which indicates that the window can effectively prevent moisture build-up.
- CSA A440.2-09 Fenestration Energy Performance certification.
- The right materials. For the frame and sash materials, wood, vinyl, and fiberglass are more insulating than aluminum.
- Prevent moisture problems: If you have inefficient windows, chances are you will see fog or frozen water on your window pane or pooled water on the window sill. Over time, chronic moisture can create mold problems and other property damage. More efficient windows keep the glass and frame warmer and have fewer moisture-related problems.
- Protect fabrics, artwork , and other household goods: Have you ever moved a wall hanging and noticed that the paint on your wall has faded compared to the paint behind the wall hanging? Most fading is due to sunlight hitting surfaces inside your home. Sunlight can damage the fabric on couches and other furniture, as well as rugs and artwork. Most efficient windows have a "low-e" coating that helps keep out some UV rays and reduces fading in general.