House warming – the clever way to better window glazing
When it comes to making your home warmer this winter, if double glazed windows are good, then triple glazed ones must be better?
The surprising opinion from the experts at Fairco Windows and Doors is no, not necessarily.
In fact, according to Fairco’s Jim Toal who has over 30 years experience in the trade, it takes a thoughtful mix of both double and triple glazing to get the best heat value from your windows.
“The trick is to maximise the amount of solar gain – that is the free heat from sunshine on the window which modern glazing technology will release into your home,” said Jim.
“People may not be aware but if you put triple-glazing in south or west-facing windows, you will lose solar gain and the extra money you spend won’t gain you any extra heat.”
Now for the science bit. The international standard that measures the insulation performance of windows is called the U-value.
The lower the number the better their U-value, and traditional one-pane windows have a U-value in excess of five.
Thanks to improvements in windows technology, any double-glaze windows you install today will have a U-value of no worse than 1.6 and at Fairco they work to a U-value standard of 1.2.
“Double-glazing has made amazing progress in the past five years and double-glazed windows are now capable of being net heat contributors to your home,” said Jim.
“Replacing single-glazing or old double glazing, with new, is simply a no-brainer.
Triple-glazed windows, on the other hand, may not always be worth the investment.
“They are ideal for north-facing windows which get almost no direct winter sun and are usually net losers of energy.
“On the other hand, triple-glazed windows in sunlit south or west-facing rooms will reduce heat absorption and by adding extra weight, increase the strain on hinges.”
The Scandinavians with their very cold winters have led the way in improved window technology and triple-glazing is their ideal choice.
However what works for them doesn’t necessarily work for us.
“In Scandinavia the winter air is cold and dry, while Ireland has a damp, wet and windy climate with a high level of humidity.
“With the wind lashing the windows, an Irish home at six Celsius outside can feel colder than a Scandinavian home where the outside temperature is minus 10,” said Jim.
While that sounds rather chilly the good news is that by combining good insulation with Fairco’s clever use of glazing you can now get a warm and comfortable home with A-rated energy efficiency.