You want a home that is comfortable temperature-wise during cold weather months, and you don’t want to pay astronomic heating bills to get comfortable, right? One of the key problems is heat loss and there are some things you can do that will help.
Where Does Heat Escape from a Home?
Warm air escapes from a home due to air leaks and poor insulation. Air leaks can be found around doors and windows, from vents on exterior walls, from electrical outlets and light switches, at baseboards, and crown molding.
Heat also escapes through the roof, walls, and floors if they aren’t adequately insulated. A typical house loses 10 percent or more of its heat through its windows. If you feel drafts, see cracks or visual gaps, you know you have air leaks. And those will all run up your heating bill.
Something to Know: R-Value
R-value (the “R” stands for resistance) is the rating system that grades a product or material’s insulating properties. So, to get the best insulation for your home—insulating materials that prevent the most heat from flowing out of or into a home, you want a higher R-value.
What Are the Window Materials and Window Styles That Best Prevent Heat Loss?
If you need to get replacement windows, here are the things you need to know about window frames, glass, and window styles.
Insulated fiberglass or vinyl frames or composite wood product frames have better insulating properties than aluminum or metal frames. While wood frames have good insulating properties, they require regular maintenance.
Glass (glazing) is the biggest factor in energy efficiency. Single glazing used to be the standard but today, the standard is a double-glazed low-E window that has inert gas insulation between the two panes.
These are significantly better than a single pane of glass at preventing heat gain and loss in a home. Low-E or low emissivity coatings control heat transfer and some climates even use spectrally selective coatings to filter out heat from the daylight.
The operating types of windows are also a factor in heat gain and loss. The most airtight windows are fixed picture windows that have no openings.
Awning, hopper, and casement windows close against the frame to prevent air leakage. Single and double-hung, and single and double sliding windows have the most heat loss.
How to Improve the Heat Loss from Existing Windows
To reduce heat loss from existing windows, use these simple tips:
- Apply plastic window film which can be found in kits at hardware stores.
- Use bubble wrap. Of course, it doesn’t look so good.
- Caulk or apply weather stripping around windows to eliminate gaps. Spray foam can be used if there are big gaps.
- Use weather stripping around doors.
- Hang insulating curtains (curtains with a thermal lining.)
- Use draft stoppers on windowsills and at the bottom of doors. These are cloth tubes that block some drafty air.
Other ways to help save heating energy include using a programmable thermostat and changing the furnace filter every three months.
Taking steps to reduce heat loss can provide more livable home comfort and reduce a home’s energy bills. So, don’t wait.