Can you use impact windows to insulate your home? Surprisingly, the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Most homeowners know about the added protection impact windows and doors provide during hurricanes and other adverse weather.
What they’re less aware of is the impact windows may be able to save them hundreds of dollars a year. That’s right. When correctly installed, impact windows can keep the hot air out, the cold air in, and anywhere between $125 and $456 in your pocket annually according to the US Department of Energy.
Why Your Old Windows May Be Costing You Money
Traditional windows are made up of a single pane of glass and usually have wood or metal framing. The problem with a single pane of glass is that it provides almost no insulation. It transfers heat and light right into and out of your home.
This causes your HVAC system to work harder to keep your home at a consistent temperature. That’s because it’s constantly struggling to either warm cold air or cool hot air that is seeping through your uninsulated single-pane windows.
The situation is worsened if your frames are metal, or older and wooden. The metal cools or heats to the surrounding temperature. And, it’s radiating this unwanted air back into your house.
If your frames are wooden and haven’t been well maintained over the years, eventually the wood develops cracks. There is air leakage through these spaces.
On top of all of this, if your windows are poorly fitted or oriented you may be creating a situation where your house becomes a money pit.
In this downward spiral, your HVAC system is overworked. It breaks down, racking up those repair bills. You fix it. You lose air because of your windows’ poor insulation capacity. Your utility bills are high. The HVAC is still overworked. It breaks down again.
Get the picture?
Upgrading Is A Good Idea
All of the above is why it’s a good idea to consider getting impact windows. Impact windows are one of the first lines of defense against overspending and an uncomfortably warm or cool house.
This is because of their design. Most modern impact windows come double paned and the glass is treated with protective coatings. Between the panes of glass is either a gas or filler, providing a further layer of insulation.
A new installation wouldn’t be complete without frames that have high thermal resistance. Impact window frames are made of several materials that resist temperature transfer and air leakage.
Let’s break down how each of these features helps impact windows insulate your home.
Glass and Coatings
The US Department of Energy says heat loss and gain through single pane windows represent 25 to 30 percent of all residential heating and cooling use.
When selecting your new impact windows and their glass and coatings, look for products that:
- Have energy efficiency ratings
- Meet National Fenestration Rating Council standards
Once you’ve decided on your impact windows, talk with your contractor about coatings. Two types of coatings that might interest you are Low E coatings and Spectrally Selective Coatings.
Low E or Low Emission coatings are metallic oxides that coat the glass in a thin, almost invisible layer. Low E helps to reduce U-factor or the rate at which heat is lost through a window.
Because Low E also manages daylight transference, it lowers the level of heat transmitted into your home.
Spectrally Selective coatings, meanwhile, work similarly but target a different culprit. They block infrared radiation from entering your home, reducing heat overall. The coating is also transparent. Spectrally Selective coatings are best when you want to preserve the view and the amount of light entering your home, but still want to keep it cool.
Of the two, Low E coatings are the lower cost option.
Gas and Fillers
Manufacturers use inert gasses like argon and krypton in between sheets of glass in double-paned windows. They also help slow down the transmission of heat or cold through the windows.
Window Frame Materials
As we’ve stated before, metal and wooden frames are poor insulators. Meanwhile, vinyl is considered to be one of the best window frame materials. Fiberglass and composites also receive good ratings as window frame materials.
For more guidance on the potential good impact windows can have on your home’s insulation capacity, you should talk to a professional installation company. Why not us? Call us at 1-305-925-0818.