By Brian A Marsh
Homeowners replace their windows for many reasons. Some just want to reinvigorate a space that’s lost its luster. For others, living in a busy part of the city means they need windows that absorb ambient noise. Most homeowners, however, replace and upgrade their windows to save money.
Many Tax Credits Disappeared at the End of 2013
Unfortunately, the United States Congress didn’t extend many popular home improvement credits at the end of 2013. Last year, buying Energy Star compliant windows could earn homeowners a tax credit covering 10% of installation costs, up to $200 annually. This credit covered the cost of windows and labor. While credits for installing geothermal or solar energy units have had their deadlines extended to 2016, homeowners looking to windows for a tax break will be sorely disappointed.
Savings Didn’t Go out the Window
Just because the tax credits are gone, that doesn’t mean new windows don’t come with great financial incentives, especially if you go with energy efficient options. Many Energy Extreme Windows will help you cut costs and then some.
Small cracks in your windows or leaks in the molding can lead to a huge amount of wasted energy and money. Recent estimates show that as much as 25% of your heating can escape through leaky windows, leading directly to increased energy costs. Replacing your windows can eliminate the issue entirely, if you know what you’re looking for.
Understanding Window Panes
Getting savings out of your windows is all about the numbers. Each window has a U-value, solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), R-factor, and Visible Light Transmittance (VL). Finding the perfect window depends on which direction your house faces, your location, and other factors, but keep the following in mind to get a general idea about what you need:
U-value is the speed non-solar energy travels through a window. Windows with lower U-values transfer energy slower, meaning they’re more energy efficient.
SHGC measures how much solar radiation is transmitted through a window pane over time. The higher the number, the more radiation that will be released into a home as heat. The lower the SHGC, the more shade it provides to the home.
R-factor is a window’s resistance to heat flow. Generally, it’s determined by the type of glaze applied to each window. While it is a measure of insulative ability, like U-value, energy efficiency goes up as the R-factor rises.
VL values relate to how much visible sunlight comes through your windows. The higher a window’s VL, the more light it lets in. Likewise, lower VL windows mean less light in your home. It’s not an important measurement for energy efficiency, but it’s important for shaping your home’s ambiance.
Just because the tax credits dried up, that doesn’t mean your home and wallet can’t benefit from a window upgrade. Keep these values in mind to find energy efficient windows, and watch your utility bill disintegrate.
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