Modern living cannot be imagined without large transparent windows through which we fill the rooms with solar energy. Unfortunately, they can cause great heat loss in winter. Replacing obsolete windows with modern energy efficient window constructions will help reduce heating costs.
To choose the right new windows, you need to be clear about how they are arranged. Let’s start our acquaintance with them with double-glazed windows, which occupy the largest area of the window structure.
The glass unit is assembled from two glasses of the same size, which are united along the contour by an aluminum spacer frame. The result is a sealed air chamber, the access to which is completely closed from the outside. The spacer has one remarkable feature – it is hollow inside and contains fine granulate, which removes the remaining moisture from the air chamber. Thanks to this feature, windows do not sweat in the cold and do not freeze.
Sometimes an inert gas can be pumped into the air chamber of a glass unit to increase the sound and heat insulation properties of the window. True, it should be noted that the domestic manufacturer does not always manage to make double-glazed windows that can keep an inert gas inside the chamber. Ultimately, it will almost completely evaporate in 3-4 years and must be pumped again. At the same time, European standards state that gas losses should be no more than 1% per year, which is quite enough for the entire service life of the window..
A glass unit can be assembled not only from two, but also from three and four glasses. In this case, a distance frame must be placed between adjacent glasses. The result is two- and three-chamber double-glazed windows.
For the assembly of insulating glass units, mainly standard float glass is used. At the request of the customer, other types of glass can be installed: tempered, reinforced, multilayer (triplex), energy-saving.
The finished glass unit is inserted into a solid window frame, which is assembled from a plastic or aluminum profile, as well as hard wood. The most popular is a plastic profile reinforced with a steel U-shaped rod, which gives the finished structure high rigidity. Plastic windows are strong and durable. They keep heat quite well and reduce street noise. In addition, such designs are the most affordable of all existing energy efficient windows..
Solid wood profile has high thermal insulation properties and looks respectable. Using modern processing methods, manufacturers have managed to significantly increase the service life of such structures. But we can talk about the great durability of a wooden window only on condition that the user will regularly monitor it and take timely protective measures. Unfortunately, quality hardwood windows are very expensive.
The aluminum profile, which is actually an alloy of aluminum and magnesium, is lightweight and durable. Like any metal, it is a poor heat insulator, therefore such a profile is used for glazing large surfaces of public buildings. Aluminum profile windows can be used on non-insulated balconies and loggias, as well as in winter gardens. For residential premises, you can use its variety – an aluminum profile filled with polyurethane foam, which improves thermal insulation properties. Alas, the price of an aluminum profile is several times higher than a plastic one..
Sometimes window manufacturers practice a combination of different materials to give the new profile better performance. So the aluminum profile on the side of the room can be finished with wood. Sometimes aluminum strips are attached to the wooden profile from the street side to protect it from the weather. In both cases, there is a decrease in the disadvantages of materials and an increase in their advantages..
What are the inconveniences when installing such windows? Most window companies work according to the standard scheme: measurements of the opening, receiving partial prepayment, manufacturing and installing windows, receiving the remaining amount of money. They do not really want to deviate from the long-beaten path. Therefore, they are likely to remain silent about the fact that modern windows cut off the air flow for natural ventilation. At best, they will tell you that you need to open the sash in the morning and evening to ventilate the room..
At the same time, the issue of forced ventilation is being considered with the supplier abroad with the installation of sealed windows. There, the window sash is not used for ventilation, but for extraordinary cases: for example, for evacuation during a fire along the fire escape. Therefore, the issue of ventilation should not be overlooked. As a last resort, instead of forced ventilation, which is usually mounted in the wall, you can order windows with built-in ventilation valves.
Another nuance that customers overlook because of ignorance or because of cost savings. Very often, manufacturers advertise their windows, where single-chamber double-glazed windows made of ordinary glass are installed by default. These norms came to us from the West, but they are not applicable for our latitudes with cold and long winters. Therefore, the windows must be equipped with energy-efficient glass units..
What is an energy efficient window? This is a tandem of a wide five-chamber profile and a double-glazed unit, in which one glass has a special coating. It freely lets sunlight into the room, but delays heat leakage from it..
Also, in a glass unit, the distance between the glasses is important. The larger it is, the warmer the glass unit. If you live near a busy street, then order windows with thick (5-6 mm) or laminated (triplex) glass. In this case, the glass unit must necessarily be two-chamber and asymmetric. All this will help to significantly reduce street noise..