Understanding Window Labels

Understanding Window Labels

Old, drafty windows can be a real detriment to your home’s energy efficiency, and window replacement is one of the best ways to see long-term energy savings costs. That being said, shopping for windows can be daunting as there are so many options to choose from.

How do you know which windows are right for your home? A great place to start is to compare window labels from each manufacturer. Below we’ll show you how to read them so you can make a more informed decision.

Manufacturer’s Information: This part of the label usually includes a model number plus any features and options the window may have. For example, it may list number of panes, glazing style UV treatment, etc.

NFRC Area: This section of the label usually includes four or five numbers in large/bold type. This data is calculated by the National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC. The NFRC is an independent organization that tests windows, doors and skylights in various performance criteria and certifies the results — like UL, but for windows. The NFRC section of the label lets you compare important characteristics such as:

  • U-Factor: How well a window keeps heat in the home
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: How well the window protects your home unwanted outside heat.
  • Visible Transmittance: How much light the window lets in.
  • Air Leakage: a measurement of how much outside air the window lets in. The lower the number, the less “leakage.”
  • Condensation Rating: Some window labels will contain this measurement of how well the window resists “fogging up.”
  • The Energy Star Area: If the window you are interested in meets certain government standards for your region, it will receive the EnergyStar seal of approval. You can learn more about EnergyStar right here.

If you are uncertain whether or not you need new windows, talk to a trusted HVAC technician who can do a thorough efficiency evaluation of your home.

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