When you hire a contractor to work on your home, how much do you know about the products they are using? Selecting a company you trust is the best way to get quality products you can trust as well, but becoming familiar with ratings, buzzwords and brand names is helpful too. Just like different insulation types have different R-Values, windows come with many different ratings. The good news is these performance ratings are simpler than they sound, and easy to decode. Ask the Expert: What Do Different Window Ratings Mean?

U-Factor

The U-Factor of a window refers to how well it insulates, and how much heat can transfer through it. Generally, a lower U-Factor (0.25 or less) will mean the window is more energy-efficient.

SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient)

While the U-Factor refers to non-solar heat, the SHGC measures how much heat from the sun is transmitted through a window. In northern climates with long winters, a higher SHGC can be helpful in keeping homes warmer. In southern states like Virginia with hot summer days, a lower SHGC will keep your home cooler and your cooling bills lower when the sun is high.

VLT (Visible Light Transmittance)

If you have a home office, nursery or entertainment room, having control over the light entering a room is important. If you want to keep your home open and bright, but decrease the amount of glare from the sun, ask your contractor about window options with a lower VLT.

AL (Air Leakage)

The air leakage rating is important for keeping your home efficient – cool in the summer and warm in the winter, without increasing your energy costs. Thankfully, building codes will keep your air leakage in check, but look for windows with lower AL values.

Condensation Resistance

Much like air leakage, this rating speaks for itself. The higher the rating, the less likely it is for condensation buildup to occur.

Learn More From Roofing & More

Of course, a good contractor will go over your options with you to help pick the best windows for your local climate, maximizing the efficiency of your home. If you would like assistance with replacement windows, call Roofing & More at [company_number] or submit our online form to schedule a FREE in-home consultation and estimate.