There is a lot to be gained by purchasing energy efficient windows. They can help keep your temperature regulated air in and prevent outside forces from causing your HVAC system to work harder to keep your home comfortable. In some cases, it may make a lot of sense to replace your existing windows with newer, more energy efficient ones, but that is not always a viable option.
So what can you do instead? There are actually quite a few steps you can take to improve the energy efficiency of the windows you already have. For starters, it is a good idea to make sure that all of your windows also have storm windows in place. Storm windows are not necessarily the best, most insulating things you can buy, but they do provide an important extra barrier against air moving between the indoors and the outdoors.
And not all storm windows are created equal. You can certainly opt for the cheapest kind out there, or you can pay a bit more for a product that actually offers a bit more protection against the elements. You will also have to decide whether you want to go for the type of storm windows that are installed on the outside of your existing windows or on the inside. In general, the indoor windows are the best choice, particularly for windows above the ground floor because they are easy to put in and take out and they provide a better seal against the outdoors.
That is not the only thing you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your existing windows, however. Another important step to take is adding weather-stripping around the windows and caulking any areas where air could come through. Even the smallest cracks can cause large losses of heated air in the winter and cooled air in the summer, so making sure there is a good seal all around should be a top priority.
Another option worth considering is the application of one or more different window treatments. There are high-reflectivity films you can put on your windows that will help bounce the sun’s heat away from your home. You can also opt for more traditional sun blockers like awnings and blinds that will keep the sun from penetrating indoors and heating up your rooms all summer long.