When team members from our San Diego replacement window company talk to potential customers about replacement windows, they find that a top concern for most homeowners is the energy efficiency of their windows. They want windows that will help them reduce their energy usage and keep their homes more comfortable in the hot summer months and the cold winter months.
Energy efficiency should definitely be one of your top considerations when you’re choosing replacement windows for your home (along with product quality and durability). But what about UV protection in replacement windows?
Everyone knows that it’s important to consider UV protection when you’re outdoors—it’s why you see every parent slathering their children with sunscreen when they’re outdoors—but most people would be surprised to know that you should also consider providing UV protection while you’re indoors.
According the Skin Cancer Foundation, “While both UVA and UVB rays can harm the skin and lead to skin cancers, UVB is effectively blocked by glass. However, at least 50 percent of UVA radiation can pass through windows.”
UVA rays can do a lot of damage. They can cause your skin to show signs of aging more quickly and can even contribute to the development of skin cancer. They can also lead your upholstered furniture and window coverings to fade and make the fabric to break down more quickly than it should, and they can fade your rugs, carpets, and even the paint on your walls.
One way to keep UVA rays from entering your home is to keep your windows covered at all times. This method is very effective, but keeps homeowners from being able to enjoy natural light on sunny days. A better solution is to purchase replacement windows with UV protection.
Replacement Windows with Low-E Glass
Perhaps you’ve heard of Low-E glass, but didn’t know what the term meant. Low-E is short for low emissivity and refers to windows that have a very thin, metallic coating on the glass that reflects UV rays while still allowing visible light to pass through. Low-E glass helps with energy efficiency, since it helps filter out up to 70% of the heat that would normally be transferred through standard glass, but it also keeps out most of the harmful UV rays from entering your home and doing damage to your home’s furnishings and your skin.
When shopping for replacement windows, you should only consider windows with Low-E glass. Certain replacement window manufacturers offer Low-E glass as an optional upgrade, so make sure you ask about it!
Do You Have to Sacrifice Natural Light to Get UV Protection?
Some people think that blocking out UV rays also means blocking out natural light. They’re probably picturing the window films that people used in the past that made it look like your windows were wearing sunglasses and kept it dark inside, even on the sunniest days. However, the technology of Low-E coatings makes it so that today, you can get replacement windows that keep out most UV rays and let in an abundance of natural light —the best of both worlds! For more natural light in your home, look for replacement windows with a good Visible Transmittance (VT) rating. The higher the VT number, the more light will be let into your home.