We talk a lot in this blog about the positive attributes of getting replacement windows for your San Diego home. You can find information about how the glazing systems in the windows we sell help keep out unwanted heat and cold, and how Low-E glass can prevent harmful UV rays from causing damage to the furnishings in your home. We discuss the benefits of vinyl frames, including their insulating qualities and their durability.
In this post, however, we wanted to take a little bit of a different approach and discuss the old windows in your home. You may not realize how some of the features of your old windows are contributing to the temperature inside your home. Does your home get hot in the summer? Your old windows likely have a lot to do with it. Here’s why:
If you have old windows with aluminum frames in your San Diego home, they are part of the reason why your house gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
Aluminum was used in window frames back in the day largely because it is relatively inexpensive and lightweight, yet still strong. However, aluminum is also a good conductor of heat. This is a bad thing. Being a good conductor of heat means that a material allows heat to pass through. So, when it’s hot outside, that heat gets transferred inside through the aluminum. On a hot day, if you touch the aluminum frame around your window, it will feel hot, or at least very warm. That is a bad sign that your old windows are not doing a good job of keeping heat out of your home.
Replacement windows with vinyl frames are the most popular choice among San Diego homeowners. Vinyl is much better at keeping out unwanted heat and cold, and it is also a relatively affordable material.
You might be thinking, “If windows with aluminum frames are so bad and vinyl is so great, why do people still sometimes install windows with aluminum frames in their homes today?”
Aluminum frames do have some advantages. Most notably, they are strong. Therefore, you can have a window with a thinner frame, which is attractive to people with more modern styles of homes. Aluminum frames also work better for very large picture windows for the same reason. Unfortunately, you have to sacrifice a good amount of energy efficiency to get the look that thinner aluminum frames can provide.
Single Panes of Glass
Dual pane windows have been around for a long time, yet didn’t become widely used in new construction until the 1980s and ‘90s. If you have a house in San Diego that was built before that time, it likely has windows with only a single pane of glass.
Glass, like aluminum, is a good conductor of heat. A single pane of glass does very little to keep out the heat and cold. That’s why, on a hot day, the inside surface of the glass will also be hot when you only have one pane of glass in your windows.
So, why would two panes of glass keep out heat any better?
Although glass is not inherently a good insulator, having two panes of glass does make it a bit more difficult for the heat or cold to get inside. What makes the biggest difference, though, is what is in between the two panes of glass. Many of the manufacturers of quality replacement windows will pump an insulating gas into the space between the two panes, such as Argon or Krypton. This goes a long way toward making dual pane windows more energy efficient.
This may lead you to ask, “If two panes of glass are better than one, are three panes better than two?” The answer to that question is, “Yes, but not by that much.” There are replacement window manufacturers that make triple pane windows, but the cost of these windows to consumers is considerably more than dual pane windows by the same manufacturer. Since three panes of glass don’t provide significantly more energy savings, most homeowners conclude that the cost does not justify the small amount of energy savings and decide to go with dual pane windows instead.
As houses settle and materials expand and contract, it can cause gaps between window frames and the surrounding wall. Obviously, gaps that let in outside air are going to affect the inside temperature of a home. When the gaps are small, a little bit of caulking may solve the problem, but at some point, the issue may become too big for DIY fixes.
The vinyl that is used in the replacement windows we sell at BM Windows does very little contracting or expanding, so you won’t have to worry about gaps that let hot and cold air in (or dust, rain, or bugs) once your new windows are installed.
Contact BM Windows About Replacement Windows in San Diego
If you have been thinking about replacing the old windows in your San Diego home and would like an estimate, contact us to schedule an in-home appointment.