Can Replacing Windows Make Your House "Greener"?
When listing ideas on how to save money on your energy bills, which by extension reduces your carbon footprint, you may not immediately think about the role your windows play in that equation. Through the unnoticeable shifting of the Earth, your windows could potentially release from their firm holds in the wall resulting in a break in the seal. This small crack could cause the temperature in the house to equalize with the temperature outside causing your heater or AC unit to work harder to maintain a comfortable living space.
When building your home, it is extremely beneficial for you to select windows with a good energy rating to be installed during the initial construction. It may cost a little more than sub-standard windows, but it will save you a great deal of money and energy in the long run.
If you are not the first owner of your home and notice an increase in your energy output or condensation or fogging between your window panes, it might be beneficial for you to have an expert inspect your windows. Depending on the scale of damage, he or she might recommend the repair of a cracked seal or to replace the window completely. In addition to the money you will save not purchasing a new window, you will also be saving an otherwise perfectly good older window from the landfill which decreases your carbon footprint further still.
Window maintenance is an important factor in keeping your home efficient, but if the seal breaks on double or triple-pane windows, the issues tend to get more expensive. Double-pane windows have an insulating gas pumped in between the panes. This gas, either krypton or argon gas, acts much the same way as the fiberglass insulation in the walls of your home. Generally these windows have a lifespan of approximately 20 years, but accidents can occur reducing the efficiency of these windows.
At this point, you will have to assess if having the window repaired is even worth the cost when having a brand new window installed is an option. From a practical standpoint, it is generally recommended that you get the entire window replaced. Always get a quote from your contractor or specialist and compare apples to apples. A brand new window may cost more than a repair, but you can generally expect fewer issues to arise in the near future saving you the worry.
It is also possible to have your window panes glazed or covered with a low emissivity (Low-E) heat-reflecting film which could also help increase the efficiency of your home, especially during the hot summer months. This is typically done in a factory or shop, but there are some companies out there who will perform house calls to install this energy saving service.
At the end of the day, your choice may be influenced by finances or your particular energy needs. Talk to your contractor to find out how you can save money on your energy bills and take that next step in maintaining a greener household.
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