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Window Insulation Can Keep Your Home Warmer This Winter

December 21, 2018

In a typical residential home, window insulation can make a big difference in keeping your home warmer throughout the winter. Window insulation can take on various forms, but the bottom line is to stop air leakage. That means preventing winter heat from escaping and preventing summer heat from intruding. Clearly, a complete window replacement is costly, but with a good window retrofit solution you can do wonders from season to season. A professional window retrofit can provide your home with thermal insulation, reduced indoor condensation, and general improvement in home comfort.

What is window insulation and how does it work?

Whatever approach you employ to insulate your windows, the idea is to keep your house comfortably warm, particularly during the cold winter. When windows are poorly insulated, your home’s “thermal envelope” is compromised – undesirable cold air and warm air enters your home without any limit.

When it comes to home insulation, our focus generally shifts to the attic and walls. However, in some homes, the windows can be a primary problem area. Adding window insulation is a cost effective (yet inexpensive) solution that can significantly improve your indoor comfort while reducing monthly energy bills.

In general, every window (including some newer models) can benefit from added insulation. You might think that retrofits to very poor window systems will only make a marginal difference. However, with an expert approach to window retrofitting, it’s possible to create noticeable change and reduce energy costs.

Ideally, window retrofitting should be undertaken before the cold weather arrives. With the right air leakage tests, it’s easy to determine which windows are leaking (and at what rate). This is when a home energy professional can recommend a cost effective approach with the best long-term results.

Signs that your home has poor window insulation

In general, a home that is older than 15 years (with original windows) is likely due for an upgrade. Certainly, damaged or run-down windows will affect both home comfort and energy efficiency. The signs of poorly performing windows will be obvious, and will set the stage for future improvements.

  • Higher Energy Bills

In winter, poorly performing windows are cold to the touch, allowing cold outdoor air to seep through. This is simply a waste of energy as your heating system (and cooling system) tries to over-compensate.

  • Leaking Windows

Whether its age, damage, or decay, leaky windows will allow cold winter air (and warm summer air) to seep into the house. Beyond the poor energy efficiency, the home is uncomfortable season to season.

  • Sound Proofing

It’s not the worst thing in the world, but poor quality windows allow sound to be transferred from the outside to the inside. This is more of a home comfort situation, although easy to provide a remedy.

  • Condensation

If you see fogginess or condensation on your windows, it’s a sign that window performance has been compromised. In order to prevent more damage (mold and deterioration) a good remedy is required.

Various types of window insulation to choose from

Depending on the size of your home, there are several options for draft proofing and air sealing your windows. This is where hiring a professional is most valuable. A home energy expert can provide viable recommendations on which retrofitting option will deliver the best return-on-investment.

  • Air Sealing and Draft Proofing

Effective air sealing around windows and doors will keep heated air inside during winter and keep cool air inside during summer. Beyond the window system, it’s important to fully seal all types of gaps, cracks, and crevices. It’s all done to prevent undesirable air infiltration while enhancing home comfort.

  • Installation of 3M Window Film

3M Window Films are specifically designed to reduce excess heat from entering the home through the windows. The result:  increased comfort – reduced energy consumption – blocked UV rays from the sun. The annual cost savings on seasonal utilities will easily offset the cost of window film installation.

  • Magnetite Window Retrofitting

Magnetite window retrofits are the ideal alternative to complete window replacement. Customized for every window system, Magnetite can be installed on any size window and in any location. Magnetite systems are warrantied for 10 years, with the same benefits as new windows, but without the cost.

Insulating your windows with Magnetite Window Retrofits

In a residential home, exterior windows are one of the biggest sources of energy loss. This is simply a waste of winter heating and summer air conditioning. With Magnetite Window Retrofits, your existing windows are provided with a “double-glazing” solution that dramatically improves energy efficiency.

Magnetite retrofits also reduce noise pollution by providing sound dampening qualities. The system essentially seals a window by creating an “insulated air cavity” where both air and noise are blocked. Magnetite window retrofits provide near-zero air and sound infiltration (and are CSA® tested).

With Magnetite, windows are better insulated and offer better energy efficiency. With less energy wasted, there is less demand on your HVAC system (heating and cooling) and therefore lower utility costs. Magnetite windows are industry approved by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Far less expensive than complete window replacement, Magnetite retrofits provide excellent return-on-investment. After installation, homeowners realize energy savings, reduced noise pollution, and improved indoor comfort. There’s no aesthetic change to your original, existing window system.

Magnetite Window Retrofits will keep your home warmer

In most older homes, the window systems provide an adequate level of energy efficiency and no more. In our northern climate, that level of energy efficiency translates into inefficient winter heating, and that means wasted energy and higher-than-usual heating bills. The big question is what to do about it.

With Magnetite Window Retrofits you can block air leakage, improve thermal insulation, and minimize noise pollution. The results are noticeable results, the utility savings are measurable, and your home will be warmer and more comfortable. You are essentially creating a “double-glazed” window system.

How do Magnetite Window Retrofits work?

Magnetite windows use a patented framing system, with custom window panels that are magnetically locked into place on top of existing windows. The retrofit creates an effective air cavity that provides much-enhanced thermal insulation. Magnetite window systems are tested and verified by CSA™.

Magnetite retrofits are backed by a 10-year warranty. The window panels are magnetically locked into place, fitting tightly and firmly into each existing window. The panels are customized to fit any size, style, or shape of window (especially in older homes where window sizes and shapes are unique).

Several rebates available for upgrading energy efficiency

If you’re committed to improving home energy efficiency this winter, you can take advantage of several rebates available from various service providers. Rebates are designed to offset the cost of upgrades.

Union Gas offers a Home Reno Rebate for upgrades related to air sealing your home. You must reach specific targets for air sealing and the work must be done professionally. Beyond the benefits derived from effective air sealing, the rebate amount will help to offset the cost of having the work done.

Enbridge Gas offers their Home Energy Conservation Program, with incentives for upgrading home energy efficiency (you must make two upgrades). Part of the program offers cash back specifically for air sealing – one rebate for attaining above a base target – one rebate for attaining a base target.

The City of Toronto offers a Home Energy Loan Program that helps to finance various home energy upgrades. Depending on the scope of work, homeowners can affordably finance their home energy upgrade when the upfront costs are prohibitive. The loan is paid off over a fixed period of time.

Ontario has an AffordAbility Fund for electricity customers who qualify under specific income levels. In fact, certain Ontarians can qualify for completely free upgrades. The program includes a home visit from a registered Home Energy Advisor who will provide a home energy plan along with upgrades.

Home energy solutions from Great Northern Insulation

When it comes to home energy solutions, the professionals at Great Northern Insulation have the answers. We do it all - from window insulation, to weatherizing, to complete window retrofits. Our team of home energy experts will recommend the upgrades and improvements that best suit your needs, and provide long-term performance and cost savings.

If you’re experiencing drafty rooms, variable temperatures, and high heating bills, it’s time to make some upgrades. It’s best to start with a home energy assessment (you can do a preliminary test online with MyEnergyXpert). We will quickly identify areas of your home that are less than energy efficient, and pinpoint areas where energy is being unnecessarily wasted.

At Great Northern Insulation, we can also direct you to valuable incentive programs, where rebates are available for making home energy upgrades. We'll create a customized report that illustrates the home energy upgrades and retrofits that will make the most sense for your home. Find out more by calling us at 1-800-265-1914 or visiting our website at www.gni.ca.

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