Buying new windows might be one of the best ways to save money and energy over the long term. New windows effectively keep your conditioned air inside and the outside air out. But choosing windows is tough if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The following guide will help you figure out what all of those strange labels on your new windows actually mean.
The manufacturer’s label
The first labels that you see on a window come from the manufacturer, and they tell you practically everything you need to know regarding the window’s construction:
- Frame material: Your manufacturer has to let you know what the window frame is actually made with. Aluminum, wood, vinyl, steel and fiberglass are some of the most common frame materials.
- Pane: Does your new window have single, double or triple panes of glass? HVAC contractors in Grand Rapids, MN recommend going with more panes if you want to save money on heating and cooling each year. More panes mean more layers of protection to keep cool air in and hot air out.
- Gas filling: Gas that’s sealed between the panes helps keep your windows as energy efficient as possible. Your manufacturer will either use argon or krypton for this purpose.
- Low-E: UV rays can wreak havoc on your furniture and carpeting. Thankfully, low-E treatment on glass can help. Try to find a window with a low-E label, as it could really help your furniture in the long run.
The NFRC label
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) also puts information on each window you see in a store. This independent organization tests windows and helps consumers figure out which window is best for their needs:
- U-factor: This number on your label will tell you how effectively the window keeps heat within your home. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the window.
- Solar heat gain coefficient: Windows are obviously supposed to keep hot air out during the summer. The solar heat gain coefficient will tell you how effective the window is at blocking hot air from coming in. Again, the lower the number, the more effective the window is going to be.
- Visible transmittance: If you thought that all windows let in the same amount of light, think again! This number tells you exactly how much light a window lets in compared to the others on the market. The higher the number, the more light allowed in.
- Air leakage: No window is perfect. They each let some air slip in and out through the cracks. However, you can likely save a ton of money on your energy bills by buying a window with a low air leakage number.
The Energy Star label
If a window meets certain criteria for energy efficiency, it’ll receive the Energy Star label. You may have to pay a bit more for these energy-efficient windows, but they’ll help you save hundreds of dollars throughout the year on your energy bills.
Still confused? That’s okay! Shopping for windows is tricky. If you need more help in deciding, be sure to pick up the phone and give our HVAC contractors in Grand Rapids, MN a call. One of our team members at Rapids Plumbing & Heating Inc. will gladly help you choose the best windows for you and your budget.