Low-E, argon gas window keeps harsh weather out
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 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
Tom Cain, owner of highly rated Glass Doctor of Houston, says he would recommend an insulated glass unit with low-E glass and argon gas between the panes.
He says the low-E glass stops the sun's ultraviolet rays from fading your carpet and furniture. The argon gas is heavier than air, so it stops cold air on the outside pane of glass from transferring to the inside.
Cain also adds that reducing cold air transfer helps you save energy and lower your bills.
Cain says adding tinted film to a clear glass window is a lower-cost alternative, because it blocks the sun, but does not stop the heat. Since the film doesn't stop the heat from escaping, you don't get the energy savings and your home is colder in winter, he says.
Another advantage to low-E glass is that it's clearer than the reflective film.
Be sure and consult a professional before retrofitting windows, and look for the energy-efficient tax credit labels. Cain also says that many energy-efficient insulated glass units may qualify for federal income tax credits.
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