Almost all homeowners have to replace their windows at some point. Fortunately, new windows come with a
number of benefits. When you update your windows, you can improve your home’s curb appeal as well as increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Yet, with so many energy-efficient window options available, many people struggle to decide which windows
will fit their needs best.
To find the perfect windows for your home, ask yourself the following questions.
1. What Type of Material Will Work Best?
The type of material you use for your window frame heavily influences your window’s energy efficiency. You
can choose from a wide variety of materials, each of which has its own pros and cons. Use the information
below to determine which material has the qualities you need and stays within your budget:
- Wood. Wood is one of the best window materials for insulating your home. However, wood windows
often require more upkeep than other window materials. Don’t choose this material if you live in rainy or
humid climates-wood is more likely to rot than other materials.
- Vinyl. If you need a less expensive material for your windows, consider vinyl. This material’s tight construction will reduce air leaks and increase your home’s energy efficiency. Keep in mind that vinyl materials have limited color selections. If you want your windows to fit your home’s exterior, you may need to choose a different material.
- Aluminum. This material isn’t the best for insulation, so if you want to promote energy efficiency, you should choose a different material. However, aluminum is very durable, which makes it practical for humid, rainy climates.
- Wood-clad. Wood-clad windows combine the benefits of vinyl and wood. These windows have a vinyl or aluminum exterior that encases the wood interior. When you choose wood-clad windows, you can enjoy the low-maintenance benefits of vinyl as well as the insulating benefits of wood.
As you look for windows, consult with a window technician to narrow down the best type of window for your
2. What Direction Do My Windows Face?
You can increase your windows’ energy efficiency by considering which direction they face. For instance, your home’s east- and west-facing windows will likely experience more sunlight than the north- and southfacing windows. Therefore, you will want to prevent heat from the sun from transferring into your home via the east and west windows.
You can achieve this heat control by buying windows with low-e glazing. During the winter, the low-e coating will reflect heat back inside your home, reducing heat loss. When the heat from the sun tries to enter your home during summer, the low-e glazing will reflect it back outside.
If you include reflective glazing on your windows, you can reduce the effect of sunlight on your home’s temperatures. You can also use shading devices on east and west windows during the summer to minimize heat from the sun.
Once you narrow down what direction your windows will face, you can better identify which energy-efficient features you need. Ideally, your salesperson can help you decide which windows need low-e glazing and which do not.
3. How Much Money Can I Spend?
Most homeowners replace their windows to reduce their monthly energy bill. However, consider all replacement costs to determine if buying new windows will save you money.
As you estimate the cost, consider the features you want, the size of your windows, the type of window material you prefer, and the installation costs. Before you start estimating prices, you will need to measure your windows with a tape measure.
4. What Is My Window’s Energy Star Rating?
You can assess how energy efficient your new windows are by checking their Energy Star rating. This brand created a rating standard that ensures each window meets a minimum energy-efficiency standard.
In some cases, Energy Star windows also qualify you for a tax rebate. If you decide to get Energy Star windows, ask your window installer or accountant about rebates you qualify for.
Ask these questions to narrow down your window options. If you have additional questions, write them down and ask your window expert. Doing so will ensure you get the most energy-efficient windows for your home.