If you live in a climate where the winters are bitter cold and the summers bring scorching heat, then you need to be very careful when choosing replacement windows for your home. The windows you pick out need to be able to keep the cold and wetness outside in the winter and the hot air outside in the summer months. Here are four essential features to look for in replacement windows for a home in a temperate climate.
Glass is a terrible insulator. In other words, most of the heat waves that hit it pass right though it. For this reason, plain glass windows are the primary source of heat loss in a home during the winter and the primary source of heat gain during the summer. Thankfully, there is a way around this. Low-e glass is glass that has been treated with a special metallic coating, which causes it to repel most heat waves instead of absorbing them.
Look for glass windows that have both interior and exterior low-e coatings. In the winter, heat will bounce back into your home instead of passing through to the outdoors. In the summer, heat from the sun will bounce back towards the outside instead of raising the temperature of your home.
Low-e windows don't look like they are tinted or metallic. You can't tell the difference between low-e glass and regular glass unless you look very, very closely, and low-e windows still let in plenty of natural sunlight.
The sash is the border of material that surrounds the glass portion of your window. The sash fits into the frame, which is a part of the wall. It's very important to choose the right material for your window sashes, since changes in temperature and humidity levels can cause certain materials to warp and become leaky.
Your best bet when it comes to window sashes is typically wood composite. This material is made from wood fibers and a plastic matrix. It looks like wood, and like wood, it is a great insulator. However, it does not bow, warp, or rot in response to the changes in temperature and humidity. Wood composite sashes don't need to be scraped and re-painted like wooden sashes, either, as the color is built into the material.
Most windows today have two panes of glass. The gas between the glass acts as an insulator, reducing heat transfer in both the summer and the winter. It's best if you choose windows that have argon gas between the panes rather than plain air. Argon is a better insulator than air, so this type of window will be more efficient, leading to lower heating and AC bills.
You can also find windows filled with krypton gas. While these are more efficient than argon gas-filled windows, they are only marginally so, and they come with a much higher price tag. If you have room in your budget, they are certainly a good choice, but argon gas will do the job almost as well for much less.
It's important that your window sashes seal tightly into the frame so that air does not leak between them. If you have double-hung windows, make sure you look for ones that tighten into the frame when you lock them shut. Generally, this is done with a spring mechanism. If you don't mind windows that crank open instead of sliding up and down, then consider choosing casement windows. They lock even more tightly into the frame than double-hung varieties, making for improved efficiency.
To learn more about the best windows for your home, talk to local contracting companies like Jerry Newman Roofing & Remodeling, Inc. They'll be familiar with your climate and its unique demands.