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Reading Energy Labels on Replacement Windows

If you have started shopping around for replacement windows in Phoenix, AZ, something you might have noticed are the energy labels. Each window has its own product rating so consumers can compare energy performance. Unfortunately few people really understand what each rating means and which products are right for their home. To help you out here is a breakdown of each rating on the energy labels and which products are best suited to the warmer climate of Phoenix, AZ.

First thing, the energy labels provided by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) are not the same thing as an Energy Star label. The blue Energy Star sticker simply means the product meets the lowest acceptable standard of efficiency. The NFRC energy label, on the other hand, will tell you exactly the kind of performance you can expect from these products. The most important ratings for efficiency are the U-factor and the SHGC. The VT, AL, and CR ratings are perhaps not as important, but will still be useful in helping you choose the right products for your home.

1. U-Factor

This measures insulation against non-solar heat gain. It is the inverse of the R-value used to measure heat blocking properties of other construction materials like doors and insulation. U-factor ratings range from 1.20 to 0.20. The lower ratings mean the product is a better insulator.

2. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

As the name indicates, this rating measures how well the windows prevent solar heat from entering the home. The ratings range from 1 to 0, and lower numbers indicate better insulation. This is an important measurement for hot climates with a lot of sunshine. To help reduce cooling costs windows should have a rating of 0.25 or less.

3. Air Leakage (AL)

No window is completely airtight, so this rating represents the amount of air lost or gained through the cracks in the assembly. Measurements fall between 0.1 and 0.3 cubic feet per square foot. And windows with lower ratings have tighter seals and fewer leaks.

4. Visible Transmittance (VT)

These measurements were important in the past because more visible light often also meant more heat gains. But that isn’t the case now. Special coatings allow plenty of natural light to filter through while stopping radiant heat and UV rays. But the VT rating is still valuable for you to compare products for natural light. Ratings range from 0.3 to 0.7 and higher numbers mean more light.

5. Condensation Resistance

This rating is not required on all energy labels, but it can still show you valuable information. This rating measures how well a window assembly resists condensation forming on interior surfaces with numbers ranging from 0 to 100. In this case, higher ratings are better.

If you still have questions about energy labels on replacement windows in Phoenix, AZ contact the experts at Freelite Inc. We can help walk you through different products and help find the right solutions for your home. To set up an appointment call (602) 233-1981. Or to compare products stop by 331 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85003.