Windows provide natural light, a way to ventilate the home without relying on mechanical systems, an emergency escape, and an alternative option to heat homes for free through passive solar heating. They are, however, holes in our wall construction, making them by far the weakest portion of any home’s thermal barrier unless we choose high-performance windows. Much like your washing machine or refrigerator over time, your windows and doors also need to be replaced. Hence why identifying what makes a good quality window is so important. Here are 5 characteristics of a high-performance window:
While the glass used in high-performance windows is obviously significant and susceptible to a variety of different construction processes, the materials that make up your frames are just as important. Regarding framing materials, you have several possibilities, including fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum, and a few others. Every material has its own advantages, so it is critical to assess your specific demands and situations. However, a high-performance window should last you plenty of years with the right care and maintenance.
Vinyl window frames are currently one of the most popular window frame options for homeowners because of their versatility. They are considered to be good insulators and they are also highly flexible materials that can be utilized to create the vast majority of window designs. Vinyl material’s adaptability allows you to achieve precisely what you want in terms of look while still holding up well against all kinds of weather conditions. On average vinyl windows can last from 20-40 years with proper care.
Aluminum replacement windows are noted for their durability and longevity. They also offer a more contemporary appearance than vinyl windows and complement sleek and modern home designs. Aluminum window frames let in a lot of light and require little upkeep, especially if they are not painted. They will not deteriorate in the sun, nor will they rot or mildew as a result of the regular weather-related issues that affect other types of framing materials. With appropriate maintenance, aluminum windows can last 40-50 years.
Fiberglass window frames are extremely durable and easy to maintain. These window frames are comparable in form to vinyl frames and are constructed from machined fiberglass panels. Fiberglass windows are renowned to be the most resistant to weather and temperature fluctuations of any material. Since fiberglass is so similar in composition to the glass panes used in windows, both materials expand and contract roughly the same amount in response to temperature variations. Fiberglass is a great insulator and is used to create window frames that limit heat transmission. With careful upkeep, these windows may endure up to 80 years.
2. Included sound-resistance
High-performance windows not only prevent the varying weather conditions from entering your home but also minimize the amount of sound that enters. You could be located in a busy intersection, or live in a dense urban area. Your home could be an escape from all the noise pollution but to have a space that stops loud sounds from penetrating, you will need sound-resistant windows. One feature that can reduce outdoor noise is the number of panes a window has. Multiple panes add more layers of insulation which helps to dampen outside noises. A window can have double or triple panes that can drastically reduce the amount of sound that gets in by slowing the transfer of sound waves. However, noise reduction is supported by more than just the number of panes it has but by how well the windows are installed. Installation is one of the most critical aspects of window performance. Proper installation ensures airtight sealing while also keeping noise at bay.
3. Make the home more comfortable
Humidity and home heating go hand in hand. When cold air from outside enters your home and is heated by your heater, the air expands. While the moisture in the air stays constant, the humidity is significantly lowered. The dry interior air will seek moisture wherever it can find it. The result is it will pull moisture from your skin, making you feel colder and leading you to want to turn up the heat even more. It will also cause condensation to form on the colder surface of your windows. Windows do not use any energy. They do, however, have an effect on heat loss. Quality windows will not only relieve strain on the heating system but will also help to control the humidity level in the house, making everyone inside more comfortable. As mentioned double and triple-pane windows act as a sound barrier but also help to maintain the comfort of your home. The multiple panes create a space in between the glass panes to trap air and in some cases gas, which acts as a shield between the outdoor temperature and indoor temperature.
4. They are energy efficient
In relation to making your home more comfortable, high-performance windows are also energy efficient. To further add to the insulating effectiveness of windows’ performance, the space in between the panes can be filled with argon gas. Argon gas is a colorless, odorless gas that has been used by window manufacturers for years. Since argon gas is denser than air, it enhances thermal insulation efficiency when added to the glass unit in double-pane windows. Argon gas windows, when combined with a particular low-E glass coating, bring the temperature of the window closer to ambient temperatures in your home. This procedure eventually removes air currents and drafts caused by temperature differences.
Another energy-efficient feature that high-performance windows have is low-E glass coating. A coating on Low-E glass reflects both short and long-wave infrared light. Visible light is the only light that flows through low-E coatings. Which results in no reduced natural light from entering your home but without the harmful rays. Low emissivity glass also limits heat transmission while allowing visible light to flow through in both directions. During the changing seasons, low-E glass can help you save money on energy by limiting the amount of heat that escapes and enters your home on a hot summer or cold winter day. Low-E glass also keeps hot air out of the home throughout the summer. While also maintaining warm air in the home throughout the winter, reducing the load on the HVAC system.
5. Protects you and your home
High-performance windows should also be able to protect everyone and everything within your home. The low-E coating that acts as insulation for keeping your home comfortable also serves as protection from sun damage. Low-E coatings offer extra protection, minimizing fading of indoor items when compared to windows that are not treated. This not only provides critical protection for you and your family, but it also saves you the expense of replacing or repairing expensive furnishings by securing your house with high-performance windows. In addition to protecting you and your furnishings from UV rays, high-performance windows also add a degree of security to your home. Durable windows can be difficult to break into making them a security feature from forced entry and extreme weather conditions.
It is simple to assume that windows only serve a simple purpose, block out the rain and snow and be a feature that you can look out from. In addition, as long as they are not broken, they will operate great. This, however, is not always the case. Installing high-quality windows not only makes you more comfortable and saves you money in the long run, but it also improves your safety and overall comfort. Installing windows that are not only appealing but high-performance ensures that you can get the most value from your investment.