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Low-e plus film prevent window heat buildup best

I have no shade trees in the front yard, so I'm expecting my front rooms to get hot this summer. I plan to replace the windows but am getting conflicting advice. Should I get low-e or clear glass with infrared-reflective film to reduce heat? — Angie's List member Roger Linville

There are several grades of low-emissivity glass options available, according to George Minello, president of highly rated Northcoast Energy Masters in Bedford, Ohio, which also services Cleveland.

"The best for energy savings is LoE3, which has heat reflective qualities," Minello says. "LoE3 glass is the best choice when installing new windows. Film is best for existing windows, but it has a shorter warranty and can be damaged by improper cleaning."

The perfect window system is a combo of starters, says John Hansen, president of highly rated Suntrol Company in Cleveland.

"Install the best low-e glass available and then an application of high performance window film, topped off with blinds or a window treatment to maximize overall performance," Hansen says. "Most homeowners usually choose the clear low-e glass, which is primarily used here in the north during harsh winters."

Hansen recommends Stanek Windows' heat mirror made by Southwall Technologies, which uses low-e glass, specific performance coating and high performance film suspended in the glass. However, it's very pricey.

For inexpensive additional shade, Minello suggests planting a tree outside of the windows.


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