During the summer, does your house, commercial space or office get hot and uncomfortable, no matter how much you adjust your thermostat? You may not even realize it, but cool air from inside your building could be leaking out through your doors and windows. Not only does this keep your building from reaching an ideal temperature, it can also be a massive drain on your bank account. Read on for our tips on optimizing your doors and windows for the hot summer months.
Check for drafts
Not all drafts are obvious – in fact, some are almost undetectable. However, if you suspect one of your doors or windows may be leaking, there’s an easy way to make sure. Hold a candle around the edges of your windows and see if the flame shifts or moves. If it does, you might have a draft. Some drafts you can feel easily, so if you suspect you have one, you probably do, especially if your house is older or the windows and doors were installed a long time ago. Building technology is constantly evolving, and it’s very possible your door and window materials are out of date.
Inspect weatherstripping and sealant
If your windows and doors have been weather stripped or caulked and they still seem to be leaking air, check for damage. If they haven’t been, adding sealing materials can keep the cold air in and the hot air out. Properly sealing windows and doors can lower your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint. Before weatherstripping, consult a window and door installation professional to assess your ventilation needs and identify the leaking area. The following are some options for weatherstripping:
- Felt and open-cell – Best for low-traffic parts of the building, felt and open-cell foams are an inexpensive and easy-to-apply weatherstripping option.
- Vinyl – Slightly more expensive, vinyl holds up especially well against moisture, making it a good choice for those living in more humid or rainy climates.
- Metal – Bronze, copper, stainless steel and aluminum are durable weatherstripping materials that last a long time and can add style to a window or door.
Check for foggy glass
If your window glass is foggy, it could be due to a number of conditions, such as humidity, broken seals between panes, or condensation. If your building is too humid on the inside, it might be time to consult with an expert on regulating internal temperatures, which can be affected by poorly installed windows and doors. If the seal if broken between glass panes, moisture can enter the space between the panes. A window installation expert can replace or repair windows with failed seals, which can be a drain on energy consumption.
Upgrade your windows
If you’re having trouble getting your building to the right temperature, take a look at your windows. Cracked panes, non-operational windows and rotting frames are indicators that it’s time for a replacement. Single-pane glass and temperature-conductive frames also usually mean your installation is out of date. In recent years, window materials have been updated to prioritize saving building owners money and increasing energy efficiency.
Window glass has a U-value, which is a measurement of its insulating properties. It also has a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), which refers to the fraction of solar radiation admitting through a window, door or skylight. The lower the U-value and SHGC of the glass, the better the window will perform. The following are some options for efficient window glass:
- Multi-pane glass – Single-paned glass has been found to be inefficient when it comes to energy conservation, so even if temperature isn’t a big problem in your building, you should upgrade to multi-pane glass. The vacuum created between the panes creates insulation. Argon is commonly used between panes for its efficiency and affordability.
- Low-E glass – Low emissivity glass lessens the passage of heat and air through windows. Its coating blocks out most ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light while still allowing visible light to pass through it. Low-E glass is a popular choice for hotter seasons and climates.
- Impact-resistant glass – If you live in a particularly stormy or rainy climate, impact-resistant glass is a good thing to have on your windows. It reduces UV transmission, keeping hot air out and cool air in, and is built to resist high-velocity projectiles.
Proper framing plays a huge role in the performance of your window or door. Frames can be made of aluminum, fiberglass, composite, wood and vinyl, depending on the space. For example, even though a wood frame is more prone to heat and cold transfer than aluminum, since metals conduct temperature more easily, wood isn’t always the right choice. A door and window installation expert can help you choose the right framing for your specific needs.
Upgrade your doors
Like windows, doors can allow for heat to leak in and out of a building. If doors are old or poorly installed, it can add up to a lot of energy loss over time. A door installation professional can help you determine what type of door your building needs based on factors like climate, use and location.
An energy efficient door has tight, up to date weatherstripping. Newer frames often include a magnetic strip that creates a tight seal and reduces air leakage around the edges. If it has a glass section or is made of glass, it’s double or triple-paned. It’s made from strong core materials, such as the following:
- Fiberglass – Due to its weather resistance and insulating value, fiberglass doors are poor conductors of heat. That means the temperature inside your building will be a lot easier to maintain and won’t be affected too much by the weather.
- Vinyl – A vinyl door provides thermal insulation and blocks external heat. It also retains inside temperatures and requires little maintenance. Vinyl doors are a popular choice for patios and require little maintenance.
- Steel – Steel is an energy efficient choice for the insulation it provides. It’s also relatively affordable, and very secure and strong. Steel is a good conductor of heat, however, so your door might be hotter to the touch.
- Aluminum – Similar to steel, aluminum doors are energy efficient and durable. They’re a common option for storm and patio doors and are very low maintenance.
- Wood – Wood is one of the most popular door materials for its aesthetic quality. It’s a poor insulator of heat, but a wooden door can be weather stripped for durability and insulation.
If you’re looking to upgrade your commercial windows and/or doors to keep the heat out this summer, contact Aeroseal today. Our window and door installation experts can help you choose the right materials to upgrade your building and ultimately save your business money and reduce your carbon footprint.