Low-E Glass: A Great Choice for Windows in Cold Midwestern Climates
Throughout the Midwest, winters can be particularly harsh, bringing sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall. If you’re tired of the high heating bills such winters bring, then it’s time to look towards your windows. Replacing older windows with new, energy-efficient windows will keep your home more comfortable and drive your energy bills down. In particular, you should look for efficient windows made with low-e glass.
What Does Low-E Mean?
Low-e is an abbreviation for low-emissivity. Emissivity quantifies the percent of heat waves that pass through glass upon hitting it. Normal glass has an emissivity of 0.84, which means 84 percent of heat waves pass right through it. Low-e glass, on the other hand, may have an emissivity as low as 0.02, meaning that only 2 percent of heat waves pass through it. The rest are reflected; they bounce right off the glass.
How Does Low-E Glass Reduce Heating Bills?
If you have typical, untreated glass windows, much of your home’s heat is probably lost through the windows. R-value is a measure of a substance’s ability to resist heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the less heat is transferred through a substance.
A single pane of glass only has an R-value of 0.85. For the sake of comparison, Energy Star recommends insulating your attic to an R-value of at least 38 and your floors to at least R-25 in most areas of the Midwest. Due to their low R-value, a lot of heat is escaping through your windows.
Low-e glass has a higher R-value, which reduces heat loss. Since less heat leaves your home, your furnace does not have to work as hard to keep your home warm, and your energy bills go down.
Does Low-E Glass Look Strange?
Low-e glass is made by spraying a thin layer of a metallic substance, such as silver oxide, onto the glass windows. Sometimes this metallic layer is instead placed in the middle of the sheet of glass. In either case, it does not noticeably change the appearance of the window. Sunlight still comes through the window, too, so you don’t have to worry about low-e windows leaving you in darkness.
Will Low-E Windows Benefit You in the Summer, Too?
This is one reason why low-e windows are such a good choice in the Midwest. Not only do they keep your home warmer in the winter, but they also keep it cooler in the hot summer months.
In the summer, the metallic layer just reflects heat waves back outside, preventing them from entering your home and thereby reducing the strain on your air conditioner. You won’t get those warm, stuffy pockets near your windows anymore.
What Should You Look for in a Low-E Window?
There are many different low-e windows on the market, so it’s important to do your research and compare your options before making a purchase. Here are a few features to look for in a good low-e window.
There are two types of low-e windows: soft coat and hard coat. The difference has to do with how the metal is applied to the glass, but what you really need to know is that soft-coat low-e windows are more effective. They reflect more heat back into your home and have a higher R-value than hard-coat low-e windows.
For the ultimate in energy savings, you want double-pane low-e windows with argon gas between the panes. Argon gas is a better insulator than air, so windows with this filling will save you more on energy.
A High VT
VT stands for visible transmittance, which is the amount of light the windows allow to shine through. Unless you want your home to have a dim look, lokk for low-e windows with a VT of 0.54 or higher.
Are you ready for lower heating bills and a warmer home this winter? Contact Fischer Window & Door Store to learn more about our energy-efficient replacement window options.