In the midst of a wicked Madison WI winter the value of energy-efficient windows is often obvious. Heat gained and lost accounts for as much as 30% of a home’s annual heating/cooling costs. And, when the Polar Vortex swoops into Wisconsin that number rises – especially in older homes.
Highly efficient, modern windows reduce energy consumption and make you and your family more comfortable year-round in the bargain.
Even when older windows look to be in good conditions they are probably not as efficient as the new technology in Pella windows. To check on the performance of your existing windows, look for:
- Caulk concerns – windows that have been around for a few years (or more) need caulking to seal out air and water. Check for cracks, missing pieces or gaps.
- Air leaks – windows should be sealing tightly top and bottom. Be sure the locking mechanisms are pulling vital parts together and forming an air-proof seal.
- Weather stripping – most windows have some kind of weather stripping around the outside edges. Double hung designs usually have it between the two components, too, to seal them as they move.
If your personal inspection turns up problems with caulk or weather stripping the likelihood of air leaks summer and winter increase. When you windows are all the same age if you find a problem with one there’s probably the same issue with others. A single air leak can impact heating/cooling costs and efficiency. Multiply that by the number of windows you have and you’ll realize the potential loss – and saving highly-efficient windows represent.
Measuring The Value Of Energy-efficient Windows
Choosing windows designed to take advantage of the latest technology is easier now than ever. Labels and rankings allow you to compare brands and models. Pella windows are all highly ranked by the national Energy Star® rating system. That rating has to be verified and certified by independent testing facilities.
What are windows tested for? Things like:
- U-Factor– measures the rate of heat transferred and tells how well a window insulates. U-Factor values range from .025 to 1.25. The lower the U-Factor the better a window insulates.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)– measures the amount of solar energy transferred from outside in and tells how well a window blocks the heat from sunlight. Recorded on a scale of 0 to 1. Common window values range from .25 to .80 – the lower the number the less solar heat enters through the glass. Pella windows feature InsulShield® energy-efficient glass to increase insulating ability and ensure a low SHGC value.
- Air Leaks (AL) – the rate air passes through window joints is a critical measurement determining the level your new windows can achieve. It’s measured in cubic feet of air going through one square foot of window area per minute. The lower the AL value, the less air is leaking. Most of today’s building codes have a maximum allowable level.
- Visible Transmittance (VT) – measures the amount of light passing through a window. Also measured on a scale of 0 to 1, the higher the VT, the more light entering through the window.
- Condensation Resistance– water building up on window frames can lead to mold, mildew and rot. Condensation resistance is scored on a scale of 0 to 100 – the higher the number the better a window resists condensation.
What Is Energy Star®
Energy Star is a government-backed symbol of energy efficiency. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates product evaluations and what it takes to get an Energy Star rating. Estimates suggest Energy Star certified products saved American households and businesses more than $450 Billion. And more than 3.5 Trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity since 1992.
Make Energy-efficient Windows Your Personal Choice
Replacing worn out windows with high-tech models is a wise investment. And, not only do new windows promise energy efficiency, they provide additional opportunities, including:
- A new look – have you always wanted larger windows? Or windows that just look different? You can chance the appearance of your home inside and out with replacement windows. Style influences window design and window design influences style – double-hung vs. casement, etc.
- More light – new windows offer choices in sizes and shapes, including architectural elements like bay and bow windows. High-tech windows increase natural light inside and create curb appeal at the same time.
After you’ve decided to investigate new windows, consider these priorities:
- Warranties–windows are not created equal. Therefore companies with extended warranties represent energy-efficient windows that will stand the test of time. Pella windows have lifetime warranties that rank among the best in the business.
- Reliable Installation– not all window installations are equal either. Ensuring high-quality windows are installed by trained, experienced professionals makes a difference. Not only do they do it right the first time, certified window installation teams stand behind the product and their workmanship
No matter how your new windows are rated and engineered, they don’t perform up to their potential with inefficient installation. Select the latest Pella windows for your home and call upon our skilled, experienced and factory-trained crews.
Sims represents an elite and limited group of specialists Pella trusts to install its windows and honor all its extensive warranty commitments. Proper installation makes a huge difference in performance. Sims Exteriors and Remodeling is a Certified Installation Contractor for all Pella windows in the Madison WI area. Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling for energy-efficient windows for your Madison WI home.