Your Windows: Energy-Saving Options

Our homes can consume a lot of nonrenewable resources, particularly when it comes to keeping comfortable. In fact, home heating and air conditioning are the greatest contributors to every American’s carbon footprint, and with the price of fossil fuels rising every year, heat and air conditioning are among every homeowner’s most expensive line-item.

One way to cut down on the costs and improve your efficiency is to install energy-saving windows.

b2ap3_thumbnail_window-panesIf your home has older windows, the money you are trying to save in other ways, such as installing energy-efficient appliances or buying local produce, is going right out the window – literally. Older windows are single pane, which can be a large source of heat transfer – meaning they allow the warmth out in the winter and the heat in in the summer. This will cause your HVAC system to work overtime just to keep your family comfortable.

Windows are actually the most common place for homes to lose energy. Why? Because glass is an excellent conductor. It quickly moves energy from one side of the window to the other. Think of your car and how warm and steamy the interior gets when it is parked in the sun, even though it is pleasant outside.

Besides replacing your windows with more energy-efficient ones, there are other steps you can take to make your windows more energy efficient and reduce your energy consumption.

  • Seal windows. Sealing the gaps around windows and doors can help reduce drafts (most noticeable in the winter) and heat loss.
  • Use window treatments. To keep your home comfortable all year round, use blinds and drapes that have an insulating lining. When you want the warmth of the sun inside, open up them up, and close them when you want to block the rays. Insulated drapes keep the warmth inside during cold winter months, too.

Keep in mind that although your home may not be terribly old, the windows may still have less-than-ideal energy-efficiency ratings. Check the ratings and compare those to what’s available today.

For homeowners who want to truly improve their home’s energy efficiency, your best bet is to replace inefficient windows with more efficient ones. Look for “Low-E” windows that have krypton or argon gas between the panes. The gases are invisible, but serve as a protective layer of insulation that prevents glass from being a heat conductor.

If you’d like to increase your home’s comfort level while spending less on heating and cooling, improving your windows is the answer. Seal cracks, install appropriate window treatments and replace old, inefficient windows, and soon you’ll notice a big difference.

Stormy Weather

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April showers are here! As well as thunderstorms!

To some, this is a welcome sign of spring. Watering flowers, hydrating lawns and providing needed replenishment to the earth.

To others, this is a reoccurring nightmare that is relived every year. The coming of April showers means the headache of wet, flooded or damp basements and/or leaky roofs.

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Some things you can correct, other things, like living in a flood plain, there is little you can do to correct.

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It seems that no matter what we intend to do each year these issues seem to get pushed down the list of things to do as other things take precedence.

There are some things that you can do to combat the flooding problem that you can have done or try to tackle yourself that don’t need to break the bank.

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Grading. This sounds expensive and it could possibly get to be more so if there are major issues on the property. But small things like grading flowerbeds away from the house foundation can help funnel thousands of gallons of water away from your home over the course of a wet, stormy season.

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Downspouts. Properly maintaining and placement of downspouts also plays a big role in the removal of rainwater from the building envelope. It’s not enough just to put an elbow at the bottom of the downspout, the water needs to be able to get away from the foundation and not drain back towards the house.

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Drainage. This can be entering into the arena of more costly and perhaps not to be done by a homeowner. This option has two areas of focus. The first is focused on diverting the ground water away from the home before it reaches the foundation with French drain type system and the second is focused on properly draining the foundation to prevent moisture penetration of the foundation thus compromising the moisture prevention system.

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There is always the prudent advise of getting professionals involved early and to get a comprehensive moisture control plan in place prior to the onset of the rainy season.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… “May Flowers”   

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