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Energy Efficient Windows: What You Need to Know

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What Are Energy Efficient Windows

What are energy efficient windows and how can they benefit you? Modern windows contain features that prevent heat from escaping your house in the winter and prevent heat from entering your house in the summer.  They work using various constructions that improve insulation and an assortment of treatments to the outside or inside glass that can reflect or block heat or sunlight from crossing the window barrier.  Several benefits can be obtained by having energy efficient windows installed in your home by a trained professional.  The most obvious and financially rewarding benefit is reducing power usage of heating and cooling systems.  This results in a sizable reduction in power bills during the more expensive peak seasons of winter and summer.  Another potential benefit gained from an upgrade to your windows is fixing any leaks that allow outside air and moisture to enter your walls.  This could potentially prevent structural issues down the line and more immediately things like mold growth.  

The amount of savings you will see on your monthly power bill will depend on how out of date the windows you are replacing are. The style, type and treatments of the windows you install will also affect your savings.  Our experts can work with you to determine how much you could reduce your monthly bill.  There are also tax credits for some energy efficient windows.  Given enough time the cost of installing new windows can pay for itself, which isn’t always the case with home improvement projects.

Energy Efficient Window Options

There are a host of options when it comes to energy efficient windows, let’s take a look at some of them and how they work so you can make better informed decisions when the time comes to upgrade.  The first option to navigate is the construction of the window glass.  The windows are insulated by using multiple panes of glass and replacing most of the air in between them with a more dense clear gas that is less heat conductive than air.  The glass incorporates either two or three panes depending on the requirements of your home and geographical location.  There are a few types of gas used to fill the void in between the panes, Argon is the most popular option and a suitable choice for most homes in the continental US.  Argon is 38% more dense than air and a much better insulator.  Krypton and Xenon are also used in more specialized settings such as extreme climates in the case of Krypton, or specific industrial solutions in the case of Xenon, as it is cost prohibitive and generally more insulation than required for smaller applications.

Treatments to the glass surface complete the energy efficiency of a window.  These treated windows are known as Low-E glass.  Low-e is short for low emissivity and essentially it blocks UV and infrared light from passing through the window while allowing the regular light through.  To accomplish this ultra thin see through coatings are applied to the glass to stop the sun from heating up your dwelling.

Framing Material selection

The material you choose to frame your windows with will not only impact the energy efficiency of your house but also its appearance.  There are several options for framing material that include aluminum, wood, vinyl, and fiberglass as well as hybrids like wood/clad and wood/vinyl composites.   While wood has a nice curb appeal and good thermal properties, it requires regular maintenance and can be subject to water absorption in humid or wet climates.  Aluminum is good at water resistance, but not a good thermal insulator.  Hybrid options come with their own problems like a higher chance of leaks.  We recommend only vinyl and fiberglass frames for our windows because they are weather resistant, provide good protection against heat transfer, and are low maintenance. Vinyl is the more economical option and is widely used across the industry but not all vinyl is created equal and attention should be paid to the construction of these frames.  Our System Boreal Viny is engineered to provide superior sound abatement and impact resistance as well as resistance to thermal transfer by incorporating a honeycomb construction instead of hollow foam filled sections.  Fiberglass frames can be made thinner due to being more rigid and are also available in darker colors than vinyl made possible by its better heat resistance.  They can be the right choice to maximize the glass area of the window or for exterior designs where a black or darker window frame is preferable.

Comparing Energy Efficient Windows

Now that you have a good idea which materials you want your new windows to be made from, let’s take a look at the two metrics commonly used to rate the energy efficiency of a window.  U-Value (also known as U-Factor) and Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).

U-Value

U-Value is a representation of the thermal transfer rate of hot to cold on opposite sides of a window.  For windows the U-Value range is generally 0.1 -1.2 with lower numbers representing better insulation or for our purposes better energy efficiency.

SHGC

SHGC is measured on a scale of 0 – 1 and represents the ability of the window to resist the radiation from sunlight.  Again a lower number is preferable as it represents higher resistance to the heat and UV produced by the sun.

Using these metrics you can compare one window vs another and combine that information with knowledge of framing materials, and requirements of your location to find a window that can make your home more comfortable and leave money in your wallet every month.

With so many different decisions to make, it’s perfectly understandable to feel a little overwhelmed when trying to choose between the amount of panes, gas insulator, window treatments, and framing options.  That’s why we have knowledgeable and experienced staff available to help answer your questions, provide you with estimates, and take care of you all the way through the install process to ensure you make informed decisions and maximize the value of your investment. 

