A guide to energy saving tips for your windows
In 2020, we’re all about helping to preserve our planet’s resources in order to ensure its survival. Despite initiatives such as cutting down on single use plastics and recycling more, people are still wasting energy - and throwing away money - through their windows.
Drafting in reinforcements
Within our homes, gaps in brickwork, doors and windows not only let in draughts but also leech heat from a room. This, in turn, leads to people keeping their heating on higher temperatures for longer. This is particularly true in buildings where windows are single glazing and are very old as general wear and tear adds to window cracks and gaps over time. Needless to say, wasting energy can have an incredibly detrimental effect on our environment - as well as our bank balances, particularly over extended time periods. Figures show that these gaps and draughts can cost up to a staggering £50 per year, per household - and much more so in offices and workplaces.
Mind the gap
Nobody likes the thought of throwing away money but cold winters, particularly in countries like Canada, mean that having the heating on is often a way of life. The good news is that there are a number of ways in which you can reduce energy waste from your windows - even if your home is rented.
Double and triple glazing
The most effective way of retaining heat and saving energy in your home is to install double or triple glazed windows. As the name suggests, these windows are comprised of two or three separate panes of glass to provide extra layers of protection against the elements and to prevent expensive energy waste. Triple glazed windows can be expensive but, will pay for themselves over time during Canada’s cold winter months.
Low-E glass coating
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to brand new windows, you can work with what you’ve got by applying a glass coating. These work, essentially, by reducing the amount of ‘bad’ UV radiation passing through the glass. Not only does this help to prevent heat escaping from your room but, it also stops the room overheating during warmer weather - making it a win win for windows!
For the homeowner, not only do good quality windows save you money, they can make you money too. Great looking, energy efficient windows can significantly add to the value of your home when it comes time for you to sell.
It’s a gas
If you have double or triple glazed windows then you’re doing well on efficiency - but you can do even better! Argon and Krypton (nothing to do with our friend with the cape) gases can provide extra protection for your windows. These are, essentially, gases which contain insulating properties and particles. When placed between glass layers in double or triple glazed windows, these clever gases reduce heat transfer and help you to keep your home energy efficient. When dealing with gases such as Argon and Krypton, it’s always best to leave it to the professionals.
Although double or triple glazed windows and glass coating are extremely effective, long term solutions, your budget or rental contract may prohibit you from installing these as many tenancy contracts forbid you to make any permanent changes to the property. If that’s the case, don’t worry - there are still plenty of ways in which you can stop your energy and money from flying out of your windows:
The perfect storm
Storm windows have come a long way since the days when they were rickety and unsightly. These days, the modern storm window is operable, good-looking and relatively inexpensive. Additionally, the new generation of storm window can be mounted as a permanent solution all year round which can result in some impressive savings on your heating bills. If you’re not in a position to buy or install new windows, investing in decent quality storm windows is the next best thing. During the summer, storm windows offer the added bonus of acting as an insect repellant too.
The drape of things to come
Simple and effective, a good quality pair of curtains in a heavy fabric can help to protect your room from heat loss as well as making it look cosy. If you’re feeling flush, you can invest in thermal curtains which feature a layer of acrylic foam sandwiched between layers of fabric in order to provide insulation and prevent heat loss and excess noise from outside. If you can’t stretch to the thermal option then a good quality pair of heavy lined curtains will usually get the job done.
Draught excluder strips
Quick, cheap and easy, draught excluder strips are an effective way of keeping heat where it belongs - in your home. Available in different materials, including fabric and plastic, these strips are usually self-adhesive and supplied on a roll (much like sellotape) for easy application. Simply snip off the length of strip needed and affix it carefully to the edges of your windows being careful not to cover the areas where the window meets the frame in order for the window to close. To find out where to place the strips, place a feather or some thin pieces of paper around the window to identify areas of draught.
Get your fill
For a more long term solution, foam or silicone mastic fillers are a kind of putty which can be applied to gaps in window frames to keep out the cold. Available in bottle or tube form, they can be applied directly from the tube for easy and precise results. These can be bought really inexpensively from most homeware and hardware stores, however, always make sure that you have your landlord’s permission if you’re renting a property.
Your windows really are the eyes of your home and should always be carefully maintained. As well as letting in light and keeping out the cold, good quality windows help you save on your heating bills and also add value to your home when it comes time to sell.