Whether you’re trying to heat your home or cool it down, it’s miserable when you can’t get the room to the right temperature. And one of the biggest factors in temperature control? Your windows!
It’s true that your AC and heating system are the main sources of relief when it’s too hot or too cold. However, windows play a big part in regulating how warm and cool air move within the house. Windows can be used to effectively regulate temperature, but poor quality windows cause more problems than good. Understanding how windows affect room temperature will allow you to be sure you aren’t wasting any time or money in trying to keep your room temperature just right.
How Windows Should Be Used
Good home design should provide windows across from each other, on opposite sides of the room. This layout helps in warm weather months, when windows can be opened across from each other to create a natural draft coming through the room, making the room feel slightly cooler and fresher. In cold months, the windows can be kept closed, but with sunlight allowed to come through the glass to warm the room. In months of extreme heat or extreme cold, the use of heating and air conditioning systems are needed on top of what windows can provide.
Unfortunately, not all homes have the ideal design, nor top-quality windows. Some older homes, in particular, have windows that fail to keep heat in, or the heat out, and become inefficient and expensive. On the coldest or hottest days, poor windows can negate the effectiveness of AC or heater systems.
Other times, your windows might be good windows, but you’re just using them incorrectly. Here are some of the main ways windows can negatively affect the temperature in your home.
Letting Heat In
For some people, this may seem like common sense. But there are many people who try to run their ACs with their windows open. This doesn’t work! Keeping your windows open lets hot air in, and the cool air out. Your AC will be working hard to cool the air, but can never catch up to how much heat is coming in. Instead, close your windows while you run the AC.
But that’s not it! Windows also let in heat in the form of sunlight through the glass. This creates a sort of Greenhouse effect inside the walls of your home. Besides closing your windows, you can go further to keep heat out by using curtains or blinds to block the sunlight, or insulated window coverings that reflect the light away from the window altogether. Doing this will allow your AC to work most efficiently.
Letting Heat Out
On cold days, you want that heat kept in the house. When you open a window on a cold day, the room feels colder because heat is escaping, not because cold air comes in. But even when your windows are closed, heat can be escaping through the seams of poorly sealed windows, and even through the glass itself. There is a whole lot of information about window metrics that you can get into to learn how this happens, or you can take our word for it: cheap and old windows let heat escape. This causes the same problem for your heater that you can have with the AC on hot days: the system can’t keep up. This means less comfort, and more money spent on your energy bill, not to mention diminishing the lifespan of your HVAC system.
So how do you solve this problem?
Well, new and better windows will do the trick. Double-paned windows are much more energy efficient than single-paned. Or, if you can’t get new windows, there are a variety of caulk, adhesive, and insert products for improving the seal around your windows. You can also stick a layer of insulating film across your windows, although it may not be as discreet.
Are your windows working for or against you in regulating the temperature of your home? Are they working the way they’re supposed to? If the answer is “no” to either question, fixing the problem will have a noticeable effect on the comfort level in your home, as well as the money in your wallet. You deserve to be comfortable in your home; make sure your windows are helping instead of hurting.