Charlotte Windows: Article About Improving The Energy Efficiency Of Windows
Windows can contribute a great deal to the energy efficiency of a home both positively and negatively. Gaps or drafts in windows can severely increase a home's heating and cooling costs. According to the Energy Information Administration, as much as one-third of the average home's heat loss occurs through windows. In the summer, inefficient windows allow conditioned air to escape and permit more solar heat to enter the house. The good news is that improvements can be made to existing windows, allowing homeowners on a budget to avoid the large cost of total replacement. A Charlotte windows professional can help a homeowner determine problems with their windows and perform the needed enhancements.
Air leaks are the leading cause of energy inefficiency when it comes to windows. Even very small cracks or gaps in the window's frame or structure can lead to major energy losses. A homeowner does not necessarily have to feel a draft for significant loss to occur. Caulking and weatherstripping are the recommended measures to deal with this problem.
Caulking involves applying an immovable seal to the parts of the window where cracks or gaps are present. Since it is immovable, caulking should only be used on the frame and where the wall meets the trim. It may also be possible to use caulking marked as temporary.
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This special type of caulking is designed to last about a season and can be removed when the window needs to open again with the changing seasons. Larger cracks may not be adequately filled by caulking. In this case, a contractor may use an expanding foam sealant that will properly fill the gap and stop airflow.
For the movable parts of the window, weatherstripping is the better option. There are a wide variety of weatherstripping materials and options that a contractor may consider based on the nature of the gap, the type of window involved and the materials the window and frame are made of.
The other significant cost factor associated with windows involves thermal penetration through the window glass itself. When sunlight shines through the window, there is more than just visible light getting through. Invisible infrared radiation from the sun is what causes objects in sunlight to heat up. Ambient heat from the outside air also penetrates easier through windows than through any other surface in the home. The best way to deal with heat penetration is to replace windows with versions designed to block the heat, but infrared heat penetration can be partially mitigated with window films.