Picking good windows for your home goes beyond just choosing the right aesthetics. Ideally, you’ll want a solid window that will stand the test of time, on top of just being incredibly comfortable to use. However, even more important than that is choosing a set of windows that is appropriate for the weather conditions in your area.
Of course, living in Alberta, you might think you should pretty much just go with the thickest option available, but there are actually several factors to take into account, all of which will impact the choice of window for your climate.
When it comes to glazing, your main two options are double glazing and triple glazing. While double glazing is currently the global standard, many northern European countries, as well as Germany, have triple glazing be the default. And this makes sense – in more moderate climates, double glazing gets the job done and is, in the long run, far more efficient. Colder areas with longer winters, on the other hand, will get to utilize triple glazing to its full potential.
Frames are a deciding factor when it comes to a window’s endurance, but they’re also incredibly important to a window’s insulation. The right material may make the difference between a home that’s perfectly protected from the cold and one that allows in drafts. For best results, consider wood, aluminum, and fiberglass frames.
One thing to look out for when choosing a window for your home is the star rating. It’s important to take into consideration the fact that the requirements set by Energy Stars are not the best, so it’s better to look for a lower U-factor than that recommended by the program.
If you’re looking for a good window in a colder climate, what you have to look out for is the Solar Heat Gains coefficient for the glass. A low coefficient is better for hot climates, but not colder ones. So for Alberta, make sure you go with the higher number.
Spacers are used with glazed windows in order to keep the distance between the window panes. Normally, they are made from aluminum, but if you want really good insulation, you should definitely avoid them. Go for warm-edge spacers if you want to make sure your windows are ready for a colder climate.
The best windows for a colder climate
In the end, choosing the best window for a colder climate comes down to a couple of factors. Pick a triple-glazed window with a low U-factor and high solar gain efficient. Make sure you use warm-edge spacers. Follow these instructions and you’re bound to maximize solar heat gains and minimize heat loss.