Improve Your Home’s Efficiency with High-Performance Windows
How old are your windows? Older windows are often poorly insulated and not airtight, so they let in heat during the summer and cold in during the winter. This makes your home less comfortable, forces your heating and cooling systems to work harder, and causes your monthly energy bills go up.
High-performance windows can prevent drafts from leaking into your home – and stop money from slipping through your fingers.
Benefits of High-Performance Windows
Multiple panes of glass, low-e coatings, and high-quality weatherstripping make high-performance windows energy efficient, which translates to energy savings for you.
With reduced air leakage and glass with improved insulation, your home will feel more comfortable than ever.
Condensation forms when warm, humid air contacts a cold surface. We usually see condensation on windows when the temperature drops because they tend to be the coldest indoor surfaces. High-performance windows allow for a comfortable level of humidity in your home without creating condensation.
The additional panes of glass and increased airtightness create a buffer from outside noise, making your home more peaceful.
What to Look For
Make sure you check the following properties before you invest in high-performance windows:
Windows fall into two broad categories: fixed and operable. Fixed windows are less expensive and more airtight since there are no moving parts. Operable windows, on the other hand, provide ventilation and are available in sliding, casement, awning, and tilt and turn styles.
Triple Pane Glazing
Windows with three panes of glass (or triple pane glazing) have greater insulation properties than single or dual pane windows. They are the most common type of energy-efficient windows available today.
Low-Emissivity (Low-e) Coating
A low-e coating is an invisible metallic coating that’s applied to the glass. There are different types of low-e coating, each with specific properties. Some keep heat inside during the heating season, some reduce heat from the summer sun, and some help block harmful UV rays. A knowledgeable sales representative can help you choose the best coating for your needs.
Insulating spacers, also known as “warm edge” spacers, provide a thermal break between the window panes to keep the edges of the glass warmer. This reduces condensation around the edges of your windows.
Argon Gas Fill
To reduce heat loss, consider argon gas fill. Argon is an inert gas that acts as insulation between the panes of your window.
The rate of heat loss is determined by the U-value of a window. You want to look for windows with a low U-value because they have better insulating properties.
High Energy Rating (ER)
Look for windows with a high Energy Rating (or ER). A window’s ER combines the U-value, air leakage, and solar heat gain into a single number for an overall rating.
When you’re shopping, look for ENERGY STAR® certified windows. They’ve been tested to meet strict requirements for energy performance, they’re specifically designed for harsh climates, and they’re suitable for homes in Manitoba. Windows with the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient designation provide the best energy performance.
Maximize the Efficiency of your Existing Windows
If you’re not ready to upgrade to high-performance windows just yet, there are steps you can take to make your existing windows as energy efficient as possible:
- Reduce air leakage by caulking gaps between the trim and wall, and between the trim and window frame.
- Install or replace old or damaged weatherstripping on operable windows.
- Pick up a window insulating film kit. Sealing your windows with plastic film provides an additional barrier to reduce drafts.
- Use storm windows. They create an insulated air space that reduces condensation and heat loss/gain, and they can prolong the life of your interior windows.
Talk to a Contractor
Before you start shopping for high-performance windows, it might be worth speaking with an expert who can point you in the right direction and help you make sure you’re purchasing the right windows for your home.
We recommend getting quotes from at least three different contractors and choosing one that provides the best value (rather than the lowest price). Learn more about hiring a contractor.