Tired of that high electric bill? We know what might be to blame...
Windows and doors are often the first places where energy is lost in a home. In fact, improperly sealed doors can result in energy losses as high as 10%, while windows account for an incredible 60% of all heating and cooling costs, according to a University of Florida study.
Because your windows are such big energy-suckers, we’re looking at some ways to improve these often neglected features.
Here are seven ways to improve your home window’s energy efficiency:
1. Inspect for Sealing Damage or Wear
The salty Southwest Florida air is corrosive and speeds the breakdown of caulking, seals and weather-stripping on your windows. Aged seals and strips allow cool air out and the elements in! Every six months or after each new storm, double-check there’s no cracking, damaged or missing caulking to prevent air leakage.
2. Don’t Neglect the Tracks
If your windows slide on a track or you have storm coverings with a track like accordion shutters, pay close attention to the moving pieces. Debris or grime can get caught in there over time, and it’s also a common spot for insects to try and make nests. Be sure to wash these tracks out every few months with warm soapy water and lubricate them.
3. Choose the Right Frame
Even if your windows are properly sealed and operating smoothly on their tracks, frames can make or break an energy-efficiency rating. Some hurricane windows are designed using vinyl or aluminum tracks, but many make the argument that vinyl is the more energy-conscious choice. That’s because vinyl windows usually insulate better and don’t rely on screws, which can naturally cause air leakage. While both are highly rated for storm protection, ask your installer if vinyl is the most energy-efficient choice for your home.
4. Add a UV Blocker Film
Adding the right shading tint to your windows could lower your electric bill by up to 30%! But while darker shades can help to reduce the penetration of light and heat into your home, they aren’t usually a popular choice for homes, as the permanent coloration constantly shades the room in the chosen hue.
Instead of permanent tints, some homeowners choose to install low-emissivity (low-e) glass, which is designed to reduce the amount of infrared and ultraviolet (UV) light that passes through to your home. Glass with a low-e coating reflects heat just like tinted windows would, helping to regulate the temperature of your home without the colored effect. Learn more about window tints and low-e glass here.
5. Keep Your Blinds Closed When Not Using Them
Never underestimate the power of closing the shades or blinds when you’re gone during the day or in rooms you don’t often frequent. The hot Florida sun blasting in can raise the temperature of your home a few degrees, which can really make a difference in comfortability and cooling costs.
6. Have Your Windows Professionally Inspected
With Florida’s frequent storm conditions, it’s wise to inspect your home’s impact windows at least twice a year. The best way to ensure they are up to safety and energy-efficiency standards is to hire a trained professional who specializes in storm solutions.
A certified installer may spot small details you missed, like damaged sealing, and make improvements quickly. They’ll also be able to advise on upgrades you could make to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest features.
7. If You Upgrade to Newer Windows, Make Sure They’re Professionally Installed
If you install your windows yourself or hire someone who isn’t specifically trained or certified to install hurricane-safe windows, you’re taking a gamble on proper installation.
Improperly positioned windows are a huge culprit for air leakage, and the repercussions of a sloppy or accidentally poor installation can last for the lifetime of your windows. This could mean years of elevated electric bills, all because you didn’t have them properly installed the first time.
Ready for an Energy-Efficient Upgrade?
Maintaining well-kept seals and repairing worn-out windows can really reduce your energy costs, but to see the most dramatic long-term savings, consider a full window replacement with a trusted, ENERGY STAR-rated product.
Check out our guide for choosing the most energy-efficient impact windows to start your hunt for the right brand.
Still on the fence about whole-home window replacement? The good news is that hurricane windows are a smart investment for more than just energy savings.
Download our free ebook, 12 Things You Need to Know About Impact Windows, to discover all the added benefits for yourself!