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When to upgrade to energy efficient windows

A Change for the Better: Investing in Energy Efficient Windows

Energy efficient home upgrades are increasingly popular, which is why so many homeowners are replacing their old windows with new ones to reduce their carbon footprint. Not only are they better for the earth, but they also provide a significant return on investment and, if well executed, can even pay for themselves in due time. But just how efficient are energy efficient windows, and when is the right time to make the change?

Signs It Might Be Time to Make the Change

Maybe you’ve noticed your heating and cooling bill is rising, or maybe the house feels a little drafty. If you’re concerned about the efficiency of your windows, trust your gut. According to the Efficient Windows Collaborative, if you suspect something might be amiss, the first thing to do is conduct an assessment.

While energy efficiency is an important component of making the decision, it’s not the only one. Your assessment should also take into account the following factors:

The condition of the window frame.

If you notice any moisture, mold, or mildew between the window frame and the wall, this has enormous implications on both the structure and energy usage of your home. When moisture gets into the cracks, it can cause wall materials to rot, which can also compromise your insulation. If this is the case, not only will you need to replace the window, but you’ll also need to repair any damage in your wall.

The year your home was built.

If your windows were installed prior to 1978, they may have traces of lead paint. While lead paint was banned in 1978 because of its toxicity, it was commonly used prior to that, especially in homes that were built before 1960. If you have old single pane windows, you could be exposing your family to lead toxicity just by opening and closing your windows. Friction creates dust, which is then dispersed in the air. If you have any suspicion that your windows may contain lead, they should be replaced immediately.

The overall condition of the window.

Some problems are more obvious than others. For example, a broken window or a window that leaks water is cause for concern. Any rot you notice will also need to be addressed. Finally, if your window sash is stuck or your window locking mechanisms don’t work, it’s time to problem-solve.

Not only do these problems compromise the health of your family and the infrastructure of your home, but they also make for an unsightly exterior. All in all, if you feel put off by your home’s façade, an aesthetic upgrade is entirely justifiable.

How to Choose New Windows

Even if your windows aren’t in total disrepair, they may still be contributing to your energy problem. Older windows are simply not as efficient in terms of insulation, temperature control, and airtightness – which all contribute to your energy bill.

As you do your research, take into account how ENERGY STAR® rates the energy efficiency of windows. For example, the cardinal direction the window faces has a major impact on its efficiency. South-facing windows are rated highest in terms of energy savings, especially during the often-frigid regional winters of the Northeast. East and west facing windows are much more difficult to regulate.

The language around energy efficiency can be a little complex, so let’s break it down.

Glazing.

This is the type of glass used for the windowpanes. More energy efficient windows tend to have more layers of glazing, so instead of the standard single-pane window, you may want to invest in double or triple layers.

Low-E.

Short for low emissivity, Low-E refers to how well the window reflects heat (rather than absorbing it). While installing a Low-E film on your existing windows will help, you’ll ensure better installation by investing in new windows that manufacture glazing layers to include Low-E films in between.

Gas fills.

Some energy efficient windows use argon or krypton gas between glazing layers to provide extra insulation. Gas fills are most efficient at lower altitudes, making them a great option for a predominantly sea level state like New Jersey.

Frame materials.

Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, which is why some manufacturers use a combination of materials to construct the frame. Wood offers a classic, elegant look, but it requires regular maintenance to ensure optimum results. Wood naturally expands and contracts based on moisture and temperature changes, which contributes to leakage. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is durable, effective, and requires little maintenance.

U-factor.

This term refers to the calculated degree of insulation against the outdoor temperature. The lower the U-factor, the more insulation the window will provide.

Other Considerations

According to HouseLogic, energy efficient windows provide some of the best returns on investment among home remodeling projects. The initial return on investment can be as much as 78 percent. You’ll also begin to see a change in your energy bill. Depending on your number of windows and their level of efficiency, a 2,000 square foot home could save anywhere from $126 to $465 annually by replacing single-pane windows with energy efficient ones.

Aside from cutting back on energy usage, one of the most important considerations in window replacement is aesthetic design. Beautiful windows can modernize an outdated exterior and add enormous curb appeal to your property.

Work with Us

When it comes to making a smart energy investment, K & B Home Remodelers, LLC is a window and siding installation company you can trust. Our experts hold extensive knowledge about energy ratings and attractive designs, so you can rest assured that we’ll work with you to come up with a solution that’s both elegant and pragmatic.

To learn more about how we can help you realize your New Jersey window and exterior design goals, contact us today. Simply fill out our online form for more information and we’ll get back to you promptly with a free quote. We’re always open, so call anytime!

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