Where you live can impact the choices you make regarding components of your home and the materials used to make them. Take windows, for example. In this blog, we'll break down common window materials and features to see how they stack up in the Austin climate.
1. Double Panes
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, leaky and inefficient windows, skylights and glazed doors account for more than 25% of the average household's energy costs. Double-pane windows, along with heat-resistant coatings, airtight frames and/or Energy Star ratings, you may help you save up to 15% on energy expenditures.
2. Between-the-Pane Insulation
For even more efficiency, insulate your double-pane windows with 1/4 inch to 1 inch of air (or argon) between the panes. In addition to keeping extreme temperatures from impacting your inside comfort, this can also help to reduce noise.
3. Average Replacement Time
Pella of Austin recommends replacing windows every 20 years or so, as this is just about the lifespan of windows in the Austin environment. If you begin experiencing draftiness or noticing panes accumulate moisture, ice and frost, these are all signs of a failing window and it's time for a replacement.
4. Solid Wood Frames
Solid wood is a good heat and cold insulator, but it's expensive, requires care and is prone to swelling and contracting.
Aluminum is strong, inexpensive and low-maintenance material, yet it transfers heat and cold, so you're more likely to feel fluctuations in temperatures.
6. Aluminum-Clad Wood
While it's the most costly option, it proves its value in the long run. With wood frames on the inside and an aluminum or vinyl shell on the outside, you get the best of wood with the reduction of heat and cold transfer, and the best of aluminum with low-maintenance windows.
Vinyl is another low-cost, low-maintenance option, but the color may fade over time, which is important to consider in a sunny place like Austin.
8. Fold-Down Handles
Are you fed up with window cranks obstructing your window treatments? Blinds, shades and window coverings have plenty of room with fold-down handles.
9. Low-E Glass
Low-emissivity (low-E) glass is coated with a thin metallic layer that reflects heat back to its source, keeping heat inside the home in the winter and out in the summer. Low-E coatings also save money on electricity and prevent UV rays while allowing 95% of natural light to pass through. Again, important to consider in a predominantly sunny place like Austin.
10. Glass Treatments
Instead of using window coverings to provide seclusion, try using unique glass treatments. Glass blocks or frosted and bubbled glass treatments all trap light while limiting the view. They're especially handy in first-floor bathrooms.