If you just moved to the southern United States, then you may have thought that you would pay less for home energy each year due to not needing to crank up that heat during the winter or even turn it on at all. However, once summer arrived, you likely realized that while winter's home heating bills may have been much lower than they were in your home up north, the summer's cooling bill cost you much more than you expected. If you know your air-conditioning system is in good working order, then the next step to reducing home cooling costs is replacing those old windows and frames that are simply not energy efficient and may even be drafty.
Read on to learn three tips for choosing replacement windows in hot climates that can save you money on your summer cooling costs.
1. Choose Windows with Low SHGC Values
If you ever bought replacement windows for your home up north, then your window replacement expert may have advised you to install windows with a high SHGC, or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, rating. This may lead to you naturally thinking that windows with high SHGC ratings are simply "better windows" than those with lower SHGC ratings or simply the most energy efficient windows on the market.
The truth is that window experts advise people in colder climates to choose windows with low SHGC values and that people with homes in hotter climates choose low SHGC values.
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating of a window is a measure of how much solar energy (heat from the sun) is transmitted through the outside of the window into your home. While high SHGC values are great for cold climates because they help keep the home warmer during those long, cold winters, which results in reduced home heating bills, a window with a high SHGC window in the south would let the sun heat the home too much during the spring and summer when you are trying to keep your home cool.
2. Low U-Values Are Still Better in the South
While the SHGC value you want to choose for your replacement windows is the opposite of what you would have needed to save energy up north, don't think that the ideal U-value of your new home windows is also "the opposite" of the low U-values window professionals advise homeowners seek up north. Windows with low U-values are best in both hot and cold climates.
This is because the U-value of a window is a measurement of the thermal conductivity of a window when it is shut unlike the SHGC, which is a measurement of how much flows inward into your home. A window with low thermal conductivity simply helps keep your home cooler in the summer when your air conditioning is running and comfortable in the winter when you may be heating your home.
3. Window Coatings Shield Your Home from Heat and UV Rays
You may have never bothered to look into window coatings up north, because during the few months of the year when the sun was shining brightly, you may have wanted to soak up every drop of it that you could. However, now that you have a home in the south where the sun's rays are stronger in the summer and can still shine very brightly during the fall and winter, it is a good time to learn how window coatings work and consider having your home windows covered in one.
Window coatings (often called tints or films), cannot only reflect the sun's rays to keep it from heating your home during the summer, but they can also help your windows block more of the sun's UV rays that can fade your carpeting and furniture and even contribute to the development of skin cancer.
While, many decades ago, window coatings had to appear dark in color to block UV rays, coatings today can be completely clear or very light in color and still block almost all of the sun's UV rays.
If you just moved to the south and are very surprised at just how high your home energy bills are in the summer due to home cooling costs, then replacing your home's windows with newer, energy efficient, heat-blocking ones can help give your bank account a relief next summer. Keep these tips in mind, and remember that the most energy efficient windows in the north differ from those that are the most energy efficient in the hot south. For more information, contact a company like Statewide Energy Solutions.