Indianapolis contractor: Low-E windows save energy

Indianapolis contractor: Low-E windows save energy

I recently moved to a home where the front windows face southwest. There are no shade trees in the front yard, so I'm expecting the front rooms to get hot this summer. I plan on replacing the window glass but I'm getting conflicting advice.

Should I get low-E glass and rely on it to block infrared heat waves, or get clear glass and have an infrared-reflective film applied? Which will give me the best results? — Angie's List member Roger Linville

It depends on how much you're willing to spend. "I believe the best results would be the low-E coating found inside the glass of new windows," says Nick Widmeyer, owner of  highly rated Mr. Window Inc., an Indianapolis window replacement company.

"A low-E, argon- or krypton-filled new window is going to be very effective at blocking UV rays and heat," he says, adding that a new vinyl-cased window starts at about $400.

If you're shopping for new windows, Widmeyer says look for windows with a U-factor rating, which indicates a window's overall efficiency, of 0.30 or lower. A lower number indicates a more efficient window system. New energy-efficient windows may also qualify for a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent of a certified product's cost up to $1,500, not including labor or installation costs. Visit energystar.gov for more information.

Dave Lemen, owner of highly rated Pro-Tint, an Indianapolis residential solar film installer, says installing window film on a home's existing windows can be a less costly solution.

"If you're getting brand-new windows, it's nice to order them with UV protection, but it always costs a lot more," he says. "With window film, you're looking at a cost between $4 and $6 per square foot, so it's a very cost effective way to go."

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


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