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Home Energy Savings - Windows and Doors

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energy audit002

Part 6
Windows and Doors

Windows can be one of your home’s most attractive features. Windows provide views, daylighting, ventilation, and solar heating in the winter. Unfortunately, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill. During the summer, sunny windows make your air conditioner work two to three times harder. If you live in the Sun Belt, look into
new solar control spectrally selective windows, which can cut the cooling load by more than half.

If your home has single-pane windows, as almost half of U.S. homes do, consider replacing them. New doublepane windows with highperformance glass (e.g., low-e or spectrally selective) are available on the market. In colder climates, select windows that are gas filled with low emissivity (low-e) coatings on the glass to reduce heat loss. In warmer climates, select windows with spectrally selective coatings to reduce heat gain. If you are building a new home, you can offset some of the cost of installing more efficient windows because doing so allows you to buy smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment. If you decide not to replace your windows, the simpler, less costly measures listed below can improve their performance.

Cold-Climate Window Tips

You can use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Remember, the plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing. Close your curtains and shades at night; open them during the day. Keep windows on the south side of your house clean to let in the winter sun.

Install exterior or interior storm windows; storm windows can reduce heat loss through the windows by 25% to 50%. Storm windows should have weatherstripping at all moveable joints; be made of strong, durable materials; and have interlocking or overlapping joints. Low-e storm windows save even more energy. Repair and weatherize your current storm windows, if necessary.

Warm-Climate Window Tips

Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
Close curtains on south- and westfacing windows during the day. Install awnings on south- and westfacing windows. Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar gain.


Most exterior doors that are purchased new will be either steel or fiberglass shelled , with a insulated foam core and come with the jambs and all the needed weather stripping already pre-installed. If you are using your existing exterior doors. A good weatherstripping is essential to eliminate drafts and from heat exiting around your doors. Quality weather stripping kits are available at your local hardware store and are relatively easy to install and can improve your energy efficiency immediately.

Long-Term Savings Tip

Installing new, high-performance windows and doors will improve your home’s energy performance. While it may take many years for new windows and doors to pay off in energy savings, the benefits of added comfort and improved aesthetics and functionality may make the investment worth it to you. Today, many new window and door technologies are available that are worth considering.

Glazing materials (the glass part of the window) now come with a variety of selective coatings and other features; frames are available in aluminum, wood, vinyl, fiber glass, or
combinations of these materials. Each type of glazing material and frame has advantages and disadvantages.
Most will depend on the exterior type of your house and the look that you are trying to achieve.

This is part 6 of a 7 part series on Home Energy Savings. Click on the link at the top of this page to get our feed, either from RSS or e-mail, so you don’t miss an installment.

Our next Installment (part 7) will be a wrap up of Home Energy Savings.

Peace and Prosperity,
Rich @ NY Homesteader

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