The Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC area is known for having bitterly cold winters. If you hate high heating bills and the uncomfortable drafts that come from your windows, you may be interested in upgrading to the best windows for colder climates. Here are the qualities to look for in replacement windows that are designed to keep the cold out.
What Makes Windows Good for Colder Climates?
It’s wise to choose windows, not just for their good looks and operating style, but for their ability to function well in your climate. Here are the features designed specifically for making windows more efficient in the winter:
Insulating frame material: The conductivity of a window frame affects its energy efficiency. Any material you prefer—from fiberglass or vinyl to wood or aluminum—can be efficient in cold weather as long as it’s constructed correctly.
Multiple panes of glass: Single-pane windows are not effective for insulating homes in cold climates. Double- and triple-pane windows are much more efficient because they slow heat transfer through the glass and reduce energy losses as a result.
Gas in-fill: The efficiency of any double- or triple-pane window increases when you fill the gaps between the glass with argon or krypton. These invisible, inert gases are denser than air, so they slow heat transfer with maximum effectiveness.
Warm-edge spacers: All multi-pane windows require spacers to keep the glass a consistent distance apart. When spacers are made of non-conductive materials, they reduce condensation and help slow heat transfer more effectively.
Low air infiltration rate: When air leaks in around a window frame, it lowers the temperature in the house and raises your heating bills. To minimize this, look for replacement windows with an air infiltration rate of 0.3 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or less.
Low U-factor: The U-factor determines how effective a window is at preventing heat loss. Look for ratings as low as possible (down to 0.14) for the best insulation.
High solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC): This rating ranges from 0 to 1. In colder climates, a higher SHGC is beneficial because it allows the sun to heat your home naturally in the winter. You can counter this effect in the summer by drawing curtains over south- and west-facing windows in the afternoon.
Low-E coating: This feature is beneficial in both hot and cold climates, though its function differs depending on where it’s installed. When added to the outer side of the innermost pane of glass, it conducts heat back into your home, so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.
Storm windows: Installing storm windows in the winter adds an extra pane of glass to improve thermal efficiency. You can remove these in the summer to restore ease of operation.
Whether your priority is to keep your home warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer, Weather Shield gets the job done. This top-selling window brand strikes the perfect balance between summer performance and winter efficiency for better home comfort and lower energy bills all year round.
Install Windows for Colder Climates in DC, MD & VA
Quality Window & Door can help you find the perfect windows for your Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington, DC home. Whether you opt for Weather Shield or another brand, we’re here to help. Our non-proprietary selection of high-end windows gives you access to many of today’s most trusted manufacturers.