If you’ve recently started looking into replacing your old windows with new energy efficient ones, you’ve most likely ran into some terminology you may have not been familiar with. Glazing, frame materials, low-E and gas fills are all words that are not part of most peoples every day vocabulary and can get confusing and lost in all of the information. Well we are here to help you understand what it all means, by the end of this post you’ll know the basic energy efficient window lingo!
When most people think of a window the first thing that comes to mind is glass so we’ll start there, with glazing. Glazing refers to the glass or layers of glass (single, double or triple), coatings or tints used in the window. The next thing that comes to mind is the frame material, or the portion surrounding the glass that holds it in place, the most common materials being wood, aluminum or vinyl. What we see in most houses and most likely the reason you’re reading this post is wood. Wood window frames have a classic look and are still in many houses today, but if you have wood windows you’ve probably noticed a draft when near your windows because wood is not a good insulator. They’ve probably been painted or stained repeatedly to keep them looking nice, which makes them stick and harder to each year. Aluminum is another common frame material we see because it is stable and light weight but the downside is that they don’t hold heat very well and they are also a heat conductor, which means they are not great for colder climates. This leaves us with the last frame material we listed which is vinyl. Vinyl is the most common in todays replacement window industry because it is a good insulator, durable and easy to clean and maintain. Because vinyl does expand and contract with temperature changes you’ll want to make sure you choose a company that uses good quality vinyl with heat welded frame corners because these will hold up the best over time.
So that is what comes to mind when you think of a window, but what usually doesn’t are things like low-E or gas fills, such as argon and krypton. Low-E or low-emissivity is a highly transparent, virtually invisible coating. The coating is highly reflective which minimizes the amount of ultra-violet rays and infrared light that enters the window, in simpler terms, it reflects light instead of absorbing it. Gas fills are just that, certain types of gas that fills the area between each layer of glass and help the thermal performance of the window. There is argon and krypton which are both nontoxic, nonreactive, clear, and odorless gases. Spacers are the pieces used to separate the two panes of glass, this seals the gas space between the panes.
There it is, all the words we think you’ll need to know when looking into new energy efficient windows. If there is something you still aren’t sure on or we didn’t include please comment and let us know, we’d be happy to help! If you’re ready to meet with a representative and talk about all of your options and see some of our samples then give us a call, we offer free, no obligation, in home estimates.