Regardless of where you live, it’s a good bet you’re in a climate that features some extreme weather conditions. If you live up north, you’ll have to deal with bitterly cold winters. If you live in southern regions, you’ll get the sweltering heat in the summer. And if you live somewhere in between, chances are you’ll get a bit of both. That’s not even including the rain, snow, and natural disasters that might be common to your region.
Luckily, you have four walls and a roof overhead to protect you from inclement weather and keep you comfortable regardless of what’s going on outside. Of course, the components that make up your structure are an important part of just how comfortable and energy efficient your home is, and this includes your windows.
You might think one window is as good as the next, but this simply isn’t true. The types of windows you choose will have a marked impact on your home interior. How can you choose the type of window that will work best in your climate? Here are a few things you should know.
Single Versus Double-Paned
Let’s just start by saying that in any climate, double-paned (or even triple-paned) windows are going to provide better insulation for your home, make it easier to regulate interior temperature, and help you to reduce energy waste and associated costs. If you want the most comfortable and energy-efficient home interior, upgrading to multiple panes of glass is the best place to start. Custom-built replacement windows are an even better way to ensure the greatest benefits and improve home value.
When the winter winds howl, snow blankets the landscape, and temperatures dip below freezing, you need to know your windows are going to keep out cold winter weather. Unfortunately, windows are the primary source for heat loss and energy waste during the winter. How can you best combat this?
There are a couple of ways to keep the heat in your house. Let’s start with the window frame. Many older homes feature wooden frames, and if yours are in good shape and well-maintained, you should probably stick with them, especially if they’re double paned. Solid wood isn’t terribly conductive, so it will help to keep heat in your home.
If it’s time for an upgrade, however, there are other materials on the market to consider these days. For colder climates, you’ll want to avoid aluminum frames, which conduct heat and can therefore leach it from your interior.
Your best bet is probably vinyl or fiberglass frames, mainly because they are stable and they don’t conduct heat well. In addition, these types of frames feature hollow cavities that can be filled with insulation. Vinyl, in particular, is also extremely moisture resistant, making it one of the best all-around framing choices when choosing new windows.
Now let’s get to the glass. Heat loss is a very real problem in colder areas, and the types of glass or glazing you choose can make a big difference. You’ll want to look for a couple of features, including low-temperature wind resistance and tinting or coating designed for heat absorption. This means when you happen to enjoy a sunny day during the winter, the heat-producing rays will actually help to warm your home interior.
Interestingly, insulation is just as important in warm climates as it is in colder regions. Again, heat transfer is an issue, but in the opposite direction, with heat coming in instead of going out. The same kinds of frames are therefore advisable, but when it comes to glass and glazing, you’ll want to opt for tints designed to deflect heat. Choosing windows that feature solar heat resistance can help to cut cooling costs dramatically.
Wood is susceptible to swelling and shrinking, especially in climates that feature a lot of moisture. In order to avoid mold, rot, and energy waste, you should probably opt for moisture-resistant framing materials like vinyl, fiberglass, or wood-resin composite. You can also find wooden frames that are encased in fiberglass, providing both the water-resistance of the fiberglass and the insulative properties of wood.
Mixed Weather Conditions
When you’re dealing with cold winter weather, hot summer conditions, and moisture from rain and snow, choosing the right windows can be difficult. You’ll find that framing materials like fiberglass and vinyl hold up well in a wide variety of weather conditions, so it’s not so difficult to pick the right window frame.
As for glass, however, it’s a toss-up whether you want heat resistance or heat absorption. With spectrally selective coating, you can get the best of both worlds, adding to interior comfort and optimizing energy efficiency year-round.