While it's always a good idea to make sure you don't use more energy than necessary, there are several efficient ways to save energy and thus reduce rising energy bills.
One of them involves your window: it's an opening in the wall of your building that allows light and air to enter - rather than the cold of winter or the heat of summer. Read on to understand better how replacing windows can save you money!
Why Should You Recheck Your Home Windows Now?
No one likes to find out that they've been cheated or taken advantage of, but unfortunately, that's the case with most windows in new homes today. Most builders follow a common strategy: they do everything they can to keep costs down and their profits up. Installing cheap and low-quality windows is one of the most accessible ways to save money.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy losses through windows account for nearly 25% of the average American home's annual heating and cooling costs.
Is your home less than 30 years old? If so, we're sorry to say that the company/person who built your home may have cut costs by using inferior windows. If your home is more than 30 years old, your windows probably don't have the energy-saving benefits of modern window technology.
Other questions to answer are:
How can you determine which windows are energy efficient and which aren't?
Are your windows drafty?
Do your windows get cold in the winter or hot in the summer?
Do your windows not open and close easily?
Have your windows become foggy or cloudy?
It's All About Air Pressure
Let's keep it simple and basic!
Do you know how the air enters and leaves your home during the cold and warm seasons? In the winter, much of the heat generated by your ventilation systems escapes through the attic, which is known as the "stack effect." At the same time, cold air is drawn in from the inside. The heat has a lighter mass and rises to escape your home.
In summer, the same process takes place in the opposite direction. That's why experts refer to it as the "reverse chimney effect." Warm air enters your house from above, and cool air leaves through the lower parts of the building.
Since the most significant pressure differences occur at the top and bottom of your home, that's where most of the air you need for heating or cooling is lost.
Okay, but what about the windows? Do they play a role in saving or wasting energy?
How New Windows Can Help Save Energy
It is important to remember that federal regulations do not allow any company to explicitly state how much money you can save with their products.
Energy Star is a U.S. environmental protection agency that promotes energy efficiency. The agency has shown that the average savings from switching from single pane windows to double pane windows in the Mid-Atlantic region are about 20%; 8% if you switch from double pane windows without an Energy Star label.
Replacement windows are typically low-E (low emissivity) coated and filled with gas, usually argon or krypton. These inert gasses make it possible to reduce UV radiation, which can fill your home with unwanted effects.
Choosing the right materials is crucial here.
Aluminum is a conductor of heat; wood can be beautiful but is high maintenance and often plagued by shrinkage, swelling, mold and rot.
The best material for replacement windows is vinyl. It has none of the problems that aluminum or wood have, and if you choose replacement windows made of nearly 100% new vinyl, they will not calcify or become brittle over time.
How Do I Find Energy-Efficient Windows?
Some people choose to install their windows themselves. But before you upgrade or replace your windows on your own, you must ensure you have the necessary tools, knowledge and skills to do the job successfully.
First of all, we recommend that you leave the installation to a professional for many reasons. However, if you want to do it yourself, you should follow the steps below:
Research the materials thoroughly
Make sure everything you buy comes with a warranty
Contact a professional if things do not go as planned
Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, you should consider the following when choosing the best windows for your home.
The climate in your area
The structure of your building
The size and placement of the windows
Kitchens, for example, often have casement windows that can be opened or closed to provide additional ventilation. People tend to install skylights to bring natural light into dark rooms.
Professionals can help you make the most of the winter sun to warm your home. They also provide seasonal energy tips to maximize year-round comfort and savings.
Complementary Tips to Lower Your Energy Bills
Here are a few helpful tips to reduce your energy bill.
Set your thermostat to a lower temperature: Programmable thermostats let you set times of day when you want to curb your heating use, such as when you're working or sleeping.
Replace or upgrade drafty windows: Replacing old windows lowers a home's energy bill by an average of 12% nationwide. However, if the replacement doesn't fit your budget, you can caulk and weather-stripe your windows to seal leaks - saving an average of 5% to 10% in annual energy use.
Reduce Christmas lighting costs: Swap out energy-consuming Christmas lights for festive curtains or outdoor decorations to lower your bill during the holiday season.
Opt for an energy-efficient furnace: an energy-efficient model may be more expensive to purchase, but it'll lower your energy costs over the life of the furnace.
Maintain your heating system regularly: More routine maintenance should be performed by a trained professional who can proactively identify potential faults with your furnace, so it continues to operate at maximum efficiency.
Get In Touch
Whether for your windows, roofing, siding, doors, decks, or porches, Karga Construction's professional team can help you choose and install new windows and doors. Just contact us and let us know why your energy bills are skyrocketing. We'll get it fixed for you.