Energy Efficient Windows and Doors
With energy bills on the increase, old windows and doors can be draughty, letting in cold air which can leave you reaching for the thermostat. Poorly fitted windows and doors can be a major source of heat loss, particularly during the winter months. You might find that you are fighting a never ending battle, between stopping draughts while ensuring that your home is well ventilated to prevent the build-up of condensation and damp.
Any gaps in your windows and doors can let the cold air in and will allow warm air to escape. From broken seals to poorly fitting windows or gaps around door frames. Making your home more energy efficient is about keeping the warm air in and the cold air out which will stop you from nudging up the thermostat to achieve a comfortable and consistent temperature. One of the first places to tackle when it comes to making your home more energy efficient is sealing any gaps and replacing your windows and doors for more energy efficient ones.
Step 1 – How to Draught Proof Your Home
Luckily, draught proofing your home is a relatively easy and cost effective way to increase its energy efficiency, but small changes can make savings on your energy bills. Although sealing up any unnecessary gaps and holes is important, it is also wise to remember that your home does need to breathe. Without sufficient airflow in your home, this can cause germs and mould to flourish, reducing air quality and increasing humidity. Warm air holds much more moisture than cold, so it creates the ideal environment for the growth of condensation and mould, particularly around and underneath windows.
Your home needs adequate ventilation particularly in places such as flues or fires and in rooms which collect lots of moisture such as bathrooms, utility areas and kitchens.
Step 2- Draught Proofing Windows and Doors
A home improvements company can make modifications to your existing windows and doors to make them more energy efficient and eliminating draughts. Here are just a few accessories that you can have added to prevent cold air from seeping through gaps and into your home.
Wiper Seals – These are plastic or metal strips with bristles attached along the edge. When the door or window is closed, the brushes compress creating a good seal to keep draughts out. They work well along the bottom of doors or where there is a gap that air can flow through.
Draught Excluders, Tapes or Adhesives – These are applied around the door frame to stop draughts when the door is closed. If doors are improperly fitted, gaps between the door and frame can be an area where air can flow through, creating cold draughts and places for heat to escape. Be careful what sized tape or adhesive strip to attach because if you choose one that’s too thick it can prevent the door or window from closing.
Other products include:
- Silicone sealants around window frames
- Brushes and flaps for your letterbox
- Hinged metal discs on the front of the key hole
- Reducing heat loss from doors
Believe it or not, doors can be worse than windows when it comes to heat loss. Poor seals, badly fitted doors can result in warm air escaping outside when it should be staying indoors. One of the best ways that you can reduce heat loss through your external doors is to create an airlock through a porch or conservatory or installing a new door not far from the original door. An inner door will work well if your front door opens directly into your living room. This can prevent cold air from reaching your living room and reducing the temperature. A home improvements company will be able to advise on installing an air lock system depending on the layout and design of your home.
Step 3: Reducing heat loss from windows
The best way to reduce heat loss through your windows is properly fitted double or triple glazing. With good installation these windows create an airtight seal that prevents draughts and keeps the warmth in. Windows can be bought in a range of different materials from the most popular uPVC to aluminium, steel, composite or wood depending on the style and character of your property.
If a full window replacement is not really an option right now, there are some other things that a home improvements company can do to draught proof your windows.
Draught excluder strips can be applied around the edges of the window where they close, making sure that you don’t stop the window from closing.
Where there are any gaps around window sills or between the window and wall, these should be sealed with a strong silicone mastic.
With movement of buildings, metal window frames can sometimes create small gaps around the frame. These can be sealed either with a draught strip or silicone gel.
New or replacement double glazing is definitely a worthwhile investment because of the energy savings that it can bring to your home. It can make every room in your house more comfortable and warmer too, reducing cold spots and improving heat retention. When windows are fully insulated, they can also bring down your carbon footprint and keep out noise from outside not to mention reducing condensation.
Step 4: A Rated Double Glazing Explained
If you are looking to have double glazing installed, it is important to understand ratings. Double Glazing in the UK is assigned a rating from the independent British Fenestration Ratings Council between A+ and G. A+ is the highest rating for energy efficient and G is the least. The rating for the window is calculated on a number of factors including:
- How well the window prevents the escape of heat
- How much sunlight can pass through the glass?
- How much air leaks around the door or window?
The overall energy rating of a window will depend on all of these factors. When working with a window installer, you can ask them what the rating of their windows is so you can make sure that the windows that are fitted are as energy efficient as possible.
Windows that fall into the ‘A’ category include a series of features that enhance the efficiency level and they include:
- Energy efficient glass – Features a thin coat of metal oxide which promotes the flow of light and heat through the glass while reducing heat loss from inside a building
- Gas in the gaps – Argon, krypton or Xenon can be added to windows and doors to seal any gaps. These materials will only be found in products with the highest energy rating.
- Pane Spacers – Installed between the edge of the pane to keep them apart.
Step 5: Conservation Areas and Double Glazing
If you live in an area that falls within a conservation area, you own a listed building or the property is of particular architectural interest, you must comply with certain regulations that govern alterations to the property. Before installing any new windows or doors you will need to consult your local council to check what you can and can’t do in terms of changing windows and doors. You may need to replace them using certain materials or to reflect a particular style that replicates the original features of the building.
Step 6: Secondary Double Glazing
Where it isn’t possible to install completely new double glazing, secondary glazing is worth consideration. This involves the installation of a pane of glass fitted to the inside of an existing window. Once installed, it essentially creates a double glazed unit which will keep out draughts and retain heat while reducing outside noise. It’s an effective alternative and a good home improvements company will be able to provide a detailed quote and assessment of your property.
Step 7: Windows and Doors Insulation
It is always wise to choose an experienced company to fit any windows and doors to make sure that it is carried out properly. The installation process should fully comply with consumer codes and certificates issued to verify that they meet current regulations. Check that the contractor you use is registered under the Competent Person scheme. Check customer reviews and make sure that they visit your property to undertake a thorough assessment of your property.
Windows and doors are an essential part of your home and as we have covered in this guide, they can help or hinder the energy efficiency of your home. Poorly fitted, old windows can result in draughts, cold spots and condensation resulting in higher energy bills and a cold property. Compare this with properly fitted windows and doors which are draught proof. The installation of good glazing and doors can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home, keeping you warm in the winter months and helping to maintain a consistent temperature in your home. If you need any assistance with the installation of windows and doors in your home, this is something that we can provide. We are always happy to provide any advice or guidance without obligation, so contact us today and make your home more energy efficient and economical.