Category Archives: Residential Windows

Best Energy Efficient Improvements

energy efficient improvements

The average household spends $2,000 to power a 1,971-square foot home per year. Decrease your monthly expenditures by investing in energy efficient improvements that will pay off over time in reduced energy bills. Making energy efficient improvements is a great way to improve occupant comfort and reduce your carbon footprint, as well.

Because each home is different, how much you save depends on many variables, including the age and design of your home and the project’s total cost. Some of the best energy efficient improvements you can make are also the easiest (e.g., sealing air leaks, installing attic insulation, setting a programmable thermostat, etc.).

Here’s a closer look at some of the best energy efficient improvements.

Caulk and seal air leaks. Sealing uncontrolled air leaks is a cost-effective way to save up to 20% off your annual heating and cooling bills. Buy some caulk (don’t forget the caulk gun) and weatherstripping from your local home improvement or hardware store to seal around:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Plumbing lines
  • Electric wires
  • Crawlspaces
  • Windows
  • Doors

Hire a professional to install attic insulation. Adding attic insulation reduces energy demand, improves the comfort of your home, and saves you money. Consult a professional insulation company to determine whether you need insulation and, if you do, how much. There are several types of insulating materials available, including loose-fill, rolls and batts, rigid foam, and spray foam.

Install a programmable thermostat. Nearly half of the average home’s utility bill goes towards heating and cooling. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to different, desirable levels during set times/days throughout the week. This, along with turning back your thermostat 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day, can save you up to $83 per year.

Lower water heating temperature; insulate the tank. Set your water heater temperature to a comfortable 120 degrees – not the 140 degrees most are set out of the box. Additionally, if the hot water heater is warm to the touch, wrap it in insulating material to save on heat loss. Combined, these improvements can save you up to $38 per year in water heating costs.

Install exterior low-e storm windows. Installing low-e storm windows will lower your annual energy bill as much as 33% while keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Investing in new windows provides other advantages, as well, such as looking good and increasing the value of your home. In fact, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Value Report for 2018, upscale window replacement has a 74.3% return on investment.

Switch to LEDs. Replace your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified models to save up to $75 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. LEDs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes for any application, last 15 times longer, and are environmentally-friendly. They can also be purchased as a smart bulb, which are designed to make any light fixture, smart.

Use a surge protector for consumer electronics. The average household plugs in more and more electronics each year. The energy consumed by all these gadgets can add up to nearly 10% of your home’s monthly electricity bill. The problem is that many electronics continue to draw power even when they’re turned “off.” Plugging your electronics into a surge protector that you power off at night can save you up to $100 annually.

Choosing Low-E Windows

low-e windows

Understanding how to limit solar heat gain from entering our homes affords us the opportunity to save money on large heating and cooling bills. Bills that according to the U.S. Department of Energy account for more than 48% of a homeowner’s energy consumption. A very cost-effective way to control this heat, and keep your energy bills down, is to install Low-E windows.

Understanding Heat Gain

Heat gain is the term used to describe the accumulation of excess heat within your home. While it can come from any source that produces heat, it is most commonly the result of sunlight, which contains various levels of ultraviolet rays. UV streams through your windows, and generates heat in your home, thus causing indoor temperatures to go up.

There are several factors involved in your home’s rising temperatures including the number of daylight hours, outside weather conditions, the angle of the sun in the sky, and the direction in which the windows face. Too much heat gain, as often evidenced by large energy bills, can reduce indoor comfort and make it increasingly difficult for your air conditioner to cool the home.

Every homeowner, no matter the climate in which they reside, should take heat gain into consideration when looking to reduce their energy costs. If sunlight is entering your home, via your windows, it has some effect on indoor temperatures. Luckily, there are many ways you can reduce the negative effects of heat gain, including installing quality Low-E windows.

How Do Low-E Windows Work?

Low-emissive, also commonly referred to as simply Low-E, windows have been treated with an invisible metal or metallic oxide coating creating a surface that reflects heat while still permitting light to pass through. Windows treated with Low-E coatings have been proven to help reduce winter heat loss by as much as 55% and summer heat gain by as much as 70%. They are also proven to:

  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Decrease fading of fabrics
  • Increase overall indoor comfort

Even better is the fact that these windows are ENERGY STAR eligible, which means that upon purchasing your new Low-E windows, you’ll be eligible to receive 10% of the cost up to $200 for all years since 2005 back. Installation costs are not included.

New Windows

Replacement Windows

replacement windows

Should I replace my home’s windows?

The decision to replace the windows in your home is a big one.  How do you know if it’s really necessary?  With time and use, windows wear out.  They can become less energy efficient and begin to break down structurally.  There are a few definite signs that will let you know if it is time for replacement windows.

 

New Windows1.  Windows Become Drafty

All windows will let a little bit of air into and out of your home, but you should not be able to detect a draft.  If you can, then the windows are letting too much air through.  Over many years of use windows can become warped or the frames can become loose which would allow too much air to pass through.  If this happens your heating and cooling system will have to work harder to keep your indoor temperature at a comfortable level.  That will cause your energy bills to be higher, which is a sure sign that the windows need to be replaced.  Weather stripping is a temporary remedy for this problem, but since sealants expand and contract, the leaks will not be sealed for very long.

2.  Difficulty Opening and Closing the Windows

This sign is a pretty obvious one.  Clearly, if you cannot open or close your windows they are no longer useful and ne to be replaced.  Wooden windows can warp and cause them not to go up and down.  Metal windows, when not properly painted can rot or rust, which can also cause them not to operate properly as well.  Double hung and triple hung windows utilize a balance system that allows them to move up and down.  If this malfunctions the windows might suddenly slam shut, which is hazardous.

3.   Condensation Between Panes on Double or Triple Paned WindowsWindows

If there is condensation, fog or even white calcium deposits between the panes of glass in triple or double paned windows, it is a sign that the seal between them may have been broken.  This means that the glass is no longer insulating against the outdoor temperatures.  In cases like this, the windows, or at least the panes of glass must be replaced.

Thermostat 4.  High Heating and Cooling Costs

If your heating and cooling costs are high, old and inefficient windows may be the cause.  If the windows in your home are very old they are probably not energy efficient.  In the long run, replacing the old windows with new, energy efficient windows will save you enough money on your utility bills to pay for themselves.

If you would like to find out if your windows should be replaced call Carrig and Dancer at (253) 584-7707 or visit our website here: http://www.carriganddancerinsulation.com/ .

 

If you would like to read the original article that inspired this blog post click here.