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Austin Roofing: Article About Installing Energy Efficient Windows

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Considering the rising cost of energy, many homeowners are understandably concerned with increasing the efficiency of their homes. Some common ways to accomplish this are by adding or replacing insulation throughout the home, replacing an aging roof and installing a newer, more efficient heating and cooling system. Many people overlook their home's windows, but replacing inefficient models with more efficient versions can add up to serious long term savings. Homeowners seeking to cut down on energy costs should contact an Austin roofing expert for professional assistance with choosing and installing windows for their home.

Of course, the first step for any homeowner is determining whether any windows actually need to be replaced. Windows that have been installed recently may offer adequate efficiency, and they can be further improved by adding storm windows. Caulking and weather stripping can also be used to cut down on air leakage around the perimeter of a window. However, a general rule of thumb is that windows older than 15 years are simply too inefficient and should be replaced. The same applies to windows that have been poorly installed or damaged, or that no longer function properly.

For windows that need to be replaced, there are many options available. A great place to start is with windows that have been Energy Star certified.

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These windows have undergone testing to certify that they meet specific efficiency requirements, and all Energy Star windows carry a label that details important information including the U factor, solar heat gain coefficient, visible transmittance and air leakage.

Because of the frequently hot, sunny climate, the solar heat gain coefficient is the most important consideration for homeowners in central Texas. A lower solar heat gain coefficient means that a window is more effective at blocking heat from the sun, reducing cooling costs. One way in which windows block solar heat is by employing a low emissivity coating, which is a very thin, transparent coating of metal or metallic oxide particles that reflects much of the sun's longwave radiation.

One final consideration when deciding whether to replace windows is the tax credits that may be available. In addition to the financial benefit of long term utility bill savings, windows that meet certain efficiency standards may qualify for various federal tax credits. In some cases, low interest loans and other incentives may also be available to offset the cost of new windows. Though it may be a significant investment, installing new energy efficient windows represents an excellent long term value for homeowners.

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