- Other Rooms
- Lawn & Garden
- Deck & Patio
- Repair & Install
How to Select Insulated WindowsBy: Danny Lipford
Should I choose replacement windows with argon gas and/or Low-E coating, or is this just a waste of money? -Janet
Windows account for up to a third of your home’s heat loss in the winter and half of the heat gain in the summer, and insulated windows can save between 15% – 50% on heating and cooling costs over single pane ones. Since energy prices are only going to keep rising, you would be wise to buy the best windows you can afford, and make sure they are properly installed to reduce air leaks around them.
All insulated windows are not created equal, however. The type of gas between the panes, coating on the glass, and the material used in constructing the frames all make a big difference in how well they perform. Here’s what to look for when buying your windows:
- Windows filled with argon gas have a 40% higher insulation value than plain air. Krypton gas is even better, with 140% higher insulating value, but is even more expensive.
- Low emittance (Low-E) coatings reduce the amount of infrared and UV light that can pass through the window, which can reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Warm climates require a different type and configuration of Low-E coating than cold climates, so check with the window manufacturer to be sure you’re getting the right one for your area.
- Clad-wood window frames have a higher insulation value than solid vinyl ones while plain aluminum frames provide the least insulation of all.
- The U-factor is a measure of heat loss, with the higher the number the less the insulating value. Choose a window with the lowest U-factor you can (0.30 or less).
- Another important number is the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), which measures how much sunlight penetrates through the glass in the form of heat. In cold climates, choose windows with a high SHGC to let heat into your house while warmer areas should look for a low SHGC (0.30 or less).
For more on windows, check out:
Please Leave a Comment
We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at todayshomeowner.com.
You might also like
- How to Replace Aluminum Windows with Vinyl Windows on Your Home
- Problem with Moisture Trapped Between Glass on Windows
- Energy Efficient Window and Door Replacement for Your Home
- How to Know if Insulated Windows Need Replacing
- How to Remove Moisture from Double Pane Windows
- How to Replace Insulated Double-Pane Glass Windows
- Today's Homeowner Partners: