Energy efficiency awareness undoubtedly leads to money saved in the long run for consumers. The less energy used, the less homeowners have to spend on utilities that help them find comfort while working and relaxing. Although there are many factors to consider when converting homes into eco-friendly, energy efficient ones, an often overlooked one is the window.
Natural light and fresh air enter homes through windows. They also provide homeowners with a view of the outdoors, as well as a way to get out of the house in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, they are also culprits when it comes to unnecessary heat loss and energy consumption.
There are several considerations homeowners can take to assure they are saving money through increased energy efficiency in their windows. Some considerations are costlier than others; however, in the long run, no matter the amount of up-front investments, consumers will realize huge savings.
Fixing Operable Windows
If the home’s windows are in good, working order, and are free of major issues, then simply improving their airtightness may do the trick. For larger windows that leak air, it may be beneficial for homeowners to add locks to them to help maintain a tighter seal. In instances where casement windows are leaky, replacing or repairing their hinges will help them become more efficient. To assure maximum operation of windows around the house, annual hardware cleaning, lubricating moving parts, and tightening hardware screws are essential.
Caulking and Weatherstripping
The easiest ways to combat air leaks for all windows is to make sure they are well caulked and that the right weatherstripping is used. Once homeowners have determined the location of their window leaks, they can use either method to improve energy efficiency in the home.
Caulk is used when fixed joints need to be sealed. For example, caulk can be used at the point where the interior window trim meets the wall for a fixed window. Leakage is reduced when a continuous bead of caulk is applied around the window trim, between the trim and the frame, and at the mitered joints.
Weatherstripping is used in windows with moving parts. After making an assessment, homeowners have to decide whether their old weatherstripping needs to be replaced or if they simply need to add some to their leaky windows. Older, wood frames can be weatherstripped using self-adhesive V-strips, while hinged windows may require combination V-strip and compression-type products to assure tight seals.
Homes with glazed windows may become more energy efficient if additional layers of glazing are used to improve its overall thermal resistance. Adding layers of glaze will allow multiple layers of air to get trapped and sealed between each one, providing the home with increased insulation. In cold climates, homeowners may want to consider at least three layers of glaze.
Extra glazing can also be added to windows through the addition of storm windows. They can be either exterior or interior systems, and can be permanent or temporary. The extra layers of glazing through the addition of storm windows helps reduce energy costs in the long run.
If homeowners are interested in dressing up their homes while considering their windows’ energy efficiency, they can easily add window coverings to their homes. An added layer of blinds or curtains can help keep the house cool in the summer and contain the heat in the winter. Tinting windows can also be a form of covering that keeps out the sun’s intense rays, ultimately saving in cooling costs.
When it comes to increasing energy efficiency in homes, one of the first things to think about is the effect the windows may have. They are one of the easiest parts of the house to address when it comes to airtightness. Making sure all the windows of a home are sealed tightly can decrease energy consumption, in turn, saving money in the long run.
Article by Daniel Flynn. He frequently shares his best tips for saving money on home design by writing for homeowner blogs. Visit the Albertaenergyproviders.ca site for more ideas.