Installation manager says low-E glass is best option

Installation manager says low-E glass is best option

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 plan to replace the glass, but I am getting conflicting advice. Should I get low-E glass and rely on it to block the infrared 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

Calvin Winans, installation manager of highly rated Window World & Siding, says choosing glass with low-E coating is the better option because it reflects heat before it gets inside the window. He says reflective film is applied to the inside of the window, which still allows heat to get in between the window panes.

Judy McKnight, spokesperson for highly rated Mr. Rogers Windows, says glass that contains a soft low-E coating and a gas fill are essential in a southwest facing window.

"IR film is not an adequate solution because although it may claim to reject infrared energy up to 98 percent, homeowners are misled to believe that this means solar heat rejection," McKnight says.

She also suggests replacing the entire window rather than just the glass.

"Replacement of the entire window will earn a homeowner rebates and energy incentives that are likely to make complete window replacement the more cost efficient solution," McKnight says.

Bob Blanton, president of highly rated All Seasons Window & Door in Charlotte, N.C., says you should allow a reflective film professional to assess the situation and apply the appropriate film to see if that solves the problem.

"Low-E glass may not help and you could end up needing to apply the film anyway," Blanton says.

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