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How to make your windows more energy efficient

At this time of the year we are very used to hearing people ask how they can avoid losing heat through their windows. Windows feel much colder in winter and they can be very inefficient. Looking at ways to make your windows more energy efficient can help you to save money and use less energy heating your home. This blog gives you some practical tips and tricks to ensuring your windows are completely sealed and as proficient as possible.

Window maintenance is one of the most overlooked improvements on homes in the UK yet focusing on your windows, especially in an older home, can save you from losing 20% of heat. There are two factors that determine how effective a window conserves the heat in your home:

  • The U-values of the glazing and timber
  • The degree of air tightness.

If you have a leaky single glazed window you could be losing 60% of overall heat loss through this leak. You need to focus on improving the insulation of your windows and reduce any uncontrolled air movement. You can try many affordable options on the market, but what it ultimately comes down to is the decision to refurbish what you have or replace it all together.

Refurbish existing windows

It might be that you only have one isolated window problem or that you would like to keep the cost of making your windows more energy efficient as low as possible. Some of the following ideas can help you refurbish your windows and increase their efficiency.

Putty: Putty is a malleable solution that can be a worked around your windows and help to increase the insulation, especially where the paint or original seal may have cracked. You can smooth the putty into place around your window and let it harden before painting over the top of the putty.

Replace the wooden beads

The wooden beads are attached to the exterior of the frame to secure the panes of glass. You can replace these beads to improve the efficiency of your windows. Typically you would use glazing silicone to seal the joint.

Install double-glazing

This is the most obvious solution to make your windows more energy efficient but it can also be the more expensive option. Double-glazing creates a vacuum between your initial windows and a new pane placed behind. This doubles the insulation strength of your windows and each layer of glass that you install helps to increase the value. You can hire a professional to install your glazing, or you can do it yourself.

Broken windows

If you have a crack in your window you may need to replace the entire pane but there are quick fixes you can do in the meantime.

  • Use clear glazing tape to patch cracks.
  • Use masking tape to seal bad cracks and then stretch polythene sheeting over the window.
  • If the pane is badly smashed and it is a security problem, put a piece of hardboard across the whole window.

Replace window fasteners

Sometimes the window fasteners can be loose or old and they will cause a lot of heat to be lost through the window. Replace any old or loose fasteners; making sure the seal is tight.

Curtains, shutters, blinds

You can purchase insulating blinds, shutters and curtains in your home to improve insulation. Curtains can come lined with insulation and certain blinds and shutters have very positive reviews for increasing insulation.

Replacing your windows

Replacing your old windows can be an expensive and lengthy job. It also means that you will loose some of the character of your home, especially if the windows are original. If it is your only option, you can choose designs that match your property the best.

Here are some things to consider if you do decide to replace:

  • If you are replacing your windows you may as well get double-glazing right off the bat. It will save you having to install them later and will increase the efficiency of your home.
  • Ensure your new windows have a good Uvalue.
  • Don’t go for cheaper options to save money here. It is worth spending money on the window frames, especially as new window frames last longer that you will live. You should only have to do this once.

Have you replaced old windows recently? What advice do you have for others thinking of improving their window insulaton?

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