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Common Window Terms and Definitions by Cleo Gib

Common Window Terms and Definitions by
Article Posted: 01/24/2016
Article Views: 111
Articles Written: 12921
Word Count: 611
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Common Window Terms and Definitions

Home Improvement

If your house is more than 20 years old, you should consider having your windows replaced. Window technology has changed over the years and new windows are significantly more energy efficient than older windows. Replacing old windows can reduce your monthly energy costs both in the summer and winter. Additionally, you may be able to receive credits on your taxes for new energy-efficient windows, which can help to offset some of the cost of the windows. If you are looking for replacement windows in Hopkins, MN, here are some of the common terms used in the window industry and their meanings.


Windows today are typically double or triple paned. This means that they either have two or three sheets of glass as part of the window. Double pane windows are typically lighter than triple pane windows, however, triple pane windows may be able to better insulate against the weather outside. Triple pane windows also tend to be more expensive than their double pane counterparts.

Double Hung Windows

The most popular type of window in homes today is the double hung window. This simply means that you can move both the top and bottom parts of the window. In a single hung window, only the bottom portion would slide up and down.

U Factor

The U Factor of a window tells you how energy efficient the window is. It is a measure of heat loss through the window. The lower the U factor, the better the window keeps heat from moving through the window. A high quality double pane window may have a U factor as low as 0.3 while a triple pane window may have a U factor as low as 0.15.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

The SHGC is a number used to describe how much of the sun’s heat is transferred through the window. It is a range between 0 and 1. A window with a coefficient number of 0 would not allow any of the sun’s heat to pass through the window. A window with a coefficient number of 1 would allow all of the heat from the sun to pass through into the living area. For most people in Minnesota, a higher SHGC is desirable to assist in heating the house during the cold winter months.

Visible Transmittance

Visible transmittance is a description of how much visible light the window allows to pass through it. Similar to the SHGC, this is a number between 0 and 1. In most cases, a higher number is better because that means more light is able to get through the glass and into the living area. This would allow for less lighting to be needed in your home during the day time.

Air Leakage

Cracks in the window assembly can allow air to pass through the window. This is described as Air Leakage or AL. It is a description of the amount of cubic feet of air that passes through one square foot of the window. As with most other measurements, the lower the number, the better the window will insulate against air flow. For the window to receive an Energy Star rating, it must have an AL number of less than 0.3 cfm/sq. ft.

When you are ready to purchase replacement windows in Hopkins, MN, be sure that you do your research ahead of time. Also, try to find a company that is highly rated and well-reviewed. Many companies will come to your home to show you the windows they offer and explain the benefits of their windows. Using the information above, you can make a more informed decision about the windows you are choosing for your home.

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