Energy-efficient windows and patio doors not only help to maintain a more consistent temperature in your home but also saves a significant amount of money on your energy bills. With certain additional features, they can also help protect your furniture, floors and floor coverings from sun damage over time. All in all, energy-efficient windows and patio doors – anything with glass on the exterior of your home – help to protect you, your home, and the things inside your home, so they’re certainly a prudent investment. Specifically, it is best to get double or triple-pane windows.
The etymology of the word “glaze” comes from the Germanic root meaning “glass”. When a window is double or triple-glazed, it means that it has two or three successive panes of glass, one on top of the other – double or triple-glassed, as it were.
Energy-efficiency in terms of windows and patio doors has to do with the capacity of the product to insulate a building from heat and cold. Energy-efficient windows and patio doors have the capacity to shut out heat and cold, as well as shut it in, thereby making the interior of said building stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer more effectively.
Energy-efficiency can be accomplished in many ways by a lot of factors. The factors employed and executed depending on the choices made by the customer and put into place by a professionally trained technician. The customer can choose whatever factors he or she prefers, based on cost, effectiveness and what they specifically want to accomplish in having the windows or patio doors installed.
As pointed out above, the number of glass panes in a window or patio door does make a significant difference when it comes to making a window or patio door energy-efficient. You may be surprised at how effective it is to simply increase the number of panes. By simply adding more glass, the window or patio door is insulating the home or other buildings more efficiently by reducing the exchange of thermal energy between the inside and the outside.
Between every, two panes of glass in a double or triple-pane window are specially formulated spacers. Different materials are used depending on brand and type of window. Often used for radius windows – those that are round, either in part or in whole – is a foam spacer. This makes it easier for the spacer to be cut to fit the window as well as possible. More often than not in the window industry, aluminum is relied upon as the material for the spacers in multi-pane windows. Milgard generally uses stainless steel spacers. They find that the insulating properties of stainless steel make for a superior product, as it is a poor conductor of thermal energy. As previously pointed out, any material which slows down changes in temperature makes for a more energy-efficient window or patio door.
Regardless of what material is used as the main component of a window spacer, each spacer has integrated into it what is called a desiccant, which is a substance that is specially formulated to absorb moisture. Together with the well-sealed spacer itself, the desiccant ensures that there will be no moisture buildup inside the window panes. Condensation is inevitable where there are panes of glass between two significantly differing temperatures. As such, it is not uncommon to see older multi-pane windows with copious amounts of condensation between the panes. This is not only frustrating due to the impossibility of cleaning the windows sufficiently but also the formation of more serious issues, such as mold and mildew inside the glass which can then spread out and potentially cause health risks. As such, spaces that are not only sufficiently sealed but also fitted with a desiccant are essential to have for a window or patio door to not collect moisture inside the panes and cause numerous issues for the customer.
The space between glass panes in energy-efficient windows is filled with dense gas. The purpose of this gas is to slow the process of temperature change resulting from differing temperatures between the inside and outside of the building. The gas inside each window is several times denser than air. Generally, the gas in the window is argon or krypton. Both gases are colorless, odorless, and harmless. As stated above, the purpose of these gases is to slow the process of temperature change resulting from differences in temperature. The fact that the gases are denser than air means that the particles are closer together, and dense materials take longer to heat up or cool down. Essentially, what this does is make the glass panes of a window more substantial. Single panes of plain glass have no real ability to intercede in temperature changes, and thermal energy can more or less pass straight through.
Argon and krypton are both colorless, odorless, and harmless gases that are used to fill the spaces between the panes of glass in an energy-efficient window. If the area between the glass panes was only filled with air, thermal energy would take next to no time to pass through, due to the relatively low density of air. However, using argon and krypton gas between glass panes, together or individually, slows the process of thermal energy transfer significantly. This is because argon is six times denser than air, and krypton is six times denser than argon. As such, argon is better used for double-pane windows, and krypton is better used for triple-pane windows. As Krypton is denser, more of it fits in much smaller spaces, and the glass panes of triple-pane windows are closer together than those of double-pane windows. Due to the excellent energy-efficiency of krypton gas, krypton does tend to be more expensive but is well worth the expenditure. Some may choose an argon-krypton mixture to strike a balance between price and effectiveness.
