Considering how much energy prices windows have increased over the past few months, there has never been a more critical time to maximise our houses’ energy efficiency. It’s no secret that homeowners and companies alike are feeling the effects of steadily rising energy prices, with some estimating yearly bill hikes of £1,500. As a result of this hike, the typical annual energy bill for a family of four will be a whopping £3,240. Despite government preparations, upcoming difficulties will be difficult to overcome.
Most of us are reducing our heating usage by turning it on less frequently, for shorter periods of time, and at a lower temperature. The lack of central heating has forced us to rely on other means of keeping warm, such as wearing layers and installing additional insulation. Now we’re looking at our doors and windows, since replacing draughty ones is a great way to add to our home’s insulation.
Is there a way to evaluate the energy efficiency of windows?
It’s safe to assume that everyone would welcome lower energy expenses, yet surprisingly few people can accurately determine whether or not their windows are energy efficient. There are a few ways to identify if your windows have lost their efficiency.
Lighting a candle or incense stick and holding it near the window frame will show if a draught is coming through the frame.
The development of moisture or mould between the window frame and wall is a telltale sign of a draught.
There may be heat loss due to:
- damaged or cracked sealant;
- single glazing;
- windows that were installed prior to 1980 and hence are single-glazed and lose heat far more quickly than double- or triple-glazed windows.
Old or broken weatherstripping can be a major source of heat loss.
Anything other than aluminium, wood, or uPVC for window frames will be inefficient.
Explain how double-paned glass helps save utility bills.
There is an air gap between the two panes of glass in double-paned windows, which acts as an insulator and stops heat from escaping.
A home with double glazing will be warmer inside during the winter since less heat will be lost through the windows, and draughts will be kept out. Because of the additional pane of glass, the quantity of heat generated by the sun is decreased throughout the summer months.
Triple-glazed windows… what does it even mean?
Triple-glazed windows have three pieces of glass, as the name suggests. The space between the panes of glass in triple-glazed windows is filled with an inert gas, just like in double-glazed windows. There will be no further heat loss thanks to this additional barrier.
Can we get money to replace our ageing windows?
Unfortunately, the process of changing windows and doors can be pricey. Meanwhile, the increased energy costs associated with leaving them in an inefficient state can be costly in and of itself. Having stated that, do any forms of financial assistance exist?
As an example, the Energy Compilation Obligation mandates that utilities provide assistance to low-income households in order to install heating upgrades. It’s worth noting that those who match one or more of the following conditions are eligible for a Home Repairs Assistance payment of up to £5,000 spread out over three years.
• Disabled adults over the age of 18
In this context, “older adults” means anyone 18 or older receiving any form of government assistance.
Should I get new windows for my draughty house?
Approximately 18% of the heat loss in our homes is caused by the windows. Therefore, people whose windows are improperly installed or who only have one pane of glass in them will have to pay exorbitant rates to keep their homes warm. It’s a no-brainer that new windows and doors will improve a home’s energy efficiency and reduce monthly costs.
Which would you prefer: wood, PVC, or metal?
You might be surprised to learn that timber makes the best thermally efficient window frame material. Additionally, it has the lowest environmental impact and is the most thermally efficient. Timber may be more costly initially, but it will end up saving you money in the long run.