It might be time to consider replacing leaky windows or gaping doors to take advantage of energy-efficient savings and stop your money from slipping through the cracks.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, poorly insulated windows are one of the chief sources of heat and air conditioning loss. Energy-efficient windows, on the other hand, can save between 25 and 50 percent of the energy used to heat and cool a house.
Beyond the cost benefit, energy-efficient windows and doors can increase the comfort level in a house. When replacing windows, consider products that include Low-emissivity (Low-E) insulating glass options to keep your home more comfortable. Low-E is a thin, transparent metallic coating on the inside surfaces of insulating glass that permits visible light to pass through, and reflects ultraviolet rays that fade interior floor coverings and furnishings. In the summer, Low-E glass keeps heat out; in the winter, it keeps heat in.
Pella Corporation, a leading manufacturer of windows and doors and the 2007 Energy Star Partner of the Year, offers the following information to help sort out fact from fiction regarding energy-efficient products:
The band-aid approach
Fiction: Covering windows with plastic or sealing windows shut is a long-term solution to blocking hot or cold air that leaks in through windows.
Fact: Covering windows with plastic is like slapping a band-aid onto a serious wound. If a significant amount of air leaks in or around windows, the best solution is to replace the entire window. Sealing windows can also be dangerous. Operable and functioning windows are a necessity for emergency escape routes in case a fire strikes.
Energy Star value
Fiction: Any type of window, as long as it's new, will be energy efficient and save money.
Fact: A sign to look for in quality windows and doors is the Energy Star label, which symbolizes the cutting edge in energy-efficient products. These products use less energy, save money and help protect the environment. Windows made of wood, quality fiberglass and vinyl materials are good energy-efficient choices. Other key ingredients for energy-efficient windows are Low-E coatings, inert gas fill, multiple layers of glass, air infiltration prevention and proper installation.
Single, double or triple?
Fiction: Single, double or triple pane - windows are all the same.
Fact: Double- or triple-pane glass options, especially those with between-the-glass blinds or fabric shades, can further increase energy efficiency and even reduce outside noise by up to 80 percent.
Fiction: Energy-efficient windows and doors are too expensive.
Fact: The up-front cost of energy-efficient windows and doors might seem like a lot, but those products cost less to operate in the long run. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average household spends about $1,500 per year on energy bills. By choosing products that meet Energy Star guidelines, consumers can cut this by 30 percent, a savings of about $450 per year.
Just for looks
Fiction: Storm doors have cosmetic value but do not enhance energy savings.
Fact: A properly fitted storm door can add significant energy savings to a house. According to independent testing, a Pella storm door added to an entryway can reduce entryway energy loss by up to 45 percent. A new storm door can quickly pay for itself in energy savings.
Low-E doesn't help at sales time
Fiction: Energy-efficient doors and windows don't make your house more marketable.
Fact: Energy-efficient remodeling reaps big rewards when it comes time to sell. Prospective buyers know that dated and dysfunctional doors that require towels or rugs to cover areas leaking air need to be replaced.
For more information on how you can improve the energy efficiency of your windows and doors, contact a local Pella Window and Door store expert by calling (888) 84-PELLA or visiting www.pella.com.