Energy Efficient Windows Can Make A Big Difference

Windows provide our homes with light, warmth, and ventilation, but they can also negatively impact a home’s energy efficiency. Most everyone knows that installing energy efficient windows can help reduce heating and cooling costs.  Uncle Sam will even give you a tax credit for installing these new windows in your home. If you’re building new, it’s important to understand that the design, type, and installation all have an impact on the overall energy efficiency of your home. Not everyone is ready to make the investment in new windows.  There are other ways to help make your current windows more energy efficient.

In Regards To Design

Unfortunately, here in the Chicago area, we’re all too familiar with running our heat for most of the year.  Energy efficient windows with a Low-e coating can help reflect back in during the winter months.  During those precious few months we get to use the A/C, that same Low-e coating helps to reflect back the rays of the sun.  Large, South facing windows can help contain heat when the sun is low in the sky during the winter.  In the summer, when the sun is high, use overhangs or other shading devices (awnings, drapes, insulated panels etc) to help reduce solar heat gain.  East and West facing windows can be tricky to control solar heat gain and should have a low SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient) or be shaded.  North facing windows typically don’t collect much solar heat, and should have a low SHGC as well.  

Installation Is Crucial

Regardless of what brand you go with, if the window isn’t installed correctly, you just wasted a bunch of money! Proper installation goes beyond just keeping things square and plumb.  I don’t care if you have the most energy efficient glass money can buy; Proper installation is a crucial component of making your home energy efficient.

Here are a few weatherproofing tips for installation:

  • The most important part of weatherproofing begins before the window goes in. After the house wrap is cut, tuck the bottom flap into the house and install sill flashing. Then fold in the sides of the house wrap, but leave the top flap alone.
  • Fold the house wrap sides in, staple them to the room side of the trimmers and king studs, then slice off the excess on the inside of the house. Leave the top flap alone for now. But seal the overlap at the bottom corners with house wrap tape. Then go ahead with a normal installation. If you’re new to the game, just follow the window installation instructions. Don’t skip the corner gaskets if the window comes with them. They keep out water, and leaving them off can void the window warranty.
  • Seal around the window with flashing tape, lapping the top piece over the sides. Then fold down the house wrap at the top, and cover the diagonal slits at the top with house wrap tape.

DMD performs inspections before AND after windows are installed.

Once the house is framed, DMD will come out to inspect the rough openings.  This gives us a chance to make sure that once the windows are delivered to your site, everything will go in smoothly.  As soon as the windows are installed, we inspect every window.  It is MUCH easier to make any needed adjustments at this point, before the home is all bricked up.  This double inspection helps ensure proper functionality of the windows and doors helping the home become more energy efficient.

Tips to make your existing windows more energy efficient

  • Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames to reduce drafts.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
  • Close your curtains and shades at night to protect against cold drafts; open them during the day to let in warming sunlight.
  • Install exterior or interior storm windows, which can reduce heat loss through the windows by approximately 10%-20%, depending on the type of window already installed in the home. They should have weatherstripping at all movable joints; be made of strong, durable materials; and have interlocking or overlapping joints.
  • Repair and weatherize your current storm windows, if necessary.
  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
  • Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day.
  • Install awnings on south- and west-facing windows.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain.



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