Why are upvc windows so energy efficient?

With energy bills ever-increasing, we’re being forced to think smarter and more long term about making our homes as energy efficient as possible. One of the best ways of achieving that is to get a quote for replacing your old windows. But what makes upvc windows so energy efficient?

A upvc window is made up of a upvc frame and double (or even triple) glazed panels, which are inserted into the frame. Both components add to the overall energy efficiency of the complete window.

Modern frames are a very engineered piece of the energy efficiency puzzle. They’re designed to place as many barriers between the cold outside air and the warm interior air as possible, lessening the cooling effect of outside temperatures and the heat loss through the frame. Look through a cross-section and you’ll see multiple chambers that create barriers and air pockets.

Each frame manufacturer will claim their frame is the most efficient, when in reality, your choice may be limited to what frame manufacturer your preferred window company uses. If the company make their own frames (and many do), then it will depend on the manufactured plastic extrusion design – the raw lengths from which window frames are made.

The frame also deals with the insulation and draught proofing around opening panels.

The second component is the glazing itself.

Most upvc windows achieve a ‘C’ energy efficiency rating (think energy ratings similar to electrical appliances) although by choosing the right glazing option, it is possible to specify an ‘A’ rated window.

To achieve this, you’ll want to think about specifying glass that goes beyond the normal twin glazed sealed unit. You’ll need to think about gas filled cavities and glass coatings which reflect cold but absorb warmth.

If you live in a particularly noisy environment, then you may want to consider triple glazing. That’s 3 panes of glass with a cavity between each pane.

In the process of improving your homes comfort and reducing your energy bills, you’ll also benefit from increasing your homes value. Double glazing is one of the key elements people look for when buying a new home.

Of course, the best, most efficient window available is only as good as the team that installs it. Correct installation will ensure that you get the energy savings you’ve paid for.

To help homeowners avoid the double glazing cowboys, we developed Window Quoter – Instant online double glazing and conservatory quotes.

Users can enter their own approximate measurements, select the style and number / position of openers before getting an instant online quote.

After you’ve got your online quote, we’ll give you the opportunity to get that quote confirmed in writing by up to 3 companies that cover your address.

It’s a completely free, no obligation service but not only could it save you pounds on your double glazing, it will save you the hassle of weeding out the cowboys yourself – we’ve already done that, with a feedback system where other homeowners have left their honest opinion on the service they received and the quality of the finished job.

*This story first appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter, dated 21st February 2011. To read the full newsletter – click here.

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