Purchasing doors or windows for your home doesn’t have to be a challenge. Whether you are building a brand-new home or replacing the windows or doors in your existing home, there are few factors that you need to consider.
Generally referred to as “fenestration products,” windows and doors cane be more easily compared to one another by using these factors. When shopping for new windows from places such as http://windowtech.ca/ these factors will help you make your decision, essentially allowing you to compare apples to apples.
- U Factor: The U-Factor of a window or door is a measure of how well it keeps interior airflow from escaping. It’s most desirable to purchase a product with a low U-Factor, as these are the products that will prevent the most heat loss. That will save you money on your energy bills both during the winter months when you have the heat on and during the summer when you have the air conditioning on. Look for a product with a U-Factor of as close .20 as possible.
- Visible transmittance (or VT): This measures the amount of light that your fenestration product allows to pass through. The higher the VT rating, the more daylight the product will allow to pass through it. This is a good thing because the more natural light you can encourage into your home, the less energy you’ll use on electric lighting and also because of the natural solar heating effect this will achieve. VT ratings are generally expressed in a decimal between 0 and 1.
- Solar heat gains coefficient (or SHGC): This rating indicates how well the heat from the sun is blocked out by the fenestration product. The lower the number (between 0 and 1), the less solar heat is transmitted into your home. Too much solar heat can cause your air conditioning to work harder to cool the home, which can use excess energy and cost you more money.
- Condensation resistance: The condensation leakage rating of a fenestration product is a measurement of the products ability to “fend off” the formation of condensation on the inside of the product. In this case, look for a high rating – these products are best equipped to fend off condensation. This is important because the formation of condensation on your windows can cause damage if it drips off of the window and on to the surrounding walls, floor etc. This added moisture can cause water damage and eventually lead to mold. Mold can, in turn, pose health and safety threats to your family.
- Air leakage rating: When air is allowed to leak out around the edges of a window or door, that energy loss can be costly. The air leakage factor is measured in cubic feet of air passing through each square foot of window on a per-minute basis. It’s best to look for a product that features a low AL value, as these are the ones that allow the least amount of air leakage. Put another way, products with a low AL factor are more airtight than those with a high air leakage rating.