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Old tools on a wooden table

A Clearer Look at Windows

Here is an interesting video that was forwarded to us last week about heat transfer through different types of glass.

With so many different window products under a lot of different product labels, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting when you purchase new windows for your home. So, let’s look at a few key points to help make things a little, uhh…clearer.

– The test that is being done in the video measures how much heat transfer there is through different types of glass. The heater is putting out 300 BTUs of heat which would be comparable to a really hot light bulb, one which would burn your fingers pretty badly if you touched it. The machine on the right is simply measuring how much of that heat is getting through. The lower the BTU number, the better of an insulator the glass is.

– The first test is simply a piece of single glass with no coating on it. As you can see, glass is not exactly a great insulator, as a lot of heat can move freely through it. Although two panes of glass aren’t shown in the video, the result isn’t much better, meaning dual pane windows don’t offer great insulation either. You might as well leave your windows open an eighth of an inch all winter long for the amount of heat they are retaining.

– The test that I think best represents the minimum glass standard to which you should have in your home is the Standard hard coat low E – argon filled glass test. At 87 BTU it provides modest insulation. Note that Low E refers to coating that the manufacturers put on the glass and Argon gas is sealed between the panes. It’s the coating and the gas that provide better insulation.

– From there, better insulated products are available. Of course, some of the products with the best insulation values (i.e. the lowest BTU rating registered on the machine) are offered  through the manufacturer that sent us this video and they are manufacturer specific. This means that other manufacturers don’t or can’t offer this quality of product.

So, what does this mean for you? It means that when buying new windows for your home renovation project, you have to be aware that not all windows are created equal. Choosing a window package based on price alone could very well mean that you are buying low quality windows. That’s great if you like cold, drafty rooms or high heating bills, but spending a bit more money to get some quality window products can mean savings and comfort for you in the long run.

Finally, while we’re on the subject of windows, warranty coverage is something you should consider if you plan to stay in your home for some time. Some manufacturers give a lifetime warranty on their product. Some only give a 10 year warranty. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend a reasonable amount of money on new windows, they should last a lot longer than 10 years.

Disclaimer: The products that are featured in the video are manufactured and sold by a company that we routinely do business with. Then again, we like to do business with them because they provide our clients with product that they’ll be happy with. If you’re interested in finding out more information about this product, please feel free to contact me. My information is provided below.

If you’re in the Greater Edmonton area and are looking for a contractor for you renovation project, visit our website at www.nordalta.com/contact.php to find information on how to contact us. We’d be happy to speak to you about what we can do to get the ball rolling on your next home or office project. You can also leave comments with us at info@nordalta.com.

Michael Breault is a project coordinator for Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Michael and Nord Atla Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaConstruction, on twitter at www.twitter.com/Nordalta, and on LinkedIn.