How do your windows perform in winter months? If you stand near your window, do you hear or feel wind coming through your window? Does your window have decaying frames and/or leaks water from icicles outside? Do you regularly see fog or condensation build up on your windows? It might be time for you to upgrade your windows to match the cold climate you live in.
Window Features to Keep in Mind
The first step to finding the best window for your cold climate is to determine what window features are most important to you. The following are features designed specifically for windows used in winter and colder climates:
- Multiple panes of glass: double- and triple-pane windows are much more efficient because they slow heat transfer through the glass and reduce energy losses as a result.
- Warm-edge spacers: spacers made of non-conductive materials reduce condensation and help slow heat transfer more effectively.
- Insulating frame material: the kind of material you insulate your window frame with (e.g. fiberglass, vinyl, wood, aluminum) can be efficient in cold climates and help the conductivity of your window frame.
- Low U-factor: a low U-factor increases the effectiveness a window is at preventing heat loss.
- Low E-coating: low e-coating helps conduct heat back into your home so your furnace doesn’t have to work so hard.
- SHGC rating: a high SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) rating means your window is allowing the sun to heat your home naturally in cold climates.
- Storm windows install: storm windows are useful with adding an extra pane of glass for proper thermal efficiency in the winter.
How to Choose Window Frames
It’s best to avoid aluminum frames when considering windows for colder climates; heat in your home generally is lost faster with aluminum frames. This means your furnace is working extra hard to keep your home at a semi-comfortable temperature, thus raising your costs. Since wood is the best insulator, it’s best to use wooden window frames with vinyl exterior cladding for extra protection.
Vinyl and fiberglass frames are better insulators than aluminum because they actively help keep heat in your home. Vinyl frames are great for snow, ice and freezing rain elements, and aren’t susceptible to warping or cracking. Fiberglass have similar features to vinyl, but are slightly more expensive.
How to Choose Window Glass
There are three factors to consider when choosing your cold climate window glass: 1) what kind of glass coating you want; 2) how many panes will it have; and 3) what’s between the panes. It’s best to choose double- or triple-paned windows (especially in cold climates), since they are most efficient and effective with resistance to heat transfer.
Contact Exterior Remodel & Design
Do you need help finding the best window for your house? As winter approaches in Omaha and Nebraska, it’s important to prepare your windows and house for the coming cold temperatures. To talk with a professional window installer, contact us by phone at (402) 861-0000, by email, or by contact form!