The ability to cool and heat our homes with the click of a thermostat button is something we take for granted. Nevertheless, about a century ago, maintaining a comfortable temperature inside a home was challenging. In today’s world, we don’t give our home temperature a second thought until it becomes uncomfortable indoors.
Maybe you’ve noticed your home isn’t staying cool during summer, or perhaps you depend on an extra sweater and socks to keep warm during winter. There are various reasons why your home may not maintain a comfortable temperature, and your window quality is one of them.
Windows are your house’s biggest openings, and they do more than decorate your home. A quality window can inhibit outdoor conditions from affecting your indoor temperatures. Leaky windows can dramatically alter your home’s indoor temperature, making you uncomfortable. If ignored for an extended period, leaky windows can increase energy costs and affect your home’s structure.
How Much Heat Is Lost Through Leaky Windows?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, around $35 billion in energy expenditure gets lost every year through energy-inefficient windows. On an individual scale, your obsolete, leaky windows might be responsible for approximately 40% of your home’s energy bill. The less efficient the windows, the higher the energy costs.
How Does Heat Get Lost Through Windows?
About two-thirds of the heat loss occurs when the heated air comes into contact with inefficient window glass. Although single-paned windows are the main offenders, this loss can also occur in outdated double-paned windows. Over time, you could be spending a lot of money on heating the air trapped between the outer and inner glass panes instead of heating the rooms of your house.
Insufficient insulation forces your heating system to work harder and longer to achieve the desired temperature, straining its capacity and increasing utility costs. Naturally, heat flows towards cooler places until the temperature gets equalized; this is a process called radiation. A poorly insulated window cannot stop this process, resulting in conduction, which is something that happens when the heated air flows through the glass in search of cooler temperatures. If you have single-paned windows in your home, the heat generated inside can pass through the glass, leaving cooled air behind.
Another primary reason why leaky windows lead to heating inefficiency is infiltration. If you have old, poorly insulated windows, there may be cracks and gaps around the frame. These gaps can allow heated air to escape or cooler air to find its way inside. Heat flows toward the cool glass. When the glass cools the warm air, the resulting cold air gets directed toward the floor. As a result of conduction, some of the heated air that rises towards the windows escapes outside.
How to Prevent Heat From Escaping Through Windows
Placement Is Key
Where you install your windows can play a significant role in making your home energy efficient. Windows positioned on the west or east side of your home can lose as much as double of heated air compared to those on the south or north. You should place your windows in a position that enables overhangs, such as roofs, to allow light to enter your house during winter and to shade the windows during summer.
The Type of Windows Matters
Poor-quality windows can result in a drafty feeling. When heated air inside your home gets into contact with the uninsulated glass pane, it cools off immediately and then falls. This forms a cycle of circulating air that makes your house feel “windy.” The window’s energy efficiency gets rated through U-rating. The higher the U-rating, the worse it is at maintaining your home’s temperature. In some cases, R-values are used to rate windows. The higher the window’s R-value, the better it is at maintaining your home’s temperature.
Ways to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows
They are some things you can do to improve your window’s energy efficiency instead of replacing them with Energy Star versions. Weatherstripping can help improve the circulation of cold air in your home. Also, window films, installed by experts, can help improve your window’s R-value without replacement. Before you spend money on upgrading your windows, consult an HVAC specialist to determine if your heater is functioning correctly in the first place.
At Air Care Heating & Cooling, we can help you determine whether it’s your heating unit or windows that are affecting your comfort this winter. We offer heating and air conditioning installation, repair, replacement, and maintenance services in Shawnee, KS and the nearby areas. Call us now to request service.