Winter is here and the cold weather has definitely arrived.
At this time of year most people instinctively want to ‘nest’ – snuggle up and forget about the dark evenings and the gales that are howling outside.
In recent years much has been made of “hygge” – the Danish art of a cosy wellbeing. But, if the structure of your home is cold and draughty, then a few candles and fluffy blankets aren’t going to give you the warmth and security you need at this time of year.
Your choice of doors and windows, and how well they are fitted, are important factors in keeping your home warm over the winter without excessive heating bills.
There are many different factors to take into account when updating and replacing your doors and windows. Get them right and you will optimise your warmth, comfort, security and savings.
You may be familiar with energy efficiency rating tables like this:
As well as applying to domestic appliances and your home as a whole, these ratings are also used to categorise the energy efficiency of doors and windows, from an A+ (or A++) rating down to G.
The energy efficiency rating will reflect the whole structure, including the glass (unless it’s an unglazed door), any coatings on the glass and the frame.
You might also come across a u-value or u-factor. This is a measurement of a material’s insulating properties. A high u-value indicates that the material is a poor insulator (therefore will allow more heat out of your home). A lower u-value means that less heat can pass through the material. The u-values range from 0 to 2.00.
It’s possible for a window or door to have a high u-value (ie be a relatively poor insulator) but still have a good energy efficiency rating. This could, for example, be because the windows are coated with a substance that reflects heat back into your home.
For windows and glazed doors, the choice of glazing can make a big difference to the warmth of your home.
Double glazed windows have two panes of glass, usually around 16mm apart. These create an insulated barrier between your home and the weather outside. In the case of triple glazing there are three sheets of separated glass.
This type of glazing has an invisible “low-e” coating which allows light and heat to come into the house from outside but reduces the amount of heat that can move out of the house.
You might think that it’s just air between the panes of your window, but usually it will be an inert gas such as argon, xenon or krypton. These are denser than air and therefore improve the insulation efficiency of the glazing.
When argon filled units combine with low e-glass this can be twice as energy efficient as older windows.
Pane spacers are fitted against the frame of your window between the two (or three) panes of glass and are used to keep the panes separate. The best type for energy efficiency are “warm edge” spacers which contain little or no metal.
As standard, we use Planitherm Total + energy efficient glass in our windows. This low-e glass has sealed units filled with argon gas and warm edge pane spacers. This gives you everything your window needs for warmth and security this winter.
As well as having structurally well-made doors and windows, you need to ensure that any openings are properly sealed to minimise draughts and water ingress. There are a few things to consider…
This is the type of seal to use where two surfaces are pressed together. Often these are made of rubber and, as the surfaces compress the seal, it should form an air- and water-tight barrier.
Where there aren’t two surfaces pressing together, for example at the bottom of a door, a brush seal will keep out draughts without impinging upon the ease of opening the door. The more rows of brushes the seal has, the more effective it will be.
Double rebate doors are built to maximise weather resistance. They form a double seal, instead of a normal single seal, making them highly energy efficient.
If not fitted well, even the best quality door or window can let you down. The frame and door or window should both be professionally fitted to ensure a tight fit. There’s no point having a well-insulated door or window within a poorly insulated frame.
As well as keeping your home warm for less over the winter months, there are other reasons to choose energy efficient doors and windows.
While blocking out the cold they will also keep out the noise, which is particularly important if you live by a busy road or airport.
In addition, a structurally strong and well-fitted window or door will give you security benefits too.
If you’re worried about feeling the cold this winter then give us a call on 01444 45 71 45 or pop into our Haywards Heath showroom to find out how we can help you create a truly Hygge-worthy home this winter (candles and fluffy blankets optional!).