Which materials make the most energy efficient windows, cutting costs and creating a cozy home during winter?
Throughout most of the United States, homeowners will feel winter’s chill very soon. Cold air will find every way possible to enter your home. How well do your windows protect you from freezing temperatures? It greatly depends on the material your windows are made of.
The oldest material for windows is wood. Wood windows have a classic, old-world charm. Wood windows also tend to be the most expensive option when shopping for replacement windows.
While wood windows are fairly energy efficient, they are prone to damage. Wood is very susceptible to temperature swings, and it responds by expanding and contracting. Changes in weather and temperature over time can cause warping, wood rot and cracks.
To combat this weakness in the material, wood windows require regular maintenance, including regular caulking and painting or staining.
Common in homes beginning in the 1920s, aluminum is another window material. Aluminum windows are durable, low maintenance and affordable. They're also heavy, which makes them good noise insulators.
Aluminum is great at one thing in particular: It conducts energy. This is not desirable for windows. In the winter, the aluminum conducts heat from inside your home and conducts cold weather from the outside, making your HVAC system work harder to maintain the proper temperature inside.
Newer on the replacement window market are composite windows. They tend to cost the second most of these window options after wood windows, which require a more complex manufacturing process.
Composite windows are strong and durable. But since it’s a newer construction material, some have concerns about its stability and durability over time.
Vinyl replacement windows
Vinyl replacement windows first appeared as an option for homeowners in the 1970s. Since that time, advances in technology and manufacturing have made vinyl one of the best — and most affordable — choices for windows.
Vinyl windows are engineered with a system of chambers inside the frames that act as an insulator by trapping air inside these chambers. This makes vinyl windows some of the most energy efficient window options on the market.
Unlike wood, vinyl is very durable and won't warp or rot over time. And vinyl creates a maintenance-free window.
Which replacement window type is right for you?
If you're considering a replacement window project for your home, carefully consider your window material options. Cost, durability and maintenance requirements are all factors that will influence your decision. But energy efficiency is arguably the most important factor.
Energy efficient vinyl windows will keep your home more comfortable, keep your heating system from working overtime and save you money through lower utility bills.
Are your windows keeping you warm enough — or do you plan to replace them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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