Once winter officially makes its presence known, it can get quite chilly up in the north to northwestern side of Chicago. Since the season is still a good month or so away, now’s the perfect time to seal your home against the frigid months ahead.
Are you contemplating upgrading your windows in the beautiful northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois? If so, you’re making a smart move, especially if you’re considering energy efficiency as a priority.
Windows with energy-saving glass enhance your home’s comfort year-round and slash those dreaded energy bills. With Joliet’s right window replacement services, you can trade the old for the new and shut the oncoming cold out once and for all.
In this comprehensive guide, you can learn everything you need to know about selecting the perfect energy-efficient windows for your lovely home.
What Makes a Window Energy Efficient?
Before discussing the nuts and bolts of window selection, let’s see what sets an energy-efficient window replacement apart.
Energy-saving windows are designed to be formidable barriers against the relentless exchange of heat between the interior and exterior of your home.
They are not a novelty by any means. On the contrary, they have been around long enough to form a niche in the window industry worth an impressive $10.60 billion.
Terms to Know
Check out the terminology below if you’re new to windows with energy-saving glass. These terms are, to some extent, the parameters of energy-efficient windows. On the other hand, they also comprise terms you’ll want to avoid when shopping for window replacements.
U-Factor: The Insulation Maestro
The U-factor is your window’s insulation MVP. It quantifies a window’s insulation capability, with lower values being the heroes here. A good score for windows generally falls between 0.20 and 1.20.
Windows with low U-factors are like the Fort Knox of insulation. They’ll keep that winter chill out and your precious indoor comfort in, a blessing for anyone living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with its volatile temperature swings.
Low-E Glass: The Year-Round Comfort Guardian
Low-emissivity (Low-E) glass features a subtle coating that plays a dual role.
In summer, it blocks out the heat from the sun, helping you keep cool. In winter, it reflects solar heat into your home, keeping it cozy. This duality is the primary reason these windows comprise 50% of the window sales in the commercial market and constitute 80% of all window sales in the residential market.
It’s like having a trusty sidekick that adapts to your comfort needs, making it a must-have in a region like northwest Chicago with its dramatic weather changes.
Insulated Glass: Layers of Insulation
Insulated glass windows are like a multi-layered security system for your home’s comfort. They have multiple layers of glass with an insulating gas, like argon, between each layer, effectively reducing heat transfer, leading to less of that precious indoor warmth escaping during winter and less sweltering heat entering during summer.
Windows with this energy-saving glass are the unsung heroes in northwest Chicago, where temperature extremes are the norm.
Non-Insulated Glass: A Chink in the Armor
Non-insulated, single-pane glass windows offer minimal insulation, allowing heat to escape easily.
In the frosty winters of the northwest suburbs, these windows can leave you shivering and your energy bills soaring because your HVAC will be forced to work extra hard to warm your home. Even if you don’t have a problem paying more for your utilities, you don’t want the hassle of prematurely repairing and replacing a faulty HVAC system.
Thus, it’s best to steer clear of windows with non-insulated glass if energy efficiency is your goal.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: Balancing Light and Heat
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) determines how effectively a window blocks heat from the sun. A lower SHGC is ideal for hot climates because it reflects that the window transmits minimal solar heat.
Conversely, a slightly higher SHGC may be more suitable in colder areas like the suburbs of northwest Chicago because they portray a window that emits more solar heat during winter.
That said, achieving the right balance between natural light and temperature control is key, and understanding SHGC helps strike that balance. You do not want a window with a too high SHGC, as it could make for more sticky summers.
Factors to Consider
Consider the following factors when selecting energy-efficient windows for your Chicago-based abode.
Your region’s climate is a pivotal player in window replacement selection. In these Chicago suburbs, where winters can be ruthlessly frosty and summers unerringly sweltering, prioritize windows with low U-factors and Low-E glass. These features will ensure your home maintains a bearable temperature regardless of how extreme the weather is outside.
Energy-efficient windows can represent a hefty financial investment, but they pay off, and then some, in the form of energy savings over time.
Consider your budget and explore various options. Keep in mind that some energy-efficient features may qualify for local or federal tax incentives or deductions, which can sweeten the deal.
Selecting the right window replacement service could make or break your final product. It could mean sealing that slot in your wall against the outside elements, including water, air, and pollutants.
There are many ways to check that a window is installed properly. Check the level, bowing, and sash if you don’t feel a draft after installation. If the latter is hard to open, something went wrong during installation.
Preparing for Winter in Joliet
Preparing your windows and exterior doors for energy efficiency during winter in Joliet, Illinois, is crucial to keeping your home warm and reducing heating costs. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Weatherstripping: Check the weatherstripping around your windows and exterior doors. Weatherstripping serves as a barrier against drafts. If you notice any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, gaps, or flattened weatherstrips, it’s time for a replacement. High-quality weatherstripping ensures a tight seal, preventing cold air infiltration and heat loss.
2. Caulking: Inspect the caulking around window frames and doorframes. Look for any visible gaps or cracks in the caulk. These gaps can allow cold air to seep in and warm air to escape, which can significantly impact energy efficiency. Reapply caulk as needed to seal these gaps effectively.
3. Window Film: Window film is an excellent option for improving the insulation of your windows. It’s a thin, transparent material that you apply to the interior of your windows. This film helps to reduce heat loss by creating an additional layer of insulation. It can be particularly effective for single-pane windows or older double-pane windows that lack advanced insulation.
