Window Choice
Replacement Window Installation In Southern Ontario

905-461-2267


06
12
2013

U-Factors for Windows Explained


Energy-Efficient WindowsChoosing an energy-efficient window is not as easy as one might think. There are many factors and ratings to consider. One of these factors is called the U-factor, which refers to the rate of heat loss. Find out more about this measurement and how it can affect your window shopping experience.

What is a U-Factor?

A U-factor is a rating given to energy-efficient windows. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) created this rating method to help consumers and inspectors determine the window’s insulation value. The Energy Star Program uses the window’s U-factor when evaluating it for certifications and rebate programs.

When it comes to U-factors, lower is better. Windows that are able to insulate a home better by resisting heat flow tend to have a lower U-factor, which is preferable. A U-factor of 0.30 is very good. This rating is typically given to double-paned windows. Some triple-paned windows have U-factors of 0.15, which is even better. The U-factor can apply to just the window glass or to the entire window. When the NFRC rates windows, it rates the entire window, including the spacers, glazing and frame.

Low U-factors are preferable in all types of climates, but even more so in hotter climates. However, cold climates can benefit from them as well, especially in the winter. There are recommendations for U-factors based on climate in the United States:

  • Cold climates in the North: Equal to or less than 0.30
  • Mixed climates in North and Midwest: Equal to or less than 0.32
  • Mixed climates in the central and South regions: Equal to or less than 0.35
  • Hot climates in the South: Equal to or less than 0.60

The U-Factor’s Relationship to R-Value

There are many ratings used to determine how good a window is at preventing heat loss, but many peopleconfuse U-factor with R-value because both are used to measure energy efficiency and insulation value. However, the main difference is that while the U-factor measures a window’s values, the R-value measures the insulation in other areas of the home, such as the roof, under the floor and behind walls.

U-factor and R-value are also related in terms of mathematical equations. If you know a window’s U-factor, you can figure out its R-value; just turn it into a fraction by dividing 1 by the U-factor. If the window, for example, has a U-factor of .25, the R-value would then be 4.

Get the Best Windows for Your Home

If you’re ready to upgrade your windows, let Window Choice help. There are many types of energy-efficient windows available, and some insulate better than others. Our helpful and informative staff can help you choose the right windows for your needs. We have spent more than a decade helping Ontario residents save money on their energy bills. Contact us at (905) 461-2267 or (866) 230-5115 for a quote.

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06
12
2013

What Windows are Right for Your Climate?


Energy Efficient WindowsThe type of climate that you live in should affect the kind of windows that you have installed in your home. Use this guide to help you choose the right type of windows so you can reduce your energy consumption and lower your bills.

Windows for Cold Climates

If you live in a cold climate, you should choose windows that will keep the cold air out and the warm air in. The best framing materials for this kind of weather include:

  • wood
  • fiberglass
  • vinyl

You do not want to choose window frames made of aluminum. Aluminum is a conductor that will let the cold air into your home. Even wood is about 18,000 times more insulating than aluminum.

You should also look for windows that have two or three panes of glass. A single pane doesn’t offer you much protection for the outdoors. When you add another pane of glass, you get a little more insulation. More importantly, you get a chamber that window manufacturers can fill with an insulating gas like argon.

Windows for Hot Climates

People who live in hot climates should also look for windows that offer plenty of insulation. The hot temperatures, however, will force you to choose materials that won’t warp in the middle of summer.

You’ll also want double- or triple-insulated glass filled with argon or a similar gas. Since you probably have a lot of sunlight in your area, though, you’ll want to look for windows that have a UV coating. This coating prevents the sun’s rays from entering your home. The more heat and sunlight that you keep out of your home, the less you’ll need to use your air conditioner.

Windows for Rainy Climates

If you live in a region that gets a lot of rain, then you should look for a window that can repel moisture. Many of today’s window manufacturers treat wood so that it doesn’t get wet, even in the rainiest areas. However, vinyl windows provide the best protection.

You want to keep moisture away from your windows and window frames because water can cause damage. Common damage includes:

  • stains
  • decay
  • mold
  • mildew

You’re looking at a big remodeling job once your windows succumb to one of those problems.

What experiences have you had with windows in your area? Do you think your windows match your climate, or should you replace them to improve your home’s efficiency and avoid costly repairs in the future?

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