With the transition from warm summer weather into cooler fall and winter temperatures, you want to be sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. One of the biggest drains on your heating bill come from drafty windows.
Air leaks are not always easily seen. One way to test air leaks in your home, and especially around your windows, is to do a “smoke test.” All you need is a lit incense stick. To conduct the test, close all of the windows and doors in your home and turn off any combustion appliances, like a furnace or water heater. Turn on your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans so that you create a negative pressure in your house. This negative pressure sucks outside air into your home through cracks or openings.
Now, to check for leaks, hold the lit incense stick close to the spaces around the edges of your windows and doors and look for a noticeable change in the smoke coming from the lit incense stick. If there is an air leak, the smoke with be drawn inwards by the outside air being pulled into your home by the exhaust fans. If the smoke doesn’t change or remains undisturbed, you can assume that there are no leaks in that specific area. You will want to repeat this test throughout your home, checking all windows and doorways as well as any other areas you suspect a leak.
If your windows are the source of your air leak, you will want to consider replacing your windows with a more energy efficient window. For our area, you will want to look for at least a double pane window with argon gas that is rated for Energy Star Northern Zone. To increase the thermal efficiency of your windows, you could choose a triple pane window or even a triple pane with krypton gas (that could even keep Superman out!).
Today, there are many window manufacturers to choose from as well as different window styles. Your contractor can help you choose the best window for your home and insure they are properly installed.
As ground breaking approaches, now is a good time to begin thinking about energy efficiencies for your new home. You want to think about the best options in windows and doors depending on the type and location of your home.
A lot of builders have a primary window vendor they work with. A relationship is built with this vendor and the builder will know that he can count on this company to produce quality windows and stay on schedule. More importantly though, your builder will know what is available to you as you begin window selection.
Some things to consider when selecting windows:
- Are the windows thermally efficient? Do they have an Energy Star rating?
- Are there code requirements for the types of windows you will use in your home? (i.e., egress window requirements for bedrooms)
- What type of window will look best in each room (colors, wood grain, etc.)?
- What features will you want in each window (i.e., number of panes, grids or no grids, sliders, double hung, or casement)
Your builder will help you with window selection and will be aware of any code requirements. Wilkins Contracting proudly uses Simonton Windows because of their great reputation for producing quality, energy-efficient windows.
The same things need to be considered when selecting doors. Did you know that an interior door between the house and an attached garage is required to have a 20 minute fire rating?
In addition to the code requirements, you can choose different door styles. Front doors come in many different designs and options and you want to make sure you get the door you choose the best door for the style and location of your home. For interior doors, you have many choices including different colors and wood types as well as solid core vs. hollow and even panel or smooth. Again, you will want to look for the best match to the other finishes in your home and a style that will complement the planned décor in your home.
Your builder should know all of the code requirements and can recommend the best options for your home. They can also help you decide what will work best based on the plans for your home.