The Best Window U-Factor for Your California Home’s Energy Efficiency

california window u factorWhen it comes to making sure that none of the conditioned air that is being produced by your HVAC system is escaping through your windows, you probably know by now that having energy-efficient windows is what matters the most. You probably also know that the right windows, combined with the right insulation, can drastically lower your utility bills by keeping conditioned air inside your home while simultaneously preventing your air conditioner or furnace from having to work too hard.

Chances are that you may also know that there are, in fact, an ample number of financing programs right here in the Sacramento area (and throughout all of Northern California) that aim to help homeowners just like you invest in these energy-efficient types of windows. What you may not realize, though, is the big role that California U-Factor ratings play in all of this. That’s actually what we’re here to talk about today: the best window U-factor for your California home.

We’ll draw from my expert window installation contractor expertise to help you gain a better understanding of what a U-Factor is, what a good U-Factor rating for energy-efficient windows in California would be, and which programs you can use to invest in top-rated windows. This is need-to-know info for responsible homeowners, and I am absolutely thrilled to be able to share it with you here today.

What Does the U-Factor Rating on Your California Home’s Windows Mean?

I think before we can really get into the question of what is the best window U-Factor for your California home, it’s important to make sure that everyone knows what a U-Factor is, especially because while it’s a part of my job every day, for the vast majority of normal folks it’s a totally foreign concept. While you may have seen it on window performance stickers, that doesn’t mean you’ve given it much thought or stopped to figure it out. And, hey, I don’t blame them.

In the most basic terms, a U-Factor is the measurement of a window’s energy efficiency. In more specific terms, that means that it’s the measurement used to indicate the amount of heat transfer a particular type of window allows. Essentially, the U-Factor lets you know what a window’s insulating power is.

…what can get a little confusing about U-Factors is that the lower the U-Factor, the better the insulation.

recommended california window u factorIn general, U-Factors range from .25 to 1.25. I should note, though, that a U-Factor can be even lower for windows designed for cold climates, down to about .17. You see, what can get a little confusing about U-Factors is that the lower the U-Factor, the better the insulation. I like to think of U-Factors in terms of heat transfer—the lower the number, the less heat transferred across the pane. In the summer, less heat will make its way into your home; in winter, less heat will leak out.

You can find more info about what a U-Factor is here.

The Best Window U-Factor Rating for Your California Home

As we mentioned briefly above, the ideal U-Factor rating for your home’s windows can be influenced by the climate where you live. When you think of California, you think of sun, sun, and more sun—and in much of the state that’s true. Here in Northern California, we have our famous hot and dry summers, but our winters tend to be cold and rainy. The good news is, though, it never gets so cold that we have to take into account freezing temperatures.

…the ideal U-Factor rating for your home’s windows can be influenced by the climate where you live.

A glimpse at a 2013 report from the California Energy Commission is a great resource when it comes to understanding what the foremost experts in energy efficiency recommend throughout the state. The report notes that, as a baseline, the maximum U-Factor recommended for all climate zones is 0.40. Past that, there are several specific recommendations for various climate zones.

The report notes that, as a baseline, the maximum U-Factor recommended for all climate zones is 0.40.

It’s all a bit complex, to be honest, which is why I suggest working with a trained and experienced window contractor local to Northern California to get more clarity on what the best U-Factor is when it comes to picking out a new set of energy-efficient windows for you and your Sacramento area home.

How to Benefit from Window Financing Options By Choosing the Right U-Factor

Speaking of working with an experienced window contractor to get clarity in a tricky area, I also suggest doing that when it comes to selecting one of the many energy efficiency home upgrade financing programs that are available to residents of our area. As we’ve discussed before, there are also great California energy rebates for windows, and you really don’t want to leave any of it on the table, so to speak.

These programs include CalFIRST Financing, PACE, SMUD’s Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program, the HERO Financing Program, and the Ygrene Energy Fund. They all have different ins and outs to them, although the end result is making it possible for the average homeowner to be able to afford to make energy efficiency upgrades to their home—right now. An experienced contractor is vital when it comes to parsing them for all the info you need.

So there you have it, a much better understanding of the best window U-Factor for your California home. It’s true, we have somewhat of a unique climate here in California, so there’s no shame in having to call an expert window contractor for help.

I know that, here at Bell Brothers, we would love to help you pick out new energy-efficient windows with the ideal U-Factor for your home. We’d also be happy to help you navigate one of Northern California’s many energy-efficient home upgrade financing programs, and, ultimately, to help you make sure the work is done well. So give us a call today!

At Bell Brothers, our trained window professionals would be delighted to help you find the best window U-Factor for your California home. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Wondering how to finance new windows—or even a furnace or plumbing upgrade? SMUD is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy-efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a SMUD-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local window, HVAC, and plumbing specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.

Image courtesy elenathewise