In­su­la­tion vi­tal for tack­ling heat loss

Matamata Chronicle - - Winter Warmth -

Alot of your home’s heat can es­cape through your win­dows. One way to min­imise this heat loss is by pro­vid­ing in­su­la­tion for your win­dows.

There are a few main types of win­dow in­su­la­tion in­clud­ing cur­tains, blinds or dou­ble glaz­ing.

Most houses have some form of cur­tains or blinds on the win­dows.

For these to be ef­fec­tive they need to trap a layer of air be­hind them and have enough thick­ness to trap some air in­side them, too.

Blinds are usu­ally very thin and of­ten don’t re­ally seal off the air be­hind them. Gen­er­ally they will pro­vide very limited in­su­la­tion un­less they are specif­i­cally de­signed ther­mal blinds.

To pro­vide good in­su­la­tion cur­tains should be made from thick, ther­mally backed ma­te­rial and prefer­ably be dou­ble lay­ered.

Your cur­tains should be a tight fit against the wall and ei­ther be floor to ceil­ing or have pel­mets on them. Clos­e­fit­ting ther­mal cur­tains that cover the en­tire width of the win­dow, fall to the floor, and have pel­mets that are in­stalled tight against the wall can re­duce the heat loss through sin­gle-glazed win­dows by about 60 per cent.

This ap­plies only with the cur­tains drawn, and cur­tains are there­fore not a sub­sti­tute for dou­ble-glazed win­dows.

For dou­ble glaz­ing, good cur­tains can re­duce heat loss through win­dows by 40-50 per cent.

Hav­ing your cur­tains open dur­ing the day in win­ter and clos­ing them just be­fore it gets dark will help keep rooms warm.

A well de­signed dou­ble-glazed win­dow with a wooden, PVC or ther­mally bro­ken alu­minium frame:

Can halve the heat loss through the win­dow Sig­nif­i­cantly im­proves ther­mal com­fort Re­duces ex­ter­nal noise Re­duces con­den­sa­tion. Some dou­ble-glaz­ing is bet­ter than other dou­ble glaz­ing. For best per­for­mance, look for the fol­low­ing things:

Frames that are ther­mally bro­ken, or made from an in­su­lat­ing ma­te­rial such as U-PVC or wood. These will per­form bet­ter ther­mally than win­dows with stan­dard alu­minium frames. It can re­duce win­dow heat loss by be­tween 20 per cent (ther­mally bro­ken alu­minium frames) and 40 per cent (PVC or wooden frames), com­pared to dou­ble-glaz­ing in stan­dard alu­minium frames.

This al­lows light and heat in, but re­flects es­cap­ing heat back to the in­side. Low-e glass cuts win­dow heat loss by about 20 per cent to 30 per cent, com­pared to dou­bleglaz­ing with­out low-e.

Mul­ti­ple lay­ers of good seals to keep draughts, mois­ture and noise out. The joint be­tween the glaz­ing unit and the frame also needs to be well-sealed.

Spac­ers made of plas­tic or stain­less steel to sep­a­rate the glass panes (in­stead of alu­minium) to re­duce heat loss and con­den­sa­tion at the glass edge.

An in­ert gas fill­ing (such as ar­gon) be­tween the glass lay­ers. This acts as a bet­ter in­su­la­tor than air, re­duc­ing win­dow heat loss by about three to nine per cent, com­pared to dou­ble-glaz­ing with air fill­ing.

Close-fit­ting ther­mal cur­tains will re­duce heat loss through dou­ble-glazed win­dows even fur­ther.

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