Replacing all windows in a building is an expensive and time-consuming prospect – and one that the weather may not allow. However, windows are also a key feature when it comes to insulation and saving energy, and the wrong kind of windows can cost a building or home a lot when it comes to cooling and heating bills (while wearing out HVAC systems more quickly).
Fortunately, there are ways to make windows more energy-efficient without the need to replace the entire window. These cost-effective options are excellent alternatives that will make a significant difference for those trying to save more energy. Let’s dive in on how to make your existing windows more energy efficient.
Check and Repair Weather-Stripping
Weather-stripping is the line of felt and rubber that surrounds any windows or doors that can be opened. Weather-stripping not only protects the edges of windows from damage, but also helps close up any thin gaps that can let air inside the building even when the window is closed.
It’s important for all windows to have weather-stripping, but over time these strips can wear away or come unattached, so older windows, in particular, may not have much weather-stripping, even if it was previously installed. New weather-stripping is relatively easy to install, affordable to purchase, and can be quickly installed by professionals if necessary. That makes it one of the best starting places to make sure that older windows are energy efficient and prevent any drafts.
Likewise, examining weather-stripping is an excellent opportunity to check the edges of the windows and make sure that there is no obvious damage, broken caulk, or other problems that could be letting air outside and need to be quickly addressed.
Replace or Repair Window Frames
Window frames can change dramatically over time. Wood frames in particular will warp due to weather and age. Even plastic or other materials can experience problems, especially in extreme climates.
As frames age or warp, they cause many significant problems with jamming windows, but they can also create leaks that air pass through small gaps around the window. If any frames in a building are noticeably damaged or creating leaks, it’s best to call a professional and start making plans for a replacement. The good news is that a new frame can be very energy efficient: Frames are typically assigned energy performance ratings, which makes it easy to pick a frame that will help properly insulate the window. Higher numbers will produce better results.
Apply a Window Film
A film is a thin barrier that can be applied to existing windows. Films do a number of things that can impact both window longevity and energy efficiency in the building. First, then help reduce conduction that can lead to thermal energy passing directly through the window itself, which is ideal for especially large floor-to-ceiling windows that may otherwise waste a significant amount of energy.
Second, films can also block UV radiation. Over time, UV light from the sun can bleach and damage materials inside a building, so this is also useful for reducing these effects. That radiation can also carry unwanted heat during the summer months and make air conditioners work harder, so adding the film can also save on cooling costs in hot conditions. But perhaps best of all, these films can be applied to nearly any window no matter how old it is, without the need for remodeling or other intensive projects.
On counterbalance, films will typically tint a window and darken it, which does affect visibility.
Use Window Coverings Efficiently
Blinds, drapes, curtains, and other window treatments play an important role in energy efficiency. A little active management can help improve the efficiency of the building without needing to change the windows at all! As a general rule, close window coverings on direct sunlight to help prevent the sun from adding heat to the building in hot months, and open coverings in cold months to let the sun help out as much as it can (or simply leave them closed or open during the day if no one is going to be around). Tracking the sun’s movement and how it changes over the year is relatively easy and makes getting into the habit simple with a little practice.
Install Window Inserts
Inserts are panels designed to fit around the edges of an old window – some include new windows, but this isn’t necessary when dealing with insulation issues. Such energy-efficient inserts are specifically made for older windows that’s aren’t designed to be opened, but may still have problems with aging materials, poor insulation, and heat loss. It’s also possible to take measurements and create inserts that are form-fitted to a particular window. This is a useful approach when you want to avoid a full remodel for the area but still find a fix for windows that are causing temperature issues.
When in Doubt, Get a Professional Energy Audit
A professional energy audit can find any spots in a building where energy efficiency is a problem – areas with low insulation, gaps, and other problems that should be addressed. Auditors can use thermal readings and other technology to show exactly what windows have leaks or other problems, and what repairs should best address the issues. If you aren’t sure where to begin or want a complete review of windows and insulation throughout the building, it’s best to begin here.
Install Quality Windows with FAS Windows & Doors
At FAS Windows & Doors, we specialize in quality, energy-efficient windows. Our windows will protect your Florida home from storms and harsh Florida weather. Contact us today to replace and install new windows for your home.