Jun 29 2015

improve energy efficiencyWindows are an architectural and aesthetic focal point to any Sugar Land home. Windows pose a challenge though, when you’re trying to maximize home efficiency. Heat gain or heat loss because of window condition or design, makes a home uncomfortable. Greater load burden is also placed on your A/C and furnace – which may shorten life span and cause more repair issues. So, if you’re looking to improve energy efficiency in your home, the benefits are clear — start with your windows.

Improving Energy Efficiency

Your home’s envelope is comprised of the materials that separate living spaces from the outside elements and unconditioned areas. Windows are the weak link in the envelope and can account for up to a 25 percent cooling and heating hike in your energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The answer to this home efficiency problem is a combination of, sealing leaky windows, and installing interior and exterior window treatments.

By focusing on your windows to improve energy efficiency, you can substantially reduce your cooling and heating bills, and you can enjoy more peace and quiet with less outside noise when you select the right window treatments.

Finding Air Leaks

Before you can seal air leaks to improve energy efficiency around the windows, you must find them. Use these easy tips:

  • Close all windows and entry doors, and open all interior doors.
  • Turn on all exhaust fans in bathrooms and the kitchen to depressurize your home.
  • Use a lit incense stick or smoke pencil and trace it around all windows.
  • If the smoke wavers, you’ve found an air leak.
  • Mark the location with a sticky note and a description if it helps.
  • You may also check for air leaks around entry doors while you’re at it.

Sealing Air Leaks

Sealing air leaks takes a little more work than finding them, but not too much. The basic materials and tools you need are caulk, weatherstripping, utility knife, latex gloves and measuring tape. Caulk and weatherstripping are available in different types and materials for different leak areas. For example, rope caulk can seal sashes of windows that are seldom opened to improve energy efficiency. Latex caulk can seal cracks around the window frame.

Exterior Window Treatments

There are many exterior window treatments available for your design preferences and for better curb appeal. Some window treatments may require professional installation. Others you may install if you’re handy around the home. Consider these options.

  • Awnings – Shade sun-struck windows with awnings for exterior charm, and a 65 to 77 percent reduction in heat gain.
  • Shutters – In addition to adding exterior charm and blocking sunlight as needed, shutters add privacy and security. Automatic rolling shutters make adjusting during inclement weather a breeze.
  • Solar screens – Solar screens offer privacy, cut glare and block direct sunlight without obstructing your view.
  • Storm panels – Storm panels restrict heat gain/loss up to 50 percent and may be installed outside or inside the home.

Interior Window Treatments

Interior treatments may be part of interior design plans. You also have window treatment options for quick and easy installation. Consider these options to suit your tastes, budget and home efficiency goals.

  • Insulated curtains – Insulated curtains are an easy and smart way to save energy year-round. Layered and lined curtains are available in a variety of styles.
  • Films – Window films are effective in limiting solar heat gain. However, films permanently obscure views due to their tint.
  • Blinds – Window blinds may be installed inside a double-pane window or simply inside the home’s interior. They are an easy way to control solar heat gain.
  • Shades – Like other interior window treatments, window shades are available in many colors and designs. Cellular honeycomb shades block heat gain/loss by trapping air in cells.

If you have questions about how to improve energy efficiency with window sealing and treatments in your Sugar Land home, check out Conditioned Air’s home efficiency services, or call 281-201-0356.

Image Provided by Shutterstock.com

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