It can be hard to believe, but energy efficient windows in Canada often have more problems with overheating the rooms they are installed in, rather than under heating them.
This is especially true for sun facing windows on the Southern and Western sides of the houses. It is also good to consider how the sun affects your home if you live in an elevated area or there aren’t too many trees on your property.
But what’s the big deal, don’t you want as much energy from the sun as you can get, especially during the colder months?
Yes, but there is such a thing as too much UV energy. On a very basic level, rooms that are warmer than others create an imbalance in temperatures throughout the house, requiring you to manually control heat flow from the furnace.
Another big reason why overheating is a concern is the well-being of the furniture and surfaces in these rooms. Prolonged exposure to UV can cause furniture to fade and your white surfaces to lose their shine. Similarly, hardwood floors and granite countertops can quickly look faded if they are constantly being battered by the Sun’s harmful rays.
Remember, vinyl is a malleable product so just like other materials it expands and contracts with changes in temperature. Dark coloured vinyl is especially susceptible to sun exposure and warping.
There is one feature that is particularly targeted towards reducing the effect of UV on your rooms.
Should you get low-emissivity coatings on your glass?
Low-emissivity coatings (Low-E) are specifically designed to reduce the effect of harmful UV radiation on the rooms. Low-E simply acts as a filter or tint against the sun. But this coating is applied during the manufacturing process and has several advantages over store bought consumer grade tint films. There are several factors that make low emissivity a great additional feature to your windows:
- Low-E coatings come in a variety of applications so you can get as much protection from the sun as you need. You can get a single strength, double strength, or double application of single Low-E on triple pane windows, based on how much sun the room gets.
- A major advantage of Low-E is that it works year round and actually helps keep your home warm during the winter months. The coatings significantly reduce energy transfer through the glass, meaning you don’t have to run your furnace or air conditioning as hard, even at night.
- Another great plus to low-emissivity coatings is that many Canadian companies now offer them as a standard feature in their windows. You may want to opt for additional coatings on southern or western windows, but even with a single coating application your windows will be more efficient and significantly reduce UV damage to your rooms.
But Low-E isn’t the only way to keep the sun from destroying your furniture, floors, and family photos.
Planting trees is a great way to reduce the effects of harmful UV rays on your home.
Although it is more labour, intensive, putting some trees in front of your home can do wonders for shading the rooms and keeping them at a comfortable temperature. Not to mention, adding some greenery is a great way to give back to the planet, and help keep the air flowing into your home clean.
When installed properly, vinyl windows should last you for at least twenty years, regardless of what side of the house they are on. Ideally, they should also protect you from bad UV, and not cause fading in your rooms.
Consider that windows on Southern and Western walls may need different features from windows on the other side of the house.
Learn everything you need to know about replacement windows:
Find out how much a new window project should cost
Take a look at all the vinyl window styles we carry
Follow the replacement process in our visual INFOGRAPHIC