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Offering Western PA Replacement Windows and Doors, Vinyl Siding, Roofs, and Many More Home Improvements.

How to Read Window Energy Performance Labels

Know Your Window Performance Labels

All new and replacement windows have a government mandated performance sticker that shows you the windows U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Visible Transmittance, Air Leakage, Condensation Resistance and some windows can have even more.  It is very important to learn these values as they may save you a lot of money in energy costs and improve your overall comfort.  Sometimes getting a higher performance window may cost you few more bucks upfront and save you hundreds if not thousands in the long run.  In other words, spend a few minutes and learn these.

Windows U-Factor

U-Factor is a measure of how well a window can retain heat inside of a space.  The lower the U-Factor value the better the window is at keeping the heat inside.  This is one of the most important variables to look at when shopping for windows in colder climates, especially for windows that are in shaded or north facing area of the house.  Sometimes the U-Factor is also referred to as the U-Value.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

You can think of Solar Heat Gain Coefficient as the opposite of U-Factor.  This score grades the windows ability to keep the outside solar heat from coming into your home.  The lower the value, the less solar heat the window absorbs and transmits into your home.  South facing windows that are not in shade should have a low value SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) while windows that are in the shade or north side of your home will not benefit much from a low SHGC.  We are seeing more and more hot and humid summers in the Pittsburgh, Monroeville region so be sure to consider this coefficient and give your AC a little break.

Visible Transmittance Window Score

As the name hints this score measures the windows ability to allow visible light to enter your home.  The higher the value the more visible light is permitted to come inside.  Remember that north facing windows, or ones that are shaded by lots of plants will not be exposed to sunlight that much so you may want to consider something that has a better visible transmittance score.

Air Leakage Window Score

Air leakage score measures the windows ability to prevent outside air from coming in.  Ever felt that chilly “ghost” breeze when you stood by a window and heard a strong gust outside?  If you ever felt that then you experienced a window with a high air leakage score.  Air leakage can be quite expensive for homes that get hit by strong winds.  This is quite common in older homes and is a very expensive source of heat loss.

Condensation Rating Score

This score isn’t always published as its not required but its good to know what this measures so that you can make the right choice when shopping for windows.  Condensation rating measures the windows ability to resist condensation.  The higher this rating score the better the window is at resisting condensation.

Remember, Proper Window Installation is Just as Important as the Windows You Buy!

It goes without saying that the highest performing window is worthless if its not properly installed.  Make sure that your window is installed by someone who understands how to securely do the installation, and its insulation.  If you don’t feel comfortable with that “very affordable” installation quote then give us a call.  Windows must have the correct water, vapor and insulation membranes, be able to guide water away from your home, and must have a feel of ease when opening and closing.  Be very careful with getting a “deal” on window installation.  We don’t want to sound too negative but sadly we get a decent amount of calls in the Pittsburgh and Monroeville region from owners who just burned through their budget and have serious issues with their new windows!  We have been helping western PA home owners for over fifty years and would be happy to assist you with your windows!

Call our two locations Beaver Valley 724-728-0988 or  Monroeville 412-373-0414 if you need help with home window shopping and/or installation.

Use the following handy links to find driving directions to our store where you can see many different replacement windows.

Bethel Park
Cranberry Township
Mount Lebanon

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