Choose Windows with a High U-Factor to Save Money and Energy

Choose Windows with a High U-Factor to Save Money and Energy


What is the u-factor of your windows? Summer is on its way, and with it the relentless heat of the summer sun. If your home doesn’t have trees nearby that offer protective shade, the indoor temperature can shoot up, causing your air conditioning bills to skyrocket. Depending on your home’s style and structure, poorly insulated windows could be the culprit that lets in the vast majority of the heat.

Most homeowners want large windows that let in lots of light, giving their home a cheerful, airy feel. Homes with small windows, heavy drapes, porch overhangs or a thick growth of trees or shrubbery can have a dark, dungeonous quality. The trend in windows today is definitely more, bigger and better.

Insulation and Tinting

You have many options when choosing new windows, but one of the most important considerations is the u-factor, a measurement of heat transfer. If the number is high, that means the window allows heat in and out easily — a feature no homeowner wants. Conversely, a low number means little heat transfer, and better insulation. Actual u-factor ratings usually are measured between 0.15 and 1.25. Many double-pane windows achieve a rating of 0.3, while triple-pane windows can go as low as 0.15. A low u-factor is helpful in insulating against cold as well, but not as much as with heat.

The high quality of today’s windows means relatively little heat escapes through them, but you can’t block out all the sunshine. Homeowners who are interested in cutting their utility bills and protecting their furniture and floors from heat, bleaching and fading sometimes consider tinting their windows, but this insulating method is unreliable and can sometimes do more harm than good.

Window-tinting kits available at big-box stores can be installed by the homeowner, but the sheets have to be carefully measured and cut, and it is difficult to get them on evenly and without any air bubbles. Eventually, many begin to peel away from the windows. Professionally installed tint for windows is more expensive, and if the wrong type of tint is used for your windows, it can result in cracked glass or compromised seals. The benefits of window tinting are dubious, and generally not worth the risk.

SHGC Rating

If you are concerned about the amount of sunlight that can enter your home, look at the SHGC rating before buying new windows. SHGC, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, measures how well the window blocks heat generated by sunlight. The scale ranges from 0 to 1, with most windows falling into the 0.25 to 0.8 levels. Again, the lower the rating, the higher the heat-blocking properties. If you have large windows and few trees, this number is going to matter to you.

Peach Building Products installs high-quality, insulated, coated replacement windows throughout Utah. If you have been thinking about getting replacement windows installed before that summer heat sets in, call Peach for a free in-home consultation and estimate.