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Posts Tagged ‘argon gas’

Fall into Energy Savings!

October 12th, 2010
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The cost of gas and electricity are always on the rise and with what is predicted to be a more ‘traditional’ Canadian winter around the corner, it is important to try and reduce the amout of energy your home wastes. Also, you want to make the most of the free energy from the sun, whenever it is available. New glass technology makes this possible by trapping the solar heat in your home but reducing the amount of radiated heat lost in the winter. You can look up my previous article on Low-E glass for more in-depth information. Even if you have newer windows made of aluminum or vinyl, if they do not have Low-E+Argon glass, you may be missing out on substantial energy gains. Did you know that most newer windows have something called a dry glazing bead/glazing stop which allows the glass units to be serviced or replaced without having to remove the window from the wall or damage the interior of your home? For a fraction of the price of getting new windows, you can replace your glass units and have them properly sealed with silicone, affording you a quick and easy way to significantly improve your comfort and energy efficiency. How do you know if your window has such a feature? Just take one picture of the overall window and one photo of the corner of the window where the glass unit meets the frame and then send it to us at info@primaryseal.com and we will be able to tell you if the glass can be replaced.

If changing your windows is not in your budget, you should still do all you can to prevent heat loss. There are many products available at Home Depot for you to seal up old windows and get them to last through the winter until you can afford to change them next summer. We of course offer financing options that would allow you to get your windows now and pay for them next year with as low as 1.5% interest.

Finally, do not forget your doors. Most doors that I see on existing houses are in very poor shape when it comes to air sealing. You see a builder standard door that most houses have does a good job of insulating from the cold, however, if the weatherstripping or the bottom sweep are damaged or broken, air will stream in – cold air – and negate all the good insulation IN the door as the cold is going AROUND it. Silicone, weatherstripping, caulking and sweeps are all available at Rona, Home Depot, Lowes etc. Do yourself a favor and make sure that the door is sealing well. Also, doors often need their hinges to be adjusted as they have sagged over time. This should be done by a professional, but, in most cases it just involves drilling a couple of screws and it can go a long way toward making the door seal and close properly.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any of your door or window concerns as our highly knowledgeable staff is always looking to help. Better yet, drop by our factory showroom. As always I look forward to your comments and questions.

Doors, Energy Efficiency, Windows , , , , , , , ,

The Magic of Low-E Glass

July 29th, 2009
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If you step in any window dealer or manufacturer showroom, including Primary Seal,  you would hear about high efficiency windows with glass units that have Low-E + Argon. However, if you begin asking about the details of how this technology works, you may hear a variety of explanations followed by pictographic attempts at illustrating how this technology works. In my experience, both salespersons and clients alike use these terms often but understand little about the inner workings of Low-E technology.

So, let us shed some light on this magical Low-E glass.

As usual, something that appears magical either involves a trick or can be eventually described using physics. Since Low-E glass is no trick, we move on to the physics. Now, I will keep the detail to a minimum but try and stick with me for a moment. Low-E stands for low emissivity or emittance. Low Emittance glass radiates or emits low levels of radiant energy. Any object that has been heated either by the sun or another heat source will radiate heat. Radiated heat is also known as long-wave radiation, and, it is this type of radiation that the Low-E glass is designed to repel. Direct sunlight provides a different type of energy known as short-wave radiation which the Low-E glass allows to pass through in a certain proportion depending on the climate for which it was designed. When short-wave radiation hits an object, that object becomes heated and then proceeds to radiate heat in the form of long-wave radiation.

Keeping the above in mind, let’s look at a couple of examples:

The Winter – It is cold outside and hot inside. Your entire home is heated by your furnace and all the objects in your home are radiating heat. Heat hits the pane of Low-E glass as it tries to escape from your home, but only a part of it escapes while a part of it is reflected back into your home. Along with this, during the day, the sun’s radiation will pass through the windows in some amount and heat the objects in your house which then radiate heat … and this becomes a repetitive cycle.

The Summer – It is hot outside and cold inside. Your air conditioner is working overtime to cool off your home but the heat from the outside keeps wanting to come in. As pavement, sidewalks, and the earth itself radiate the heat of the sun, the Low-E glass reflects a significant portion of this radiation back outside. The sun does penetrate the windows somewhat, and it will slightly heat the objects in your home. However, less short-wave solar radiation enters your home when compared with clear glass and the winter heat gains are more important in our climate.

A bonus feature of Low-E glass is that it repels harmful UV radiation which damages furniture, hardwood floors, and carpet.

Low-E glass is described generally by two variables: solar heat gain (SHG in percent) and light transmission. For example, the glass that Weather Seal Windows uses is called ClimaGuard 75/68, meaning it has 75% light transmission and 68% solar heat gain. A high solar heat gain is ideal for our climate as we spend more money on heating and much less on cooling as we have a short summer. To give you a comparison, a hot climate like New Mexico or Arizona would use ClimaGuard 55/27. It is also important to see that windows designed for cooler climates allow more light to pass through, making for a brighter home and an acceptable decrease in lighting when compared to clear glass.

So how is Low-E glass made you ask?

Well that part is mostly due to high-tech manufacturing and sadly not very magical. Low-E glass is made by applying a thin, almost invisible layer of a metallic compound (usually tin or silver) to the surface of the glass. There are two ways to apply this coat. The first is called a “hard” coat and is a process which is performed while the glass sheet is still hot. While this process is very resilient because the metal is virtually fused with the glass – hence, the term “hard” –  it is not as energy efficient as the “soft” coat, a process which is applied after the glass is cooled. The way in which they apply the “soft” coat involves splattering little metallic droplets in a vacuum on a sheet of glass in an electrically charged chamber. The “soft” coat process is very delicate however, and Low-E glass made with this process must be sealed in a glass unit, as the metal particles cannot be exposed to moisture, abrasion, or air. Weather Seal Windows only uses “soft” coat Low-E glass as the energy performance is far superior to the “hard” coat Low-E.

What about the Argon?

The argon gas inside most insulated glass units today is there for two reasons: to increase energy efficiency and protect the Low-E coating from oxidation. Argon gas does increase the energy efficiency of the glass unit by a small percentage, however its main purpose is to protect the Low-E coating. Oxidation or rusting of any metal will occur if air and moisture are present. It is for that reason that an inert (unreactive) gas like argon is pumped into insulated glass units in order to prevent unwanted oxidation.

Low-E glass is becoming an industry standard as more and more companies – including Weather Seal Windows – are certified as part of the Energy Star program. This program tests the energy efficiency of windows to meet certain baseline standards in order that consumers are able to identify a window as highly efficient when it bears the Energy Star logo sticker.

If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you.

Energy Efficiency, Windows , , , , , , , ,


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