Contractor Tips Blog


Are Low E Windows Counterproductive in Winter?

Low E windows, E standing for emissivity, are considered the most efficient windows due to their ability to reflect heat. The glass is covered with a thin metallic substance that reflects heat, helping improve the climate control in the home. While this makes sense during a hot summer, does it also work in the winter? The quick answer is yes, but only if you have a contractor that installs them correctly.

It may seem that low E glass would be counterproductive in the winter. If it reflects the sun, it also would reflect the heat that can be gained when trying to warm your home. However, there are different types of low E windows and different options for installation. For those that have cold winters, considering a lower U-factor is also important, which helps keep heat in, on top of low E windows. For installation:

  • Warmer climates. If the goal is to keep heat out, the low E glass should be put on the exterior window to reflect the heat from the sun, helping to keep the home cooler.
  • Colder climates. For colder winters, you want the low E glass to be installed on the interior windows, reflecting heat back inside to lower heating costs.

Low E windows can be beneficial, allowing light in, but reducing lost cool air during the summer and lost warm air during the winter. However, it is just one of several factors to consider when installing new windows. U-factor. SHGC, VT and CR are other considerations when picking your new windows. Talk to your contractor to learn more about what all these options mean and to determine the best windows for your home’s energy efficiency.

Posted on behalf of:
Atwood Home Builders
227 W 8th Ave
Homestead, PA 15120
(412) 638-1262


Window Replacement

Knowing when to replace windows is essential to making sure that a home is as efficient as it should be. Windows older than fifteen years of age, windows that are difficult to open or close, and moisture on windows are definite signs that window replacement is necessary. Over time windows need to be replaced due to settling of the home, natural aging of materials, and home improvement. Determining when it is time to replace windows can help the home retain or increase in value. 

Older homes were built with single-pane glass in the windows. Single-pane glass windows are not energy efficient and let much head and cold in during the year. They are also very susceptible to frost during the winter months, making them more fragile which increases the risk of breakage and damage to the home. 

Many people notice that their curtains, carpet, and/or furniture begin to fade. This is because ultraviolet rays entering through windows and patio doors cause the discoloration of materials inside the home. Having window replacements done to upgrade to more energy efficient windows can potentially reduce fading and extend the life of in home items and materials. 

One telltale sign that windows need replacement and should not be ignored is when windows leak in water and air. Inefficient windows can leak which allows water to come in through windows and can damage the window casing and walls of a home. This water leaking is the number one cause of mold and mildew in the home – both that are dangerous to health. 

If you are in need of window replacement in your home, contact your reputable window manufacturer for quality windows. Your home is probably the largest investment that you will make in your lifetime. Make sure your windows are adding value, not taking it away.

Posted on behalf of:
Atwood Home Builders
227 W 8th Ave
Homestead, PA 15120
(412) 638-1262


Types of Window Glass

Now that you’ve decided to replace the windows on your home, the journey has only just begun. Before you get started on you window replacement project, you should put some thought into what type of glass you need for your new windows. Contrary to what you might think, there are a number of choices. 

Sheet glass is what is found on most older homes. It is easy to cut, but it breaks easily and is not very energy efficient. If you’re replacing a pane of glass that’s broken, this type of glass may be your most inexpensive alternative, but it’s probably not the best. 

Another type of glass used for windows is heat-treated, tempered or safety glass. The name speaks for itself, as this glass is designed to have the least impact when it shatters. Tempered glass is used for automobile windshields, but it can also be used in homes for showers or sliding glass doors. 

When shopping for windows, you’ll also come across a type of glass called low-e, or low emissivity, glass. Low-e glass has been treated with an invisible metallic or metallic oxide coating which controls heat transfer. Low-e glass windows cost a little more than other types of windows, but they can cut energy loss by up to 50 percent.

In hotter climates, one might use spectrally treated glass, which has a tinted coating to control the type of light that enters the living space. Homes in parts of the South that have these windows can see a reduction in their cooling bills by as much as 40 percent. 

Patterned glass has a special surface on one side that obscures transparency. This is a great type of glass for privacy in bathrooms, either on windows or a shower stall. 

Given the wide variety of windows on the market, and great differences in price, you might consider using different types of windows throughout your home, based on need. Of course, when in doubt, always consult a window glass specialist.

Posted on behalf of Atwood Home Builders

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