Are Your Windows Ready for Summer?

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Are your electric bills sky high?  Or at least higher than you would like them to be?  There is one major factor to take in to consideration…  How old are your windows?

If you’re one of the lucky ones in a beautiful early 1900’s house, we’re talking to you!  Those single-paned windows might be beautiful and authentic, but they are not going to do anything to protect you or your energy bills from the heat (or the freezing cold for that matter).  With extreme temperature exposure, you could be wasting up to double the amount of energy to heat and cool your home.  Over the course of a year, or a few years, those energy bills will begin to add up.

Do you ever look at the thermostat and feel like it’s lying to you?  As we enter the high heat of summer with the lovely Philadelphia humidity, it can become even more painfully obvious that you may need new windows.  We’ve put together a few tips on how to go about choosing new windows.

 

Frame Material

Wood Frames

This is the classic window frame option and what you’ll find in most older homes that have not ever replaced windows.  This option is a great insulator from the heat of summer, but the porous material could pose issues for a wet climate.  While a well-installed window shouldn’t cause problems for quite some time, the Philly humidity might make it wear faster than others.  The moisture can get trapped in the wood and begin to rot, which can then create larger issues with mold.

Aluminum Frames
Unlike wood window frames, aluminum window frames are great for high rain and humid climates.  Most hurricane-prone areas will have aluminum windows to maintain safety code.  However, aluminum does not make a great insulator and might not be as effective in keeping your home cool or heated.  This is a less expensive frame choice when compared to wood, but won’t save you much for energy efficiency.

Vinyl Frames
These frames are the most cost-effective window frame option and have the best energy efficiency.  Usually, vinyl frames come with insulated glass and are fitted to the glass better than aluminum or wood.  This can reduce the amount of hot or cold air that escapes through the cracks.  The only issue with choosing a vinyl window frame is the color choices are limited, especially when compared to wood, where you can paint it any color.

 

Window Panes

Single Panes
You won’t see these single-glass windows in stores much.  Single pane windows are typically custom built or renovated from old homes to match existing windows in older homes.  When it comes to efficiency and durability, these are the lowest on the list.  The single pane does not offer much for insulation. If it hails, these windows could easily shatter since most of them are already old.  Typically, we do not encourage these as they are expensive and less energy efficient.

Double Panes
Double pane means two layers of glass in the frame.  Air or argon gas is trapped between the two panes, offering an extra layer of insulation from the elements.  This is the most common window replacement option that you will find, as it’s a fair price, energy efficient, and commonly used in newer homes.  You can hardly even tell there are two panes unless you’re looking for it.  

Triple Panes
Just like double pane windows, but with a third glass as well.  The interior of double and triple paned windows are coated with a drying agent that prevent condensation.  The triple panes are the most energy efficient since there are 3 panes of glass and 2 air layers that the heat or cold must penetrate to get to the other side.  

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Popular Window Pane Extras

Low-Emissivity Glass
Low-E glass uses a coating that helps prevent heat from seeping in, while still allowing light to flow through.  Have you ever taken a painting off of the wall to expose a darker rectangle than the rest of the wall?  Using this type of coating can help keep the things in your house looking new, like carpets, paintings, furniture, etc.  It also helps to reduce the amount of UV light that enters your home!

Tempered Glass
Many windows are made with tempered glass these days.  Single paned windows will shatter into a thousand pieces, while tempered glass will crumble.  If you’ve ever seen a car window shatter into chunks, the effect of tempered glass windows will be similar.  While the window will still break, you won’t be pulling glass splinters out of your feet for the next few weeks!

If you’re not sure where to start regarding your window replacement or window repair in the Greater Philadelphia Area, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation!