Jan 17, 2013 12:33 PM by Melissa Canone
As Acadiana begins to experience cold, wet winter weather, consumers are looking to winterize their home and save money through better energy efficiency.
The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) advises consumers to balance cost effectiveness with energy efficiency, as more efficient windows, doors and skylights can make a big difference in energy consumption over time.
According to the Energy Information Administration, home heating costs this winter are expected to rise by 10.2 percent in some parts of the country.
Luckily, homeowners can fend off some of the rising energy costs by winterizing their home before the harshest weather takes hold usually in January or February for the Acadiana area.
Remember, with the unpredictability of Mother Nature, it's never too late to winterize your home. Taking the time to do so gives you the peace of mind that you will not only save money, but be energy efficient as well.
BBB and NFRC recommend the following checklist for consumers to consult when preparing their windows and skylights for the cold, winter months ahead:
Mostly importantly, as with any home improvement project, it's crucial to make certain you are dealing with a reputable contractor and reputable materials. The BBB encourages consumers to consult with their home contractor to see that all energy performance materials carry this label. Check out www.bbb.org to find a home contractor you can trust.
Start by looking for products that carry the NFRC Energy Performance Ratings label. The label can help determine how well a product will perform its key functions - helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, keeping out wind, and resisting condensation. By using the information contained on the label, builders and consumers can reliably compare one product with another, and make informed decisions.
If you are looking for a well insulated room, check the window's U-Factor. During the cold winter months, you'll want to make sure your windows are trapping heat. U-Factor ratings generally fall between 0.20 and 1.20. The lower the U-value, the greater a window's resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value.
Is your room sunny and bright? The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rates how much solar radiation is admitted through the window. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window's solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits in the house.
Are you looking for a well lit room or one that's on the dimmer side? Visible Transmittance is an optical property that indicates the amount of visible light transmitted through the window. VT is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The higher the VT, the more light is transmitted.
Make sure your window doesn't give off any unwanted breeziness. Heat loss and gain occur by air leakage through cracks in the window assembly. The lower the AL, the less air will pass through cracks in the window assembly.
Check to see how well your window will resist the formation of condensation. The higher the Condensation Resistance (CR) rating, the better that product is at resisting condensation formation. While this rating cannot predict condensation, it can provide a credible method of comparing the potential of various products for condensation formation. CR is expressed as a number between 1 and 100.
Look for ENERGY STAR® products before making a purchase. ENERGY STAR helps consumers to easily identify products with superior energy performance. Since the energy efficiency performance of windows can vary by climate, ENERGY STAR's performance criteria vary by climate zones, so that you can choose products that are best suited for where you live.
For more information of NFRC's Energy Performance Ratings label, visit www.nfrc.org/label.aspx.
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.