(ARA) - Homeowners everywhere are giving inefficient windows the cold shoulder this year. As the temperature outside drops, homeowners notice that inefficiencies quickly turn into rising utility bills.
As much as half of the energy used in a home goes toward heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To minimize the energy and dollars spent to heat a home this winter, it's essential that windows are energy efficient.
Why should people look for energy-efficient windows?
“They can cut their heat bills, plus, with the stimulus money available, you get more bang for the buck right now,” says Tim Smith, president of Glass City Window and Door.
“With a 30 percent credit for windows that meet government criteria, you can get a 30 percent better window than your budget would have been able to handle,” he says. “The credit is up to $1,500.”
The criteria are a .30 or less U-factor and a .30 or less solar coefficient.
Choosing windows with insulated Low-E glass is an important step in making a room more energy efficient because the special coating helps reflect some of the interior heat back into the home. These double-paned windows also greatly enhance energy efficiency, compared to single-paned windows.
Beyond the initial purchase price of a product, consider the long-term value that energy efficient products offer in terms of annual measurable savings.
“Today, most windows are pretty energy efficient,” says Chad Thompson, sales manager of WindowPro in Maumee. “For a very low cost, most companies are giving, standard, a very efficient window.
“What will make the difference is the overall quality of the window itself, which will maintain the efficiency over a period of time. With a higher quality product, you will have a much more efficient window for the long term,” he says. “The payback of windows does happen, but it doesn't happen right away. It takes years.
“A good rule of thumb, in choosing quality windows, is the cost,” Mr. Thompson continues. “You know the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for.' It works with most products, and it works with windows.”
He says that homeowners should look for strong frame materials. Fiberglass, he says, has eight times the strength of vinyl. In addition, he notes that a better quality window will have higher-grade seals.
“There's not a big difference in the efficiency of glass from day one. The quality of the glass will make a difference down the road,” Mr. Thompson says. “In year 15, will the seals hold? One rule of thumb is to go with a major national brand, like Marvin.” Courtesy of ARAcontent
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