If your average home utility bill is high enough to give you heart failure, it may be time to consider options that increase your home’s energy efficiency. But if you’re interested in options beyond simple lifestyle changes such as closing custom blinds Simi Valley homeowners often find upgraded windows to be of significant benefit, as they help reduce heat gain during the day and heat loss during the night. But what do you need to know to select the best possible windows for your home?
In its most basic form, a window is simply glass held within a frame created from another material, such as wood, metal or vinyl. Originally created in the 3rd or 4th century CE, windows used small pieces of glass that were hand-blown, then attached together with lead into a larger piece. These windows quickly transferred heat in or out of a structure and leaked air around the edges. By comparison, most windows produced today have a minimum of two panes of annealed glass separated by a spacer with gas between the panes. Annealing is a process by which glass is slowly cooled, to make it stronger and more resilient against breakage. The glass itself isn’t what makes energy efficient windows, but rather the combination of an insulated space filled with a gas to prevent thermal conduction combined with glazing that reflects UV rays and radiant heat.
Before you become concerned about the gas used as an insulator between glass panes, don’t be. Most double- or triple-pane windows use argon or krypton gas. These noble gases are chosen because they are odorless and non-toxic. They’re also inert, which means they won’t react to any other material in the window, and these gases are already present in our world’s air. These gases are denser than air, providing better insulated value and blocking UV rays, and are hermetically sealed between the panes of glass, preventing leaks. Though early double-paned windows used vacuum technology that would often leak, leading to fogginess or cloudiness in the glass, these modern alternatives do a great job of improving your energy efficiency while maintaining your beautiful view.
Another place where you can achieve excellent energy efficiency is by using Low E glazing. A Low E glazing is essentially a coating that can be either clear or tinted, which can further reflect heat and UV radiation away from your home in warm climates while allowing heat to be reflected back into the home while blocking UV radiation for homes in cold climates. These features, when used together, creates a dynamic system that helps prevent your HVAC system from running constantly in an attempt to keep up and prevents condensation from forming because of a drastic change in temperature from one side of the system to the other.
But there are additional options available to help your home become more energy efficient without having to replace all your windows. Using energy efficient window treatments such as cellular shades or insulated drapes help improve the insulated value of your windows without having to make a serious investment. Adding exterior shading features helps shade your windows and reduces the amount of solar heat gain and UV radiation that reaches the interior of your home, as do clear or tinted window films.