4. Draft Stoppers: Draft stoppers, also known as draft snakes, are simple and practical tools to seal gaps at the bottom of exterior doors. These weighted fabric tubes block cold air from entering and warm air from escaping under the door. They are easy to install and provide an immediate improvement in energy efficiency.
5. Storm Windows and Doors: If you have storm windows or storm doors, ensure they are in good condition and install them before winter arrives. Storm windows and doors provide an extra layer of protection against the elements, helping to reduce heat loss and drafts.
6. Insulated Curtains or Blinds: Invest in insulated curtains or blinds for your windows. These window coverings have added insulation properties, with multiple layers designed to trap heat and block cold air. Use them during the nighttime or when windows are not in use to enhance energy efficiency.
7. Window Insulation Kits: Window insulation kits contain plastic film and double-sided tape. They are an affordable and accessible DIY solution to create an airtight seal over windows. These kits can significantly reduce heat loss through windows and are particularly useful for large or drafty windows.
8. Exterior Door Insulation: Add an insulation kit to your exterior doors. These kits typically include foam or magnetic strips that attach to the door frame. They provide an extra layer of insulation around the door, minimizing drafts and improving energy efficiency.
9. Check for Cracks and Gaps: Carefully examine your windows and doors for cracks and gaps in their frames. Use an appropriate sealant or caulk to seal these openings. Properly sealed windows and doors ensure that the cold air stays out and warm air remains inside your home.
10. Replace or Upgrade: If your windows or exterior doors are old and inefficient, consider replacing them with energy-efficient models. Look for products with the Energy Star label, as they meet stringent energy efficiency standards. Upgrading to modern, well-insulated windows and doors can substantially impact your home’s energy performance.
11. Gutter Maintenance: Gutter protection is an often overlooked aspect of home energy efficiency but can make a significant difference. During the cold Illinois winters, gutter freeze protection is crucial. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, which damage your roof and compromise your home’s insulation. Investing in gutter guards can prevent leaves and debris from clogging your gutters, allowing rainwater and melting snow to flow freely. This protects your roof and helps maintain a consistent indoor temperature by preventing heat loss through a compromised attic.
When considering gutter guard prices, consider them an investment in long-term energy savings and home maintenance. Gutter protection costs a fraction of what you might spend on roof repairs and energy bills due to heat escaping through your attic. Additionally, a gutter drain cover can enhance the efficiency of your gutter system, ensuring that water is efficiently channeled away from your home’s foundation. In the long run, gutter protection pays for itself by preserving your home’s energy efficiency and structural integrity, making it a smart addition to your energy-saving strategy.
12. Professional Inspection: Consider scheduling a professional energy audit for your home. An energy auditor can assess your windows, doors, insulation, and overall energy efficiency. They will identify specific areas that need improvement and provide tailored recommendations for enhancing your home’s energy performance.
By addressing these 12 suggestions, you can significantly enhance the energy efficiency of your home’s windows and exterior doors, ensuring a more comfortable and cost-effective winter season in Joliet, Illinois.
Additional Tips for Energy Efficiency
While choosing the right windows is paramount, they don’t encompass every inch of your home. Thus, there are additional strategies you can employ to boost energy efficiency in areas not occupied by your Joliet windows.
Curtains and Blinds
Investing in energy-efficient curtains or blinds can complement your windows splendidly. These window coverings can block sunlight during summer, reducing cooling costs and providing extra insulation during winter. It’s like adding a fashionable layer of control over your indoor climate.
Take louvered blinds; you can keep these window accessories closed and lowered during summer and keep the solar heat out of your home through the windows.
Conversely, in the winter, you can open and raise them to admit as much solar heat as possible while your insulated window simultaneously prevents the cold from seeping through the glass.
Shutters and Awnings
Exterior shutters and awnings aren’t just about aesthetics; they’re also effective in shading your windows from direct sunlight.
These shades are a simple and age-old way to reduce heat entering your home, lessening the burden on your HVAC system. It’s a win-win-win, enhancing comfort, elevating your home’s exterior appeal, and acting as a shelter from the rain and snow.
Strategically planting trees or shrubs near your windows can provide shade during the sizzling summer and act as a natural windbreak in winter. Since these greens will be outside, not inside, your home, you can gain warmth from their physical cover without experiencing any of the unpleasant humidity they need to thrive.
As they stand guard outside your home, these plants regulate indoor temperatures, reducing the need for constant heating and cooling. It’s a sustainable and visually appealing way to boost energy efficiency.
Proper maintenance of your windows, especially their energy-saving glass, is essential for long-term energy efficiency.
Make it a point to inspect seals at least once annually, maintain frames, and promptly replace any damaged glass. Consistent upkeep ensures that your insulated windows continue to perform optimally, providing you with lasting comfort and savings.
Consider Window Replacement with Will County Siding and Windows
Choosing energy-efficient windows for your Chicago home is a wise investment. It enhances comfort and slashes energy bills, saving more in the short and long run. You can create a more sustainable and comfortable living environment by acquainting yourself with these key terms, considering your unique climate and budget, and incorporating additional energy-saving strategies.
When you’re ready to embark on this valuable upgrade, consult with local professionals at Will County Siding and Windows, who specialize in installing Joliet windows with energy-saving glass in several areas, including the northwest Chicago suburbs.
They’ll help you select windows tailored to your needs and ensure a seamless installation. Gain the benefits of energy-efficient windows while enjoying the peace of mind that you’re contributing to a more sustainable future. Make your home cozier, more cost-efficient, and more environmentally friendly.
Reach out for a quote on your window replacement today.