4 Money-Saving Features to Look for in Replacement Windows

You do a lot to save money and improve your home's energy efficiency. You carefully monitor your air conditioner and furnace use. You unplug items not currently in use. And you perform many of your own repairs. Yet did you ever think about replacing your windows? Though they seem like they're in decent shape, your older windows could total 10% to 25% of your heating and cooling bill. As your windows let conditioned air out, your HVAC system will struggle to maintain your set temperatures. But before you install just any new window, keep in mind that not all glass choices and frame options offer the same benefits. If you want to save money on heating and cooling, look for the following features in your replacement. 1. Energy Star Ratings If you don't know much about windows, your options may seem overwhelming at first. Fortunately, a lot of the hard work has already been done for you by Energy Star. When you look for products with an Energy Star rating, you can trust your new windows will meet the strictest energy efficiency guidelines. Energy Star windows have a minimal heat transfer rate, a low air-leakage measurement, and reliable window insulation. You can also expect your Energy Star windows to resist water buildup and condensation as well as maximize the amount of visible light that passes through the glass. 2. Multiple Panes Given the choice between single-, double-, and triple-pane windows, you might feel tempted to choose the cheapest option: single-pane windows. With each glass layer, the initial cost rises, and you may worry that your budget can't handle the multi-pane options. However, double- and triple-pane windows create pockets of air between each of the glass panels. As heat travels more quickly through solids than through gases, the layers of trapped air minimize the amount of heat that flows into and out of your home. Although multi-pane windows may cost you more initially, they can cut your utility bills and save more money over time. 3. Gas-Filled As mentioned above, gases insulate your windows and reduce heat loss in your home. The more layers of gas you have, the more efficient your windows. However, some gases stop heat more effectively than others. Viscous, slow-moving gases allow for less heat convection than ordinary air, resulting in better insulation. Consequently, many window manufacturers pump argon or krypton into the space between panels, as both of these gases are non-toxic, clear, and odorless. Krypton gas has a greater density than argon, so it acts as a better insulator. Unfortunately, krypton gas remains the most expensive option to produce and use. In KC, if through triple pane with krypton gas will offer the greatest efficiencies the need for it in the Kansas City area is not as big as the northern states. If you want the most bang for your buck, choose argon-filled double-paned windows, as they offer the most efficient barrier for each dollar you spend. 4. Low-E Coatings Low-E, or low-emissivity, windows have a special microscopic coating of metallic oxides. Though the coating looks clear and allows you to see easily out of your window, it inhibits the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that passes into your home. When you purchase Low-E glass, you never have to worry about the coating scratching off or wearing away due to weather. Typically, manufacturers apply the coating to the inside of the panel so it has extra protection. However, if you don't have the budget for Low-E glass, you can also purchase and apply window films or sprays to your new windows to achieve a similar effect. Keep in mind that these exterior treatments require regular reapplication to effectively lower your bills. Talk to an Expert About Your New Windows When your windows have all of these features, you can soon expect to see a drop in your monthly utility bills. But of course, you don't have to have each of these features to save money. Talk to a professional at Cornerstone about which options would best fit your budget, your needs, and your location.