Three Window Features That Are Real Life Savers in Cold Climates

Windows are a huge source of heat loss in any home. When you live in a cold climate, you need to be particularly concerned about this, since losing heat through your windows will not only raise your energy bills but will also make your home feel uncomfortable and chilly. If the time has come to replace your windows, there are a few features you'll want those new windows to include. These three features make for well-insulated windows that will form a better barrier between you and the ice-cold outdoors.

Argon Gas

In your average window, there is a layer of air between the two (or three) panes of glass. This air acts as an insulator. It slows the transfer of heat from one side of the window to the other. But there's a better insulator than air that can be pumped between those glass panes—argon. Argon gas does an even better job of slowing the transfer of heat through the window. It's a clear, nontoxic gas with a thermal conductivity (ability to transfer heat) that is only 67% that of air.

The argon gas does slowly leak out from between the glass panes, but only about 1% is lost each year. The window will remain effective as long as 80% of the gas remains, which means it will remain a great insulator for 20 years. In a cold environment where you're constantly battling heat loss, this will save you a lot on energy bills and will help prevent you from feeling that "chill" when you walk past a window.

Triple-Pane Glass

Two glass panes might be fine in a moderate climate, but when you live in a cold climate, you'll want an extra pane of glass. Triple-pane windows not only have an extra layer of glass to slow heat transfer, but they also have an extra layer of gas between the panels to act as an insulator. You can find triple-pane windows with argon gas filling for the maximum insulating benefit.

Triple-pane glass will save you about 2–3% on your heating bills when compared to double-pane glass. This might not sound like a lot, but when you live in a cold environment, the savings can add up over time. Perhaps the bigger advantage of triple-pane glass, however, is the way it reduces condensation. Since less heat is transferred through the panes, you're less likely to get moisture buildup between them. As a result, you'll have fewer issues with mold and premature window frame deterioration.

Casement Structure

Hung windows might be the most popular window choice these days, but they are not the most energy-efficient option, especially in a cold climate. Casement windows, which are the type of windows that hinge out to the side with a crank, allow less cold air to leak through. They simply fit more tightly into their frame than hung windows. Even when it's cold and windy outside, you won't feel that cold air whistling in through the windows.

Casement windows can be a bit harder to open than hung windows, but in a cold environment, you're probably not opening your windows very often, so this is not a major concern. They are a bit more expensive than hung windows. Casement windows cost between $200 and $500 each, whereas single-hung windows are typically between $100 and $200 each. However, the casement windows will save you money on your energy bills and will keep your home more comfortable. Many homeowners feel they are well worth the extra cost.

To learn more about these and other great window option for homes in cold climates, speak with a window installation contractor in your area, like one from Smith K L Inc.