Homeowners who are shopping around for windows and doors are most concerned about performance. After all, a window or door that isn’t performing up to par means that energy is leaking out and because of this you could literally be sending money out of the window. Luckily for homeowners, the National Fenestration Rating Council provides ratings on all types of Energy Star windows. Companies that manufacture windows and doors aren’t required to use these rating systems, but many of them do. Before you purchase a new window or door, learn about what these ratings mean.
Understanding The U-Factor
The U-factor is the rate that a window, door or skylight conducts non-solar heat flow. Just like in golf, a lower number is better — a lower number designates a higher level of energy efficiency. One thing to consider when comparing U-factors is whether it is covering the entire window or door or just the glass. However, if you’re getting the U-factor from the National Fenestration Rating Council, and not the manufacturer, you can be sure that the rating covers the frame and spacer material, as well as the glass.
Understanding Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
Another rating to consider is the solar heat gain coefficient. This measures the solar radiation that is released into the home. The lower the solar heat gain coefficient, the less heat is released, which is ideal for climates that are warm most of the year. On the other hand, a high solar heat gain coefficient means that the window will help keep a house warm in the winter and in cold climates. There is no one perfect solar heat gain coefficient for all climates so you should choose the right one based on where you live, as well as the orientation of the wall.
How Companies That Install Windows And Doors Can Help
If you’re not sure what type of window or door is right for your home, work with a company that installs them. They’ll be able to help you choose the right one for each exterior surface of your home. A wall that faces west might require a very different type of window than one that faces north, so make sure to consider the orientation and any shading done by large trees or other landscaping.
While the ratings are important, these ratings won’t matter at all if the windows and doors are installed incorrectly. Look for a company that is experienced in installing them correctly and professionally. When interviewing companies, ask what type of warranty they offer — the standard warranty from the manufacturer isn’t enough. To make sure you’re working with a qualified company, ask them what additional warranties they offer to their customers. Some won’t offer anything additional, but some will offer up to a five-year warranty on labor. Your manufacturer’s warranty isn’t valid if the installation is done incorrectly so it’s vitally important that your windows and doors are installed perfectly the first time.
New windows and doors do more than just provide your house with a facelift. The right ones will improve your home’s energy efficiency, as long as you choose them properly. If you’re still confused when looking for the perfect window for your home, work with a company that installs them for guidance. They’ll be able to help you choose the best type for your house.