How to Choose Your Windows
Last modified: 2018/08/16 | Approximate reading time 3 mins
It’s a well-known fact that windows are an important part of any home. During the day, they let the natural light come in, creating a nice atmosphere and in the summer, we open them up to ventilate the rooms. Wind coming in through open windows is a good thing, however, when it starts to seep in even when the windows are closed, this indicates a problem. The opposite is also true, especially in the winter, when our main goal is to keep our house warm. We want to keep the heat inside, not let it get out.
Fortunately, there are different types of highly energy-efficient windows that will help you save money on your heating bills by controlling air drafts and maintaining the general room temperature in your house.
Energy efficient windows
If the time has come to change your windows, before you take your pick and start installing (or having someone install) them, find out more about the efficiency level of different models. However, before you make any decisions, be sure that changing your windows is truly necessary. Sometimes, opting for such a drastic solution is not the best way to go.
However, if you are planning a renovation project, you may want to take the opportunity to renew your windows. If such is the case, check out current government incentives and subsidies for energy efficient renovations. In some cases, you may be able to get funding for your project. In the meantime, check with your local authorities to learn more about the best way to get rid of your old windows.
Window Energy Rating
There are many ways to evaluate a window’s energy rating. In most cases, energy efficient products get an ER rating (for Energy Rating), which is attributed by the CSA group. This group is in charge of establishing a calculation method that takes various things into consideration, such as :
- Heat gains resulting from the sun;
- Thermal losses, be it from the frame, the spacer (material used to create a space between the glass and the window) or the glass itself;
- Heat losses stemming from air leakage.
This rating, which is a weighted measure including the previously-mentioned factors, produces a result that is calculated on a scale of 0 to 50. Higher numbers indicate better efficiency levels. Amongst the most famous products are those that carry an Energy Star qualification.
These window models include double (or triple) panes with glass that lets very little heat pass through. The space between the panes is filled with inert gas, like argon or krypton. Argon, - which is less expensive than krypton but slightly less efficient- works well to reduce thermal loss when inserted between window panes, as it works better as an insulator when compared to regular air.
By comparison, traditional windows are filled with air and only include double panes, with standard quality glass. For more information about Energy Star products, click here.
Different types of windows are divided according to separate categories, which are split by climatic zones. This means that in addition to choosing products with the best energy efficiency levels, we must also make sure that the windows we choose are suited for the climate in the area where we live.
Otherwise, even when using windows with a good energy rating, any benefit they may have had will be nullified. Canada is split into three (3) climatic zones, depending on the average yearly temperature (to find out where you are, click here) However, some products don’t necessarily have the official seal but they still meet the CSA standards.
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