When it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your home, replacement windows are a great place to start. Not only can they enhance your home’s appearance and increase its value, but they can also help to reduce your energy bills by minimizing heat loss and air leakage.
One important factor to consider when choosing replacement windows is their ability to control solar heat gains. Solar heat gains refer to the amount of heat that enters your home through the windows from the sun. While some solar heat gain can be beneficial in the winter months, too much can cause your home to become uncomfortably warm in the summer and drive up your air conditioning costs.
To maximize the energy efficiency of your replacement windows, it’s important to understand the different types of solar control features available and how they work.
Low-E Coatings Low-emissivity (low-E) coatings are a popular choice for controlling solar heat gains in replacement windows. These coatings are applied to the surface of the glass and help to reflect infrared and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause heat buildup and damage to furnishings.
There are two types of low-E coatings: passive and solar control. Passive low-E coatings are designed to control heat loss by reflecting radiant heat back into your home. Solar control low-E coatings are designed to reflect solar heat away from your home, while still allowing visible light to pass through.
Tinted Glass Tinted glass is another option for controlling solar heat gains in replacement windows. This type of glass is made by adding colorants to the glass during the manufacturing process, which helps to absorb some of the sun’s energy and reduce heat buildup.
While tinted glass can be effective at reducing solar heat gains, it may also reduce the amount of visible light that enters your home. This can make your home feel darker and require more artificial lighting, which can offset some of the energy savings.
Gas-Filled Windows Gas-filled windows are another option for controlling solar heat gains. These windows are filled with gases such as argon or krypton, which are better insulators than air. This helps to reduce heat loss and gain through the window, making them a popular choice for energy-efficient replacement windows.
Gas-filled windows can also help to reduce condensation on the inside of the glass, which can be a problem in colder climates.
Window Orientation Finally, it’s important to consider the orientation of your windows when choosing replacement windows. South-facing windows typically receive the most sunlight, so they may require more solar control features than windows on the north, east, or west sides of your home.
If you live in a climate with hot summers, you may want to consider windows with high solar heat gain coefficients (SHGCs) on the north, east, and west sides of your home to help warm your home in the winter. On the south side of your home, you may want to choose windows with lower SHGCs to reduce solar heat gain.
In conclusion, controlling solar heat gains is an important consideration when choosing replacement windows for your home. By understanding the different types of solar control features available and how they work, you can maximize the energy efficiency of your windows and reduce your energy bills.