Window replacement is a costly project and if your home is in an area where temperatures reach very high values, the process requires lots of careful consideration – if you are currently looking at frame and glass types that can protect the thermal comfort of your home and also match the style of your building, here are a few tips about how to pick the best windows for hot climates.
Choosing the Best Frame
The frame type that you choose for your windows will directly influence the thermal balance inside your home. The most common materials used in window frames today are wood, vinyl, fiberglass and aluminium. Out of the four material, aluminium is the most affordable and the most widespread, but it transfers the heat coming from outside, rather than blocking it out, so it is not the best type for hot climate areas. Fiberglass comes in next in terms of both cost and energy-efficiency, while wood and vinyl provide the best insulation, with vinyl being the more affordable, but wood being the more attractive solution.
Choosing the Best Glass
Single-glaze windows are a thing of the past, modern windows usually consist of two or three glass panes, separated by air or by some type of inert gas to reduce heat conductivity even further. All glass panels come with ratings that you should know about:
- The visible transmission (VT) rating indicates the amount of sunlight that is transmitted through the panes – glasses with VT values between 60-80 let more light into the house;
- The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) indicates the amount of heat that the glass lets through – glass types that come with an SHCG value around 0.40 or lower allow less heat to penetrate the room, so they are better suited for hot climates;
- The U-value measures the efficiency of the material as an insulator – look for the glass with the lowest U-value that you can afford.
There is a special glass category that is more and more popular these days: low-emissive glass. The inner side of the outermost pane of multi-pane glasses has a special coating made from a combination of metal oxides to prevent the transfer of heat between the panes, therefore these glass types work best in hot climates.
Multi-pane Glass Types
The best windows for hot climates use not only multiple panes, but some type of gas to separate the panes and to increase the energy-efficiency of the assembly. Windows that use air between the panes are the most common and the most affordable, but solutions that make use of the superior insulation properties of noble gases are more efficient and therefore more suitable for hot climates.
The most affordable and therefore the most common inert gas used for windows is argon, followed in the line by krypton, a gas that is much more expensive and used only for special windows that need to have very thin panes and by xenon that is very efficient in terms of thermal insulation, but very expensive as well.
If you still feel that choosing the best solution for your home is too difficult, turn to a seller in your town or city for more advice – the Austin roofing companies experts in the store will tell you more about best windows for hot climates and they will help make the best decision.