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How to Choose the Right Energy Efficient Windows


The types of windows you buy say a lot about your home and can be a big investment of your money and your time.  So it’s important to know a number of factors in this venture.  When you purchase energy efficient windows, your ultimate goal is to save money on your heating and electrical costs, depending on the climate where you live and the time of year.  Here are some tips on purchasing energy efficient windows:


Look at the U-value – The U-value measures how much heat escapes from your home.  The lower the U-value, the less heat will escape from your home, and the more insulation your windows will provide.  Knowing the U-value is particularly important, especially if you’re purchasing new windows during the winter, and if you live in a colder climate.


Look at the R-value – Many window manufacturers use R-values instead of U-values in

order to measure heat loss.  If a window’s R-value is high, it will lose less heat as

opposed to one with a lower R-value.  Make sure you ask your contractor or home

improvement specialist about these factors when you purchase!


Look at the SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) – Conversely, the SHGC measures how much heat is blocked from entering your home.  The lower the SHGC number, the more heat will be blocked from seeping through your windows.  This is especially important if you live in a warmer climate, so if you live in or near the South, you’ll want windows with low SHGCs.


Keep Tax Credits In Mind – Any energy efficient window with a U-Factor or SHGC value of .30 or less will qualify for a tax credit for the upcoming fiscal year.  You can claim 30% of the cost up to $1,500 for windows you purchase up until December 31, 2010, just as long as you currently live in the home.  New constructions and rentals DO NOT qualify for this deduction!  So make sure you hold onto your receipt, because it can save you money come April!


Vinyl Is Your Best Bet – When shopping for windows, many buyers debate between wood and vinyl windows.  While wood windows can spruce the look of your home, vinyl is the stronger option if your goal is energy efficiency, for the following reasons:


  1. Vinyl handles the elements well and is much more resistant to short- and long-term effects of rain, wind, and direct sunlight.
  2. It doesn’t chip like wood, thus making it better at insulating your home. 
  3. It is much more energy efficient than wood, and it adapts to all climates well.  It can expand and contract according to the weather conditions, making it a year-round replacement window.


Keep these factors in mind when purchasing your energy efficient windows.  Any quality customer care professional will help you to purchase a window that is the perfect fit for the needs of your home.

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