Gilkey Reviews

Gilkey Window Company, Inc.
Excellent
4.7
Based on 916 reviews
review us on
I cannot say enough good things about Gilkey! They were the third company I interviewed for my total house window replacement.The first company took no time to explain the product or process. The second company was so expensive that I almost fell off my chair when they handed me the quote. And just like Goldilocks, my third choice was just right. Kent was the Gilkey rep that I had the honor of working with. He is warm, professional, knowledgeable, and patient. He took the time to explain the product, listened to my concerns, and clearly knows the company. Ultimately, the price Kent offered, along with the product quality and the whole experience made it a no brainer choice for me.Due to supply chain issues and post-COVID recovery, it did take some time to obtain my windows. This was the only negative aspect, but I can’t even blame Gilkey, because the situation is truly out of their control. My installation happened last month, and the installation team was just as wonderful as Kent. Marson and his partner were timely and efficient. The total installation took about five hours, which was much faster than I anticipated.The product is absolutely beautiful! I’ve noticed with some vinyl windows, there is a bulkiness to the frame. But that’s not the case here! The windows are sleek and the profile is a bit lower that my old windows so we have a better view. The mechanism for opening is smooth and made of quality material - I anticipate them lasting a very long time. And the best part is that I’ve already noticed a marked decrease in my energy bill due to the excellent seal on these windows.I honestly could not be happier with my choice. I tell everyone about the great experience and love to show off photos of my new windows!
Response from the owner: Thank you so much for your 5 star review and your understanding regarding the wait time. We're so happy to have another satisfied customer, enjoy your windows in good health!
We shopped around and no one could beat Gilkey’s prices and quality! We’re extremely satisfied with our purchase of a new back patio door. Bob Cohen was our sales rep and he was knowledgeable, professional and friendly. We got email statuses as our door made its way through the manufacturing process to keep us updated. The installation crew was great! It was a quick process to change out our door and they were able to keep our trim :) great team at Gilkey! Very happy customers!
Response from the owner: Thank you for choosing Gilkey and sharing your experience, Amanda! We're glad to hear that you're pleased with the quality, pricing, and service provided by Bob and our installation team. We appreciate your kind words and are delighted that you are happy with your new back patio door!
Had an issue on a door that was installed before we bought the house. Neither of the latches were were working and I could not get the door to lock.I spoke with Alex and she was going to have a tech come out on extremely short notice before a long weekend. Really impressed with the customer care even though I wasn’t original purchaser.
Response from the owner: Thank you for your 5-star review! Your feedback is very important to us.
We love our doors! Excellent quality! Our installer Justin was courteous, paid attention to detail and cleaned everything up. Very happy!!!
Response from the owner: Thank you for your 5-star review! Your feedback is greatly appreciated, Cory Calhoun and Justin Shultz do an amazing job with the installation. Enjoy your finished product!
Every single person that we worked with at Guilkey were amazing. Jeff Bass was our salesman. He was so knowledgeable, he spent a couple hours at our house to help us choose the right door, glass, and color. He left us with a wealth of information to help us decide what we wanted to do. The best part, he wasn’t pushy!The install manager, was incredibly accommodating. The two guys who showed up to install were very courteous and respectful of our property. They did an amazing and efficient job on the install. I think they left the floor cleaner than it was before they came!100% will recommend Guilkey to anyone and everyone
Response from the owner: We are grateful for your kind words and are delighted that you had a wonderful experience with our team. Thank you for recommending Gilkey!
We’re very happy with our new patio door. Quality product. I feel safer due to the locking mechanisms.The installers were friendly and detailed.
Response from the owner: We're so glad to hear you're enjoying your new patio door and feeling safer with the added security features. Thank you for sharing your positive experience!
Great door replacement and service.
Response from the owner: Thank you for your kind words about our door replacement service! We appreciate your feedback and your 5 star Review.
Gilkey was very professional and explained all the details and option for an entryway door. The installers did an excellent job and the door and side lights look great. There pricing very fair for their high quality products.
Response from the owner: Thank you so much for your 5 star review of your new grand entrance to your home!
We are very happy with the look and quality of our new Gilkey sliding door. The installation team was easy to work with, very skilled, and did an excellent job making the finished product look great! The project did take longer than expected and missed our holiday deadline, but overall we are very pleased with the results and would recommend using Gilkey to others.
Response from the owner: Thank you, Laura! We're thrilled you love the look and quality of your Gilkey sliding door. We appreciate your feedback on the installation process and apologize for any delay. Your recommendation means a lot, and we're glad you're pleased with the results!
Very well done by professional staff.Highly recommend to anyone looking for new doors.
Response from the owner: Thank you, Rebecca! We're pleased to hear you had a positive experience with our professional staff. Your recommendation means a lot to us. Much appreciated! Feel free to reach out for any future door needs.
Very expensive, but the workmanship and quality of the doors is excellent!The install for both doors went well no problems at all.
Response from the owner: Thank you so much for your 5 star review.
The door is beautiful, easy to open, lockThanks
Response from the owner: Thank you so much for your 5 star review and enjoy your new door!
Love our new doors because of the quality and look! Install was on time and left the area clean. In addition, he did a wonderful job redoing the trim. We didn’t have to do anything. It couldn’t have been easier!
Response from the owner: Thank you for the 5-star review, your feedback is greatly appreciated! Enjoy your new doors!
We love our Gilkey slider door! It's solid and great looking. The entire team was very professional, and they did a high quality build and install. Thanks much Gilkey!
Response from the owner: Thank you for the 5 star review, your feedback is greatly appreciated !
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