Winter & Your Home: Windows for Extreme Cold

Winter & Your Home: Windows for Extreme ColdAfter the months of extreme weather that marked last winter, the arrival of more frigid temperatures again this year means it’s a good time to make sure you have home windows for extreme cold that are in good condition and worthy of another blast of arctic cold.

Extremely cold weather has a variety of effects on your home, and you may experience issues like excess condensation or temperature regulation problems when your windows aren’t functioning properly.

Understanding the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

You’re probably already familiar with double-pane and triple-pane windows, but do you recognize the different features manufactured into today’s windows? Do you know if your windows have a U-Factor or what their solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) is?

Windows meant for cold weather aren’t just clear panes of glass. They have many ratings designed to help you figure out if those windows are appropriate for your climate. For example, one rating you’ll see is the U-Factor, which is a measure of whether the window will keep the cold air outside and the warm air inside:

What U-Factor should I look for in a cold climate?

For a cold climate, look for a low U-Factor, which will keep the cold air outside and help your home remain warm and toasty. A low U-Factor can help you spend less money on heating, and your furnace won’t have to work so hard.

Another measure you’ll see in the information published about your windows is the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). Although this phrase sounds like something you might hear about in an advanced math or engineering class, it’s actually a pretty straightforward concept.

What SHGC should I look for in a cold climate?

Your solar heat gain coefficient is a measure of how much heat will pass through the windows in your home. You’ll want to choose windows that have a high SHGC since these windows will help you take the best advantage of heat during the winter.

Taking a Look at Window Insulation

One of the ways you can improve the performance of your windows is to install window insulation alongside your new replacement windows. You may consider exterior mechanical shutters, an interior curtain, or interior plastic film, among many other types.

According to the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC), there are actually eight different methods commonly used for window insulation. These methods range from interior to exterior, as well as “moveable” insulation. The CCHRC conducted a study on various insulation types and rated their performance for durability, affordability, and value. They also measured functionality, condensation resistance, and ease of installation.

“Researchers studied a variety of methods and windows in volunteers’ homes to understand how the methods work in real-life situations. CCHRC also modeled the retrofit window treatments to help explain more generally how they can help homeowners.”

Their results showed a significant variance in the performance of different types of insulation. For example, interior sliding shutters didn’t perform well for condensation resistance, but they got high ratings for insulation value. Meanwhile, exterior mechanical shutters received a medium score for condensation resistance and were one of the best performing options for functionality.

Do You Have a Condensation Problem?

One of the issues you may experience in your home is condensation on your windows. You’ll often see condensation form on old windows, but problems with the seals in your home may also encourage the formation of condensation on your windows.

With frigid temperatures in the winter, you’ll often see condensation form on the interior of the windows. However, not all condensation is a sign that you need new windows. Temporary condensation might just be the result of changing seasons.

For example, you may see condensation form whenever someone takes a hot shower, or you might notice condensation appear when the temperatures start to get cold for the first time, and you begin using your heating system.

You may be able to reduce the incidence of condensation on your windows by taking one or all of the following steps:

  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Don’t over-water inside plants
  • Take care of plumbing leaks
  • Always utilize fans in the bathroom
  • Get your ventilation system checked

If taking these steps and regulating the humidity in your home doesn’t work, you may need to have a professional check for leaks or drafty windows and doors in your home.

Protect Your Family This Winter With Windows for Extreme Cold

Is it time to upgrade the windows in your home? Want information on window styles and the best windows to survive frigid winter temperatures? Contact AHT Wisconsin Windows today for a Free No Obligation Quote or call 1-866-367-6560. Want more information before you choose your contractor? Download our FREE hiring guide for Wisconsin-area residents.