What The Labels On New Windows Mean
New windows are a big investment in your home. Although they cost a lot, you'll get some of the money back on energy savings. Plus, new windows add value to your home and enhance its appearance. To get the best window for your money, you want the most energy efficient glass and well-constructed frames you can afford. One way to know what you're buying is to check the certification labels on the windows. Here are some labels you will see and what they mean.
The National Fenestration Rating Council has a certification program for windows that helps you understand energy efficiency a little better. This label gives ratings for U-factor, visible light transmittance, solar heat gain coefficient, and air leakage.
The U-factor measures how well the window blocks heat transfer. It's an important measurement that lets you know how well the window will hold in heat in the winter. If you live in an area where you have long, cold winters, you should buy a window with a low U-factor so you don't waste money on heating bills.
The visible light transmittance rating indicates how much light comes through the window. The glass may be treated to reduce solar heating or heat transfer and therefore reduce the amount of daylight that comes in your home. If you prefer your home is filled with natural light during the day, you'll want to check the VT rating on the label. A higher number indicates more daylight shines through.
The air leakage rating is a measure of how well the glass and frame are constructed. A lower number means the window has minimal leaks.
The solar heat gain coefficient rates how well the window is able to block heating from the sun. If you live in an area where you run your air conditioner a large part of the year, then you want windows that block solar heating. Windows with the lowest SHGC number are the most energy efficient during the summer, as they help keep your home cooler inside.
Another label you may find on replacement windows is from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. This certification sticker doesn't give specific ratings. Instead, if a window displays the sticker, it means the window has passed various tests that indicate it is well constructed. The AAMA tests windows for air leaks, water leaks, and the ability to withstand wind pressure.
Energy Star Label
The Energy Star label is a quick way to tell if a window is energy efficient. If a window has this label on it, you can be confident it is more energy efficient than a window without it. To earn this label, the window has to be made by an Energy Star partner company that manufactures energy efficient products. The windows have to be tested by the National Fenestration Rating Council. And finally, the ratings from the NFRC have to fall into the optimum range for the climate in which the window will be used.
The type of glass and the material used in the frames, along with the quality of construction, affect how well windows perform. These labels help you choose the highest quality replacement windows for your home so you can feel confident you are getting the best value for your money.
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