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We usually count on our home’s windows to keep
the rain, snow and too much sunlight out of our homes. One thing we tend to
overlook, however, is one other very important function that windows play:
keeping heat inside the home effectively. On hot days, it might seem like a bad
idea to keep the heat from leaving our home, but during colder times of the
year, we need all the heat we can get to stay comfortable indoors. This is
where good window insulation comes in.
Your home’s heat barriers
A good way to understand how window insulation
works is to compare it to how we keep ourselves warm. During cold days, body
heat dissipates into the cold air, lowering our body temperatures and making us
feel uncomfortably cold. To stay warm and comfy, we usually wrap ourselves in
warm clothes and thick blankets to keep the heat from escaping.
This very similar to how window insulation works: by forming a physical barrier, it acts as a
big blanket that keeps the heat from the heater and other appliances from
escaping.

Made of the right stuff
Of course, using some sort of solid layer as a
barrier against the cold isn’t always the most efficient way to keep things
properly insulated. The right insulation starts with the use of the right
materials; for instance, a metal frame may have a solid surface, but it’s such
a good heat conductor that heat coming from one side can easily pass through to
the other side. On the other hand, a PVC or vinyl frame with foam insulation
offers good heat resistance, and is full of air pockets that further slow down
any heat traveling through it.
Another window feature that improves
insulation is multi-pane glass. Glass, on its own, offers decent heat
resistance, but having two panes form an air-filled gap that minimizes the
amount of heat passing through the second layer of glass is even better. For
the best insulation, however, get gas-filled windows, which replace regular air
between the glass panels with a special gas, such as argon or xenon, which
offer even better heat resistance.
It’s more than just keeping warm
Using windows that offer good insulation means
more than just having a more comfortable living space. Combined with proper
wall and roof insulation, you can significantly reduce the amount of energy
your heater uses to keep your home warm. This lowers your home’s overall energy consumption and helps you save on your electric bill.
Good insulation also offers a health-related
benefits. By keeping your home warm enough to prevent condensation, you also
get rid of one major cause of mold and mildew formation. This helps when you or
a family member is prone to allergies or respiratory problems.

The next time you’re looking for a window
replacement, don’t just think about how the window looks or how much it costs;
think about how it can help keep your home warm and you’re bound to choose a
replacement window worth getting.

Dave Steffes owns Renewal by Andersen of Des Moines,
where he has many contacts in the roofing, siding, and window industries in Des
Moines. Whether  with friends or clients,
he enjoys talking about various topics related to home improvement. Check out
his articles at http://www.rbadesmoines.com/blog/.