Living in a cold climate region doesn’t mean that your home has to be cold too. Your house loses a significant percentage of heat through inefficient windows. Choosing the right type of windows can allow you to minimize the amount of cold or heat that enters and leaves your living spaces.
If you seek to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures and keep your utility costs down, you may be wondering about aluminum windows. This article explores the thermal efficiency of aluminum windows to determine whether they are an ideal option for cold weather.
Traditionally, many homeowners didn’t consider aluminum windows to be particularly energy efficient. The reason was that old aluminum windows expanded and contracted due to temperature fluctuations.
As such, the window seals would get damaged making them separate from the glass. Condensation would also occur reducing the window’s overall energy efficiency. The good news is that modern aluminum windows from reputable manufacturers have features that eliminate this age-old problem.
Today, high-quality aluminum windows are highly energy efficient due to various design features and technology. For instance, manufacturers incorporate plastic thermal break barriers between the outer and inner window frames. Since plastic conducts less heat than aluminum, the barriers interrupt heat flow preventing it from escaping. This minimizes heat loss in your home significantly, on top of reducing your carbon footprint.
Manufacturers also fabricate the frames with high performance metal that meets energy-efficiency standards. Modern aluminum windows can provide better thermal performance than alternatives such as wood. Overall, aluminum windows paired with the right type of glass can enhance your home’s insulation qualities and save you a lot in energy bills.
Aluminum as a window frame material is also highly resistant and durable. This makes it ideal for windows exposed to very cold climates and harsh environmental elements such as snow or hail. You therefore benefit from minimal maintenance and one of the longest window lifespans. Not only will you make savings in utility bills, but also in terms of return on investment long-term.
One of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of aluminum windows is through double or triple glazing. Glazed windows utilize two or more glass panes within a single sealed unit, depending on the style of the aluminum window.
Glazing helps reduce the amount of heat lost through the window. It also reduces air leakage through the window. The air gap between the panes reduces the amount of cold air that can enter your home. It achieves this by acting as a completely sealed insulator.
Glazed windows are made from low emissivity glass. This type of glass features a special coating on the inner surface of the panes that reflects heat back into your home while allowing light to pass. The coating is a thin metallic oxide or metal layer deposited on the surface of the glass panes. Manufacturers can apply low emissivity coatings during production, but they are also available for DIY projects.
Manufacturers also fill the spaces between glazed glass panes with a low conductivity gas such as xenon or argon, to reduce heat loss further. This extra layer of insulation reduces the heat escaping from your home during cold weather. These types of windows cost slightly more than normal windows, but you’ll recover the cost and more in energy bill savings.
Glazed units also feature a polymer or metal strip between the windowpanes, known as a spacer. The spacer offers leeway for expansion and contraction as well as pressure differences. It also has a drying agent that prevents moisture from getting trapped between the panes. Moisture from condensation often damages window frames reducing your window’s overall thermal efficiency.
Note that there are different types of spacers, each with different thermal efficiency ratings. When possible, go for windows with “warm edge” spacers, which are designed to reduce condensation and heat loss at the edge of the pane. The majority of heat loss through a window occurs at the edges.
Non-metallic spacers are more effective at reducing heat loss compared to metallic ones. Since they are flexible, they can expand and contract with the rest of the window. This helps protect the window seal from cracks and condensation.
You can also install weather seals around the window frame. Cracks and small gaps around the frame are common heat loss regions. High-quality compression seals can prevent cool and warm air from entering and escaping through these spaces.
The functional design or how an aluminum window operates is an important consideration for preventing heat loss in cold weather. All operable windows experience some unwanted air leakage, which can reduce your home’s energy efficiency.
As such, the type of aluminum window can affect overall energy use. The ideal types of windows for cold weather include casement, awning, and hopper types:
● Casement windows – Aluminum casement windows are the best option when it comes to thermal efficiency. These windows attach to the frame by hinges located at the sides and you operate them using a crank. You can use casement windows singly or in a pair within one frame.
A casement stay holds the windows open. Casement windows experience minimal air leakages since the sash presses against the frame when closed. The window locks in multiple places creating a tight seal that prevents air leakages.
● Awning – These windows open outward and have a hinge at the top. They have low air leakage rates because the window sash presses tightly against the frame when closed.
● Hopper – These windows open inward and have a hinge at the bottom. Just like casement and awning windows, the window sash presses flush against the frame preventing air from escaping.
All in all, selecting top-of-the-line aluminum windows is a great choice for cold weather. They offer great thermal performance in addition to other benefits such as durability, aesthetics, long-term cost efficiency, and eco-friendliness. It’s important to source only the best-quality products from a trusted manufacturer.
JMA Aluminium is an industry leader and one of the most respected manufacturers of aluminum and heat insulation windows. For over three decades, we have been the go-to international vendor for best-in-class aluminum windows, doors, and building profiles.
Shishan Production Base
Nonferrous Metal Industrial Park, Xiaotang, Shishan Town, Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province
Gaobian production base
Gaobian Zhangbian Industrial Zone, Dali Guangyun Road, Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province