It’s summer on Long Island, NY. This means warmer weather, higher humidity, beach time, family vacations, and — higher electric bills. If you’re serious about enjoying all of the good things about summer and taking those high air conditioning bills down a few notches this year, it’s time to think about upgrading your home windows with quality replacement windows to keep the heat and humidity outside where it belongs.
You’ve probably heard that fixed windows – those that don’t open – are more energy efficient than operational windows. But, the difference between the performances of operating windows versus stationary windows isn’t as drastic as you might think unless you significantly increase the number of fixed windows throughout your home.
2 Important Factors in the Replacement Window Formula
There’s no magic formula to help you decide how many windows in your Long Island home should be operable and how many should remain permanently closed, but there are some numbers that will help you maximize your savings.
Comparing the U-Value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) ratings of various window styles gives you a better understanding of window performance.
As a rule of thumb, the lower the U-Value rating, the greater energy efficiency a window offers. U-Value numbers represent a window’s resistance to heat transfer, or the amount of heat that moves through a window.
It’s important to realize that your window’s framing material plays a major role in heat transfer. Metal frames don’t resist heat transfer as well as wood frames or windows built with Fibrex composite material. Glazing also impacts U-Factor ratings. We recommend homeowners in and around Long Island look for numbers in the .30 to .32 range for best results. Keep in mind that Low-E glazing improves energy efficiency, but it’s always best to talk to your window consultant about different glass options for different situations in your home.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) Numbers
Choosing window styles based only on the SHGC can be a bit confusing. As the seasons change, your heating and cooling goals and window performance expectations may change. Right now, during the muggy, sweltering summer months, you want to limit the amount of heat that comes into your home., but consider that you might want to take advantage of some solar heat gain to minimize heating expense during the winter.
You may benefit from installing removable awnings or overhangs that filter direct sunlight during the summer and allow more natural light to flow indoors during the winter. Look for windows with a low SHGC rating and talk to your replacement window professional about ways to manage heat gain throughout the year.
If you have trouble finding windows with both high-performance U-Values and low SHGC ratings, focus on the U-Value. Generally, a superior U-Value indicates a high-efficiency window that will help you manage your heating and cooling budget effectively year round.
Defining the Ratio for Fixed & Operational Renewal by Andersen of Long Island Replacement Windows
You might think you’d get the best results by replacing all operable windows with fixed windows. But, that isn’t necessarily the case. While fixed windows give you the largest viewing area and provide abundant opportunities to increase the amount of light that comes into your home, there are negative considerations for this approach.
For one thing, building code requires that you have one operable window large enough for people to get out in case of an emergency like a house fire. If you ever want to refinance your home, FHA inspectors will expect to see at least one operable egress window in every room. Zero operating windows could mean zero financing options.
Another consideration is resale value. Most homeowners want the option to open windows for ventilation and cooling during mild weather months. A home without any opening windows could be a definite drawback if you decide to sell your house in the future. Before you finalize plans to drastically reduce the number of operational windows in your home, check with the local building department, or talk to your window design consultant about restrictions and requirements in our area.
Other Factors Impacting Window Energy Efficiency
Window styles impact energy efficiency. Since you now understand that framing material and glass type play significant roles in overall window performance, you’re more prepared to make decisions about style preference.
Low-profile fixed windows work perfectly in areas where you want to improve energy efficiency with a focus on field of vision and light levels, but you aren’t concerned about ventilation. You’ll reap investment savings and on-going energy savings since fixed windows can be less expensive than operable counterparts.
Combining sliders and hung windows with low-profile picture windows improves performance, and you’ll enjoy broader views along with more natural sunlight. Plus, fixed windows virtually eliminate air and moisture leaks. Picture windows built with a high-profile frame are a better visual match with casement, awning and hopper windows.
Renewal by Andersen of Long Island Replacement Windows: Finding the Right Formula for Your Home
There’s not a perfect formula or ratio for every home. To maximize energy efficiency you’ll need to consider the architectural characteristics and surroundings that make your home unique. Please accept our invitation to schedule a free no-obligation home inspection to discuss the best ratio for your circumstances. Reach us toll free at 1-877-313-9052 or fill in the short form on this page for more information.
Download our Free Guide to Long Island Replacement Windows
- The Difference Between Replacement and New Construction Windows!
- The Different Kinds of Frame Materials and What That Means to Your Windows’ Performance and Longevity!
- How the Right Glass Can Save You Money on Your Heating & Cooling Bills!
- The Critical Role Proper Installation Plays in the Performance, Durability and Warranty of Your New Replacement Windows!
- What Features and Options are Important to You and What Role They Play in Your Ultimate Satisfaction Today, and for as Long As You Live in Your Home!