Windows come in all types, types, shapes and sizes, but unless you’re building a new house, the entire above are largely predetermined. There are of course some exceptions. Perhaps a previous residenceowner changed the unique home windows with units which are historically inappropriate or inferior. Or possibly you’re adding a family room at the back of the house, where it would be okay to deviate from the double hung home windows within the entrance; in this situation, you might resolve to use casements. Sometimes a homeowner will want to increase or decrease the size of the window being replaced, but should you’re like most houseowners, the real choices will have more to do with energy-saving options and ease of maintenance.
Replacement Window Glazing
With regard to energy saving, the first thing to focus on is glazing. Efficient home windows typically have layers of glass and are called dual-pane or double-pane. The small gap between the glass layers creates a barrier to heat flow, which may be enhanced with an additional layer of glass (two separate insulating chambers), in which case it’s called triple-glazed. The hole or gaps between layers of glazing are sometimes filled with a gas that additional reduces heat flow by conduction. Argon and Krypton, or a combination thereof, are commonly used gas fills.
Reflective Films, Tints, and Coatings
Reflective films, tints, and low-emittance (low-E) coatings are among the different ways window manufacturers are improving window performance.
Reflective films block a lot of the radiant energy striking a window—keeping occupants cooler—however they also block most of the visible light. In addition to giving windows a mirror-like appearance, they usually cause occupants to use more electric lighting to compensate for the lack of daylighting.
Bronze- and gray-tinted glass replicate radiant energy and reduce cooling loads without reducing as much the visible light entering the home. A visual transmittance (VT) of 60% (versus 90% for clear glass) is common.
Low-E coatings are more versatile than either reflective films or tints and are virtually invisible. Microscopic metal or metallic oxide particles suppress radiant heat flow out of the window and might be formulated to permit varying degrees of solar radiation in. In climates the place heating is the dominant concern, low-E coatings could also be used to prevent radiant heat switch out of the house while allowing high solar heat gain. In climates where each heating and cooling are required, low-E coatings can reduce radiant heat loss while permitting moderate heat gain. In climates where the dominant concern is cooling, low-E coatings are primarily used to reduce solar heat gain. It’s even possible to fine-tune solar heat acquire by selecting a low-E coating with a high solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) for south-facing windows and a decrease coefficient for other orientations.
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