If you’re looking to purchase replacement windows in Portsmouth NH for your home, you may be considering having energy efficient windows installed. Since they appear to be similar to regular windows, you may also find yourself wondering how they work and what makes them the better option. There are in fact several methods and features employed by the manufacturer to improve the efficiency of a window. These include coatings applied to the glass, gas between the window panes, and spacer systems.
Low-emissivity coatings, commonly referred to as Low-E, are applied to the glass to help improve the window’s ability to insulate. Untreated glass can absorb upwards of 80 percent of the sun’s ray and allow that heat to be transferred into your home. Alternatively, glass treated with a low-e coating will in turn reflect a substantial amount of the sun’s rays, resulting in less heat being allowed to transfer through the window. These coatings help the heat stay inside when it’s cold and outside when it’s hot. Since the coating is transparent, your view and visible light won’t be obstructed. There are also several tints and reflective coatings that can also be applied to the glass to help reduce the effect of heat from the sun’s rays.
Inert gases, usually Argon, are used in between the panes of a window to improve energy efficiency. The gases act as an insulator, protecting the home’s interior from the outside temperatures. Used in conjunction with low-e coatings, these gases help to keep the temperature of the inside pane close to the temperature of the interior air. What this does is reduce drafts and cold spots that are caused by air currents created when different temperatures come in contact. The gases are colorless so they won’t obstruct view or visible light and are also safe as they are non-toxic.
The primary function of a window’s spacer is to separate the panes of glass in the unit and provide relief from the stresses caused by expansion and compression. The spacer system provides a moisture barrier to prevent condensation from forming as well as a gas tight seal to prevent the loss of any gases used in the air space. While these spacers are commonly made of metal, vinyl or fiberglass, the most efficient material used is a silicone foam. There are also warm edge spacers that expand the affected area beyond just the edge of the glass.
Installing replacement windows that are energy efficient will better insulate your home, lowering your heating and cooling costs while also making your home more comfortable. Understanding the features and elements that make a window unit more efficient will help you in making a smart, knowledgeable purchasing decision. Don’t allow the money you spend on heating and air conditioning to literally go out the window!