What’s the Benefit of Energy-Efficient Double Pane Windows?
There is one simple energy fact that all homeowners need to know: heating and cooling uses the most energy in the home. In fact, the HVAC (the furnace and air conditioner) accounts for nearly half of the home’s energy use. Anything that homeowners can do to help ease the pressure from their heating and cooling could help the monthly utility bill.
One way to keep warm and cold air from leaching into the home and adding more work for the HVAC is to ensure that windows are high quality and well insulated. Energy efficient double pane windows are usually the best choice for ensuring that windows aren’t the source of energy leaks. What’s the benefit of upgrading to these windows? Can’t homeowners insulate windows in other ways?
Save Money with Energy-Efficient Double Pane Windows
Windows and doors can be energy efficient and feature the ENERGY STAR label. Energy-efficient windows typically feature two panes of glass, often with gas between the panes that acts as an extra insulation barrier. Upgrading to these windows could save homeowners more than 10 percent on their utility bill.
In addition to double panes and insulating gas, these windows also may include a special coating that helps block UV light. This can help decrease damage and fading to furniture, pictures, etc.
Those living in the northernmost and southernmost regions in the U.S. may reap the most benefits from upgrading to double pane windows. In fact, those living in the north saved more than $360 per year when they replaced single paned windows with energy-efficient double pane windows. Those in the south saved $280 per year with this upgrade.
While savings was less substantial when upgrading double pane windows to energy –efficient double pane windows, those living in both regions still saved more than $100 per year.
Are Double-Pane Energy Efficient Windows Expensive?
Sears Home Services explains that energy-efficient costs $300 to $1,000 per window. Depending on how many windows need to be upgraded, the investment could be fairly high. Homeowners might elect to tackle a room at a time until all windows in the home are replaced.
The savings over time, though, could add up, especially if old windows were leading to drafts in the home.
Can Homeowners Make Current Windows More Energy-Efficient
While standard windows won’t have the same protection against the elements as double-pane energy efficient windows, homeowners might not be ready to pay for an upgrade. Can homeowners make current windows more energy efficient?
Here are a few tips to save energy with those current windows:
- Use window film to add more insulation (this is an easy and cheap DIY project)
- Shut the blinds on hot and sunny days
- Use blackout curtains to keep UV light out and help keep the room cool
- Install an overhang
- Check around windows for leaks and have them repaired
Install Window Film
Home stores sell a film that can be placed over windows to add another layer of protection. It’s almost like cling wrap for the window, and the film can help keep out leaks and cold or hot air. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it can help.
Shut the Blinds
This is the easiest and cheapest way homeowners can keep the room cooler on a hot day. Plus those blinds or curtains could help keep out UV light and prevent furniture and photos from fading.
Use Blackout Curtains
These curtains add even more protection against the sun. They will help keep the room cooler, too. Blackout curtains can be purchased online at home stores, or homeowners can make them; there are many easy tutorials online.
Check the Windows for Leaks
Sometimes cracks in the frame or little gaps can cause air to leak in the home; unfortunately, those leaks cause drafts or help warm up the room and make the HVAC work harder. If homeowners don’t know how to tackle repairs themselves, they need to call a pro for repairs.
For windows that are in direct sunlight and endure the worst heat, the Department of Energy recommends that homeowners install an awning or overhang to add shade and improve energy-efficiency. An overhang will keep the sun from heating up the room and blaring through the window.
Homeowners who want to increase the energy-efficiency of their home can upgrade their older windows for energy-efficient double pane windows. These windows can save homeowners more than 10 percent on their utility bill, and those who live in the northernmost or southernmost areas of the country could save $100 or more each year.
Homeowners who don’t have the budget to upgrade to new windows, though, can increase the efficiency of their current windows by using blackout curtains, window film or by installing an awning to shade windows from the sun.