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An ultimate thermal windows buying guide for homeowners

When considering replacing your old windows with thermal replacement windows, most homeowners find themselves overwhelmed by the myriad of choices available to them. It is often difficult to tell exactly what some firms are ‘selling.’ So before you make a final choice, here are the basic facts you need to know about thermal replacement windows.

An ultimate thermal windows buying guide for homeowners

What are double-pane windows?

Thermal pane windows are a broad term for a window that comes equipped with energy-saving additional features above and beyond your standard window type. This could be in the form of a double-glazed window but is often more prevalent in triple-glazed windows – as there is extra room to really add energy-efficient features.

A double pane window is a step up from a single pane, with the cavity offering substantial benefits to insulation. Normally filled with air or a gas, such as argon (the most popular) or krypton. The filled space makes it more difficult for heat to pass through the glass, ultimately ensuring that a house stays warmer.

Many thermal replacement windows also feature Low-E glass and argon gas.  Low-e glass possesses a special coating that blocks parts of the light spectrum not visible to the naked eye.  Although this does not change the appearance of the glass, it improves its insulating properties.  Similarly, argon gas is often used to fill the spaces between the multiple panes of the glass, thereby increasing the window’s energy efficiency without altering its appearance.

What are the key benefits of thermal windows?

Thermal windows are generally twice to four times more energy-efficient than older single pane windows. Given that this translates to approximately 20 to 30 % savings on your electricity bills, it is safe to say that your new thermal replacement windows will quickly pay for themselves. Look at the list below to learn what else you can avail yourself by installing these energy-saving units in your home: 

  • High return on investment. When looking at different window types, thermal pane windows can be considered a premier product in many ways. The cost can be higher but is paid for by the ability of the glass to stop heat radiation. The heat that tries to leave home is effectively pushed back in, keeping your home warmer and saving you money on your energy bills. This is reflected in the R-values of a thermal pane window, demonstrating its ability to keep heat out in the summer and winter.
  • Zero spending on painting. The lower utility bills are not the only return on a window replacement investment. As mentioned earlier, because thermal windows are a relatively modern invention, they feature advanced materials and design, generally eliminating the need for painting. As windows are usually the most expensive part of any painting project, you can expect to lower your costs by up to 50 %.
  • Simple cleaning. Thermal replacement windows are designed to be easy to clean, which is why you can expect to save time and money when it comes to interior and exterior cleaning. 
  • Noise reduction. Thermal windows are more soundproof than their traditional counterparts because of the extra layers of double-paned glass windows or triple-paned glass windows.
  • Increase resale value. You will probably recoup most of your thermal window replacement cost when you decide to sell your house, as modern replacement windows will increase your home’s value on the market.

What to look for when shopping for insulated thermal windows?

The best way to pick the right energy-efficient window with a high level of insulation is to consider the following factors:

  • U-Value. First is the U-value, which dictates how freely heat can move through the window from one side to the other. A high U-value means that heat can move freely, and a low U-value means that heat is being kept in or out depending on the need. Replacing windows with newer thermal windows is a great upgrade for your home.
  • Solar heat gain coefficient. SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) measures the amount of heat light to enter a home. A high SHGC allows most of the heat light into your home for warmth, while a low SHGC reflects it out in order to keep your home cool.

While you want a low U-value no matter what type of climate you live in, the SHGC level you want depends on where you live. In hotter climates, a low SHGC rating is best. In colder climates, a high SHGC rating allows more light to enter and effectively heat your home. A home window installer in your area will be able to help you find the best energy-efficient window options.

How much do thermal windows cost?

The average cost of a thermal window, such as a double pane window, can cost anywhere from $325 to $850 per window depending on the window manufacturer brand chosen, window frame type, and if you decide on double paned or triple pane windows. Thermal windows have better energy star ratings as well. However, the total costs for window replacement will increase with added energy-efficient features.

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