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Low-E glass, argon act as heat barriers for windows

Our front windows face southwest. We have no shade trees in the front yard, so we are expecting the front rooms to get hot this summer. We also have condensation between the panes.

We plan to replace the glass, but I am getting conflicting advice. Should I get low-E glass and rely on it to block the IR heat waves, or get clear glass and have an IR-reflective film applied? Which will give me the best results?Angie's List member Roger Linville

Bryan Ousley, owner of highly rated New Transitions in St. Charles, Mo., says replacement windows with low-E glass filled with argon gas would be the best and most cost effective solution to this member's problem. He says since the window faces southwest, you have to consider heat gain and loss through the glass.

"Long wave radiation caused by the sun is reflected by low-E glass," Ousley says. He adds that furnaces generate long wave radiation which, in the winter, is reflected into your home for heat.

Ousley says argon acts as an additional barrier to this long wave radiation because it is more dense than oxygen and slows the transfer of heat and cold through your windows. He also says the argon can help quiet exterior sounds from penetrating through your windows.

Ousley also encourages customers to research tax incentives. He says through the end of 2010, you can receive up to a $1,500 tax credit for installing windows that meet certain criteria for energy efficiency.

Do you have a service-related question? E-mail us at mailbag@angieslist.com.


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