How Window Replacement Can Save Homeowners in Sacramento Money (And 3 Factors You Should Know)
When spring comes around in Sacramento, the first thing people do is throw open their windows. Not that it gets particularly cold in the winter, but it’s still nice to be able to open them up, let the fresh air come into your house, and enjoy that time before the summer heat makes you close them up and turn on the AC. After all, leaving them open is just a waste of money (if you ever heard, “We aren’t trying to cool the outside!” when you were growing up, raise your hand). But even when they’re closed, not having the right windows can cost you money. Now’s the time to replace your windows with more energy-efficient ones that keep the cold — and your money — in your house.
Understanding Energy Efficient Windows
If you’re in an older house that hasn’t had its windows replaced in the last 10 – 20 years, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with inefficient windows. You may have tried to fix the energy loss through window shades, snakes, or film, but those are temporary solutions that also take away the best parts of having a window — being able to see inside, letting the sun in, and being able to easily open and close them. If these are concerns for you, it might be time for energy-efficient windows.
There are a few factors that you really need to know when looking to replace your window.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
The SHGC is a measure of how well a window blocks out solar heat. The measure that’s right for you depends on where you live: in warmer climates, you want a low SHCG rating on your window, which means it blocks a lot of sun. This reduces the cooling load in your house by not allowing it to heat up too much. An SHGC of, say, .67 means that 67% of solar heat is transmitted, meaning a full third is deflected. If you‘re in a colder area, of course, you want solar heat gain so that you can warm up your house more naturally.
This is the degree of insulation against outdoor temperatures — to put it another way, it measures the rate of heat loss in your house. In warm climates, a window with a good U-factor helps to keep the heat from coming in and the cool from leaking out.
A window’s U-factor has a measurement between 0 and 1, with 0 as the ideal — the lower the U-factor, the better the window is at insulating. Know, though, that it’s basically impossible to score a perfect zero. Look for a U-factor as low as .15 for an ideal double-pane measurement. It’s also good to know that the U-factor of a window is measured either in the center of the pane or on a coat of glazing on the exterior, and sometimes both (make sure you know what the manufacturer means). As a general rule, a lower number is always better.
Light-to-Solar Gain (LSG) Factor
As energy.gov says, the LSG factor “provides a gauge of the relative efficiency of different glass or glazing types in transmitting daylight while blocking heat gains.” Basically, how much light you can get without getting too warm. It’s getting the best part of the sunshine without having to crank up the AC.
There are a lot of ways to judge a window, but one of the most important ones is how it impacts your pocketbook.
But How Much Will It Save?
Now, of course, comes the real question: low ratings are one thing (in this rare case, a good thing), but the most important number is savings. What can windows do in a hot summer like Sacramento’s?
It turns out, quite a bit.
Efficientwindows.org took a look at houses in Phoenix, where summertime temperatures average between 95 and “the surface of Mercury.” They found that for existing construction, replacing normal, single, clear metal-frame windows with double-paned and thermally-broken windows (treated to have better LSG and U-factors) could save 11% a year on cooling costs, or in other words — down from just under $1600 to about $1200. Even better windows have low-E treatments (reflective material between the panes) and metal frames, which drop the cost to around $900, a 43% falloff. That’s real money, real quickly.
Consider Energy-Efficient Window Replacement Before It Gets Too Hot
Getting the job done before the real heat of the summer sets in means you can start saving on your AC bill this year. At Bell Brothers, our window replacement experts also offer financing, which means you can save even more money. In addition, government rebates for energy efficiency, up to $1000, mean that windows aren’t just affordable and cost-effective, they can start to pay for themselves. If you’re interested in saving money this summer, contact us today.