Planning a window replacement in your home? For optimal results, you definitely want to take the layout of your house into consideration. Did you know that some windows are better suited for specific areas in your home than others? We’ve previously discussed why awning windows are ideal air suppliers for your kitchen, how a casement window can maximize a tight space, and what windows to get above your deck so you don’t bump your head every time you walk by.
But besides maximizing the functionality of your residential windows, did you know that properly choosing window features for different rooms can help you save money AND make your home more comfortable?
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When window suppliers discuss the energy efficiency properties of a unit, they often tend to focus on how well the windows keep the cold out. But with some simple planning you can actually bring warmth into your room, without exhausting your boiler or your wallet.
It all has to do with the sun’s energy. Even in the bitter cold Canadian climate, it is possible for your PVC windows to collect UV energy and warm your room.
The geographical location of our country means that it is possible to capture the heat from the low-hanging winter sun through a south-facing window. If you consider getting a unit with a high SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) for this side of the house, you can reap the benefits of an additional heating source at no extra cost. The advantage here is twofold: because the sun is much higher in the sky in the summer, the angle at which it hits the window is also much more steep, meaning the same south-facing room won’t overheat as the temperatures climb in the warmer months.
Tips for West and South facing windows
West or South facing windows naturally get a lot of light. It often comes as a surprise to a lot of people, that problems with windows on these sides of the house come not from keeping the cold out, but rather from the energy efficient windows making the room uncomfortably warm. Look for windows with minimal solar heat gain properties for these rooms. If a window is bigger in size you may even want to consider some Low-E options for units to cut down some of the unwanted UV radiation. Do still make sure that the windows have very good heat transfer properties; while you want the room to be warm in the winter, you don’t want any of the cool air escaping in the summer.
Tips for North and East facing windows
Windows at the North and East side of the house receive the least amount of light (although UV radiation from the atmosphere still passes through these windows). You want windows on this side of the house to have the best SHGC and U-Factor properties, to make sure they gain some heat while allowing as little as possible to escape.
Windows customers and sales consultants often discuss and compare windows in terms of their ER ratings. These are some of the most comprehensive and unified standards for comparing products between window companies. But knowing the numbers like SHGC and U-Factor that go into the ER formula can go a long way to maximizing the comfort of your home, and functional potential of your unique windows.