Colder weather is here. The warm summer days and trips to the beach are behind us here on Long Island until spring arrives again in a few months. Long Island residents who have single-pane windows in their homes are losing hard-earned money every day because outdated windows are not as weather-tight or energy-efficient as modern, double-pane options. If you haven’t already ordered your Renewal by Andersen replacement windows and patio doors, there is still time to get them designed, built and installed before the really harsh winter weather settles. However, there are a few things that homeowners can do to temporarily improve performance of those old fixtures until you get your new windows.
Several years ago, Dr. Paul Baker (Centre for Research on Indoor Climate & Health, Glasgow Caledonian University) released study findings that compared traditional, single-pane windows to modern, energy efficient home windows. The study covered dwellings in Scotland; however, much of the research can be applied to us right here on Long Island, NY.
First, Dr. Baker suggested that while traditional windows may outlast some factory-built replacement windows installed in the mid-twentieth century, single-pane styles are notoriously known for being drafty, developing excessive condensation and losing huge amounts of heat through the glass. He also noted that double-pane windows constructed with gas between the panes improve overall performance dramatically and significantly reduce the home’s carbon footprint as compared to traditional wood windows.
However, if you’re willing to invest sufficient time maintaining your traditional windows (think resurfacing every year and replacing weather-stripping and sealants frequently), wood windows may get you through a few more years.
However, the study only reviewed glazing performance and did not take into account the benefits of modern materials, such as Fibrex composite frame materials, which improve insulation and longevity since they never develop rust, rot or mildew in our humid climate with scorching summer sun.
In his report, Dr. Banks stated that, “[T]he heat lost through a single glazed window is about double that (amount lost) through a double glazed window” that met the current building standards during the time of the study. He went on to say that while adding another glass panel to the window unit was an option worth considering, he thought there may be some cheaper options for homeowners to temporarily control costs, such as adding window treatments that would help reduce heat loss, thereby improving comfort slightly.
Conventional windows seem to be easiest to update for maximum performance. For Long Island residents who want to achieve some degrees of enhanced performance while waiting for their new replacement windows to be installed, and those who need to wait a few extra weeks or months to coordinate with a complete home renovation, adding certain window treatments to reduce heat loss is recommended. Choosing the proper style is critical if you want to make a difference in your heating and cooling bills. For example, wood shutters reduced heat loss more than three times as effectively as simply adding curtains (51% compared to 14%). Victorian roller shades improve heat loss 28% over single-pane windows without window treatments. Adding the second pane was more effective for eliminating air and moisture leaking and reducing heat transfer than any window treatment option. The study suggested homeowners consider these specific window treatments:
While adding the second pane of glazing to older, traditional window units significantly reduced heat loss, modern double-pane replacement windows outperformed other options since gas between the panes enhances insulating properties. And, modern composite frame materials like Fibrex improve the overall window performance more effectively than simply adding another glass panel to an outdated window. Energy-Star low-E glazing options also allow homeowners to control light levels, reduce UV ray transmission and obscure the view in areas that require more privacy.
The bottom line, the study clearly demonstrates that while traditional windows have some advantages, they also require routine maintenance and upkeep to maintain their beauty and performance qualities. Installing custom-built replacement windows virtually eliminate annual maintenance and will remain beautiful for decades. Plus, our Long Island customers and neighbors don’t have to worry about investing in heavy drapes or custom-fitted insulating blankets to control air leakage or condensation problems.
While Dr. Banks report is a few years old, we think the information is still relevant. There are steps you can take to reduce your heat loss while waiting for your new windows to arrive, such as updating your window treatments before the really cold weather arrives. Need more information about the benefits of installing replacement windows in your Long Island home? Simply fill in the short form on this page or dial 1-877-313-9052 to schedule a free, in-home consultation today.