Getting new windows can be a daunting process. Most of us have never had to get new windows installed, and if we have, the technology and features available in modern windows has evolved tremendously over the years.
Even if you know your old windows or patio doors are drafty, leaky, or faulty in other ways, it’s often easier to keep them longer than you should, because you don’t know where to start when looking for new windows. But keeping those windows can be a major (and unnecessary!) source of heat loss, driving up your energy and heating bills.
If you’ve been thinking about getting new windows, we want to help. We spoke with Magic, one of Ontario's largest window and door companies, to highlight the most important features to look for in new windows, so you can confidently purchase new windows or patio doors, knowing they’re built to perform and conserve energy.
Protect your windows against air leakage
One of the most obvious signs of failing windows is draftiness - also known as air leakage.
To protect your home from air leakage and to ensure your furnace or air conditioner aren’t working harder than they need to, modern window hardware can make a world of difference. Magic’s windows feature their unique Parallex hardware, which is optimized to give your windows the tightest seal possible.
Air leakage is measured by how much airflow passes through the windows, and there are actually two different rates: infiltration and exfiltration. Infiltration measures how much air comes into your home, and exfiltration measures how much air goes out of your home. It’s measured on a scale of 0.1 to 0.3, and a lower number is always better, as it means less air can pass through the windows so you'll have fewer drafts.
Well insulated windows help regulate temperature
Between window panes is a slight gap, which is filled with gas and sealed with warm-edge spacers. That gas helps insulate the window and maintain the temperature in your home, and is measured by a U-Factor rating.
The U-Factor is the rate of heat loss through a window or door, and is rated on a scale from 0.2-1.2. A lower number indicates a stronger resistance to heat loss, so when you’re looking for new windows, look for windows with a lower number, as they’ll do a better job at insulating your home.
Control how the sun warms up your home
We all love a sunny day, but depending on where you live, having the sun warm up your home can be a challenge or a benefit.
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SGHC) measures how much warmth comes into your home through the windows, and is measured on a scale of 0-1.
With the SGHC, it’s important to note there is no universally better or worse rating. Needs and preferences will vary based on where you live, how much sunlight your home gets, and several other factors. When getting new windows, talk to a professional to ensure you get the right windows with the right SGHC for your home.
Let the (good) light in with Low-E coated glass
At first thought, it’s easy to assume that all windows let the same light pass through them. However, not all windows are alike. Low-E coated glass allows you to brighten up your home while minimizing the ultraviolet and infrared light that comes through the windows, which can damage your skin, as well as your furniture and flooring.
Visible Transmittance (VT) measures how well natural light comes through the windows, so you should focus on Low-E coated glass that balances the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, U-Factor, and visible transmission.
Tailor light transmittance with retractable screens and blinds
Some mornings, there’s nothing better than waking up to the sun shining through your window. Then when you’re working, you can’t see the screen because of the glare. And during warm days, maybe you want to have the windows open, but you don’t want to invite the insects into your home.
Fortunately, with retractable window screens and blinds, you can keep the windows open without worrying about bugs, and you have complete control over how much light comes into your home.
While these measurements are key to understanding the quality of new windows or patio doors, there are other things you should look for as well. A strong warranty shows the company stands behind their products and installation -- and Magic offers an industry-leading 40-year warranty.
To learn more about upgrading your windows or patio doors (or about installing a full window wall!), visit MagicWindow.ca.