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Windows can account for 25% of your home's heat loss. Energy-efficient windows can reduce this energy waste by up to 50% and save you significant amounts on your heating bill.

An energy-efficient window can improve the indoor air quality in your home, creating a healthier living environment by reducing excessive condensation that causes mould.

Energy efficient windows reduce chills and drafts while making home quieter by blocking outside noise.

An energy efficient window lasts longer because it helps eliminate excessive condensation that causes rot.

If you are interested in reducing your energy bill and improving the comfort and air quality inside your home, draft-proofing or replacing your windows are a great opportunity.  This is especially true if your home is old, drafty, if you get a chill sitting near the windows, or if the windows have excessive condensation inside them during the winter.

Simple tips:

  • Opening your curtains in the morning lets the sun in and reduces your energy use by taking advantage of passive solar heating.  By simply closing your curtains at night, you can reduce the heat loss from your home and reduce chills from the windows.
  • Test for window and door drafts on a windy day by running a feather, strip of tissue paper or a lit incense stick along the inside edge of your windows and doors to detect air movement.  If your windows or doors are drafty, having an EnerGuide for Houses Evaluation is recommended.
  • When it comes to draft proofing your home, Natural Resource Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency provides detailed instructions on tackling this job yourself, but most people seek professional help.

    Get the right consumer information.

    The Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada provides general information about windows.

    Start by getting an EnerGuide for Houses Evaluation.

    An EnerGuide Evaluation of your home will not only assess the energy savings you could realize by draft-proofing or replacing your windows, but will also help you prioritize other steps you could take to reduce your energy bills.  A pre-renovation EnerGuide evaluation is the first step towards claiming your EnerGuide for Houses grant.

    How to find and choose a window contractor.

    Proper installation and quality products are critical to realizing the benefits of replacing or draft proofing windows.  Here are some good tips on choosing or finding a window contractor

    • First find a reputable contractor by contacting SAWDAC, the national window contractors association or by asking friends and neighbours for recommendations. All SAWDAC members have been in business for a minimum of three years, carry liability insurance, provide a five-year workmanship guarantee and abide by the SAWDAC Code of Ethics.
    • Ask contractors how long they've been in business, what kind of warranty is provided on their work and materials, and if they will obtain all the required permits for their work.
    • Ask contractors if they use Energy Star rated windows.  These windows are certified to ensure quality manufacturing and good energy performance.  If the windows your contractor is proposing are not Energy Star rated, confirm that they are at least CSA A440 rated.
    • Ask contractors for their business license number and check them out at your Better Business Bureau or municipal business license office.
    • Ask contractors for references and contact at least one reference.
    • Get one or more estimates - note: there are widely varying degrees of quality and professionalism; the lowest bid is not always a good investment.
    • Be wary of contractors that offer a reduced-price offer for a cash deal.
    • Get a written contract.

    The Gold Standard for window installations is Window Wise.  Window Wise is a program that incorporates strict quality assurance and was developed by the national window contractors association (SAWDAC).  Window Wise requires that certified contractors install an approved window using approved SAWDAC installation methods.  All installations registered with Window Wise are subject to random inspections to ensure standards compliance.

    Advice for heritage homes.

    Windows are one of the most important aspects of a home's originality.  Careful weather stripping of older, single-pane, wood-frame windows will do much to improve their energy efficiency.  If the original wooden storm windows have been destroyed, it's possible to have custom wood storms made to order.  If the object is to preserve the appearance of the building, avoid metal storms or storm-and-screen combinations.

    If exterior wood storms are not desirable because of the maintenance factor, interior storms offer a good alternative.  These are less noticeable than exterior metal storms, and they can be made to fit on the sash or the window trim.  If the window sash is badly deteriorated, replacement units can be made to fit the existing frame.

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