If you’re remodeling an older home or building a new one, getting the right windows can make your home more energy efficient, raise the home’s value, and improve the home’s appearance. Here are some things to consider when window shopping. 😉
According to Energy Star, new windows can increase the energy efficiency of a house, saving homeowners between seven and fifteen percent on electricity annually. There are a lot of options out there for materials, and for the climate here in southeast Texas, you want to choose windows designed for the heat and moisture.
Let’s start with the frame. You can choose from vinyl – which offers a great value, energy efficiency, and is easy to care for. However, some homeowners don’t care for this type of material and its limited color options. Wood is a good insulator and can be painted to any color you’d like. When going with wood windows, it is best to get a wood-cladding on the exterior side to provide that extra protection from the elements. Aluminum is a third option that is very cost effective, although it is not noted for its insulation properties.
Moving on to the actual window, the most popular choice for a long time now is a double-paned window with Low-E glass, with a vacuum-sealed argon fill. Let’s break that down a little. Double-paned means that there are two pieces of glass. Low-E glass (short for low emissivity) has a microscopically thin, transparent coating that reflects heat, thus keeping the interior of your home cooler. Argon is an inexpensive, non-toxic, odorless gas that is vacuum sealed in-between the window panes. It helps prevent frost from occurring at the bottom of the window and also increases sound proofing. Investing in triple-paned windows can provide for further insulation, and the two spaces between the panes can be filled with argon.
Finally, some other styles and features to think about. Grilles can add a touch of texture to your home’s appearance. The grilles are usually placed inside the glass to make cleaning easier. Consider getting windows that fold inwards to make exterior cleaning much easier as well.
And as always, do your research on the manufacturer of the window and the contractor you choose to install. It is best to check with local rating agencies or get recommendations from other vendors you’re familiar with.