Whether the thermometer is showing 3 degrees or 38 degrees, your home should remain comfortable and at a constant temperature. Houses are meant to be a shelter from the elements, among other things, and windows and doors can frequently be the weak link. They may be old, single pane, improperly installed or just worn due to age. Nevertheless, the heat loss will cost you both in comfort and energy bills. Thermal windows offer special glazing to improve energy efficiency and ensure a continuously stable interior temperature. 

How Do Thermal Windows Work? 

Thermal windows are manufactured with a combination of technical features aimed at lowering its Uw-value. This measures the overall thermal transfer from one side of the window to the other and includes both the glass and frame. Design features include:

  • Multiple panes of glass (double or triple glazing)
  • Special coatings on the glass (e.g. low-e)
  • Gas filled air gaps
  • Warm edge spacers
  • Frames with multiple internal chambers
  • Centre sealing systems
  • Reducing or eliminating thermal bridges

Replacing old single and double pane windows with modern insulating glass can significantly cut heat loss as well as prevent cold spots around windows. This leads to more consistent room temperatures and can make heaters and vents nearby unnecessary.

Advances in modern manufacturing, machinery and building standards mean today's thermal windows and doors can regularly reach U-values 1.0 W/m2K. Reducing the transfer of energy from one side to the other applies not just to heat but cold air too. Modern windows, both for new buildings or renovations begin with two or three panes of glass, separated by an air gap. This is similar to wearing several layers of clothing or the design of a thermos to keep beverages warm.

Energy transfer is further prevented by filling these gaps with a noble gas such as argon or krypton, both of which are significantly less conductive than air. Along the edges, a warm edge spacer separates the panes from each other and is also made of a non-conductive material to stop thermal bridging. Special coatings on the glass for solar control can be selected to either reflect heat back inside or outside based on your local climate. 

Energy Loss in Windows Explained

Windows and doors can lose heat in a number of ways, starting with the area between the frame and the wall. Professional installation is critical to ensure the frame is installed properly and sealed against air infiltration. The best window in the world cannot make up for poor installation and gaps with the masonry that allow air and noise in.

Next, poor seals can allow cold air in and warm air out. Opening mechanisms like hung sash windows constantly rub against the seals, wearing them down over time. Additionally, older windows typically feature fewer seals than today. 

Finally, the frame and glazing can lose heat via conduction. This is a major problem with single glazed windows and leads to constant energy loss. This leads to more frequently having to heat or cool your home, which leads to higher bills. In short, heat loss comes from:

  1. Air leakage between the frame and wall
  2. Air infiltration from worn seals
  3. Conduction via the frame and glazing

New windows radically improve insulation in all these areas lowering the overall Uw-value and your monthly bills as well.

Frame Materials

Neuffer offers new and replacement windows in uPVC and timber as both standalone materials, or with aluminium cladding. Timber is a natural insulator and can offer excellent insulation values thanks to the range of modern features integrated into the frame and casement. UPVC windows on the other hand, can be customised both inside and out. Modern profiles are now designed with a series of internal chambers that act as additional layers of insulation and improve the frame's thermal performance (Uf-value).

Aluminium cladding is an excellent option that will boost the weather resistance, service life, appearance and even insulation values of any window. Although itself a great conductor of energy, the frames are thermally broken meaning the metal does not directly contact the frame. This prevents energy transfer and thus the cladding serves as an additional layer of insulation. 

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