“Low-E” stands for “low-emissivity”. Many energy-efficient windows and patio doors are treated with low-E coatings to help keep the inside of the building cool. Low-E coatings work to limit the emission of ultraviolet and infrared rays that pass through the glass into the building. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet and infrared rays can be harmful not only to humans but to furniture and floor coverings. Infrared rays cause a chemical reaction in the finish of hardwood floors, and the wood itself is highly sensitive to visible light and ultraviolet rays; so, not only does a low-E coating on your energy-efficient windows help to keep the house cool, but it also protects your belongings from long-term sun damage.
4th Surface is a TCO (transparent conductive oxide), which is a specific type of low-E coating that essentially makes a double-pane window as energy-efficient as a triple-pane window. This can save money and materials. However, it’s never a bad idea to invest in more glass. More glass means less sound transmission as well, and while it isn’t quite the same as Milgard’s Quiet Line Series windows which are specially designed to block sound transmission, the additional glass and space between glass panes can still help to block some sound transmission.
The materials used for the frame of a window or patio door make a significant difference in the energy-efficiency of the product. Materials differ in thermal insulating capabilities and properties. They also differ concerning other factors, such as the ability to maintain shape, ability to withstand severe weather conditions, harsh climates, and maintenance needs. Specifically, the materials used to construct the frames of windows and patio doors at Milgard are vinyl (PVC), fiberglass, and aluminum.
As stated above, the materials used for window and door frames are generally vinyl (PVC), fiberglass, and aluminum. Choosing the right material depends on the needs of the customer, including structural integrity, energy-efficiency, and of course, price. The most popular materials are vinyl and fiberglass due to their low-maintenance nature and how inexpensive they are. Vinyl is certainly the less expensive of the two. Sometimes it is strengthened by adding metal to the make-up as a stiffening agent. Fiberglass, while a little more costly, is still a low-cost option and has even better structural integrity than vinyl. Fiberglass is also a better choice than vinyl if one of the goals is to have a thinner frame profile. With the firm structure of fiberglass, the frame can be made slimmer without sacrificing structural integrity, making a sleek, more modern appearance.
Vinyl (PVC) is a cost-effective and low-maintenance material to use for the frame of a window or patio door. Vinyl is inexpensive and insulates well. It is also easy to clean, and there is no need to repaint it periodically like wood. In fact, there’s no need to paint it at all. Choosing the vinyl option, you can have the color of your choice and you’ll never have to touch it up. The Tuscany Series is one of Milgard’s vinyl options. It is a good option for those wanting a wider, more traditional profile for their windows and patio doors that more closely resemble wood than the other style series.
The Trinsic Series is another vinyl option, and one of the more modern options offered by Milgard. The narrow frame and clean sight lines make for an especially sleek and modern feel and make for a more expansive view of the landscape outside your home. The wonderful things about vinyl to keep in mind are that it is inexpensive and low-maintenance, but more importantly, it maintains its shape throughout the years and doesn’t warp, swell or rot like wood.
The Style Line Series is an even more affordable vinyl option, and also gives your home a sleek and modern feel with the slim profile of its frame. The Style Line Series is specially designed to allow the maximum amount of natural light to fill your home and provide a beautiful atmosphere that perfectly balances nature with a contemporary look. It has a broad range of color options from white to clay as the standard color options, and from bronze to silver in premium options.
Fiberglass consists of glass fibers mixed with resin. In spite of the general fragility of its principal component, fiberglass is a very durable material and it’s widely used in many different applications, including insulation for attics, crawl spaces, and wall voids, aircraft, boats, sports cars and other vehicles requiring sturdy, lightweight material, as well as storage tanks and many other applications. Fiberglass is lightweight, durable, and has excellent weather-resistant properties. This makes it an ideal material for your window frames and patio door frames. The Ultra Series is Milgard’s fully fiberglass option. It is weather-resistant, maintains its shape, makes for a more secure door and window, and is not particularly costly. It is possibly the best long-term option.