If you feel a breeze any time you get near your windows, it is probably time to replace them. While it can take a big bite out of your budget, those dollars will be well spent if you invest them well. Here are some new technologies that can increase the energy efficiency of your windows so you can earn back the cost of the windows faster.
Filling the Panes With Gas
Multi-pane windows have long been the standard over single pane. The extra layers trap heat between them, creating a temperature barrier between the conditioned air inside your home and the great outdoors. Double pane is a minimum standard for an efficient window, but you can go with triple pane if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, as this will go a long way towards keeping your home more comfortable.
In order to take this concept to the next level, manufacturers have started filling the space between the panes with various types of gas. How much this increases the insulation rating depends greatly on the type of gas used, but they will all work to stop the flow of heat from one side to the other. The flip side of this is that some of the better insulators are more expensive to produce, so you need to balance insulation rating with cost.
Low-E Coatings On the Panes
While sunlight is a great way to naturally brighten your home, it can also cause problems. The ultraviolet rays that are part of sunlight will damage your furniture and heat up your house. In the winter, this little bit of extra heat may be welcome, but in the summer it is the last thing you need. Even worse, the sunlight is far stronger in the summer when you don't need the heat than in the winter when you could make use of it.
Fortunately there is a solution for this problem. Since the little bit of heat you might get in the winter is far outweighed by the unwanted heat in the summer plus the damage the UV rays can do to your furniture, the best thing to do is block everything that isn't visible light. To do this, purchase windows that come with a Low-E coating on them. Just like the gas fill, there are different materials that manufacturers use to create this coating, and they will have different levels of costs and benefits to go with them.
Enclosed Blinds Can Be Remote Controlled
Enclosed blinds have been around for awhile, and they are a bit of a luxury. However, now that you can combine them with smart home technology, they are a great way to improve the efficiency of your blinds. If you really want to capture the heat from sunlight in the winter, then you want to go with a coating that doesn't completely block the UV rays. However, you still want to keep that same heat out in the summer. Blinds can offer this function for you.
You can certainly do this with traditional blinds, but this will mean constantly having to remember to open and close them based on the outside temperature. By purchasing windows with enclosed blinds, they can be remotely controlled by a computer system. You can still override this system from a panel, your phone or your computer, or it can be set up to open and close the blinds automatically based on outdoor light and temperature.
Replacing your windows is a great way to upgrade your home with something that will pay you back with reduced energy costs. In addition, you will be able to enjoy your home more since you won't have to worry about avoiding the drafts. Replacement windows will take that concept even further and give your home a facelift you will really enjoy.