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What’s Fenestration? Why Windows, Doors and Skylights Are Key to Energy Savings

What's Fenestration? Why Windows, Doors and Skylights Are Key to Energy SavingsFenestration, a collective term for the doors, windows and skylights that penetrate a building’s exterior, is a key element of your home’s design, providing attractive natural lighting, ventilation and access. With proper design and maintenance, fenestration can enhance your home’s energy efficiency. However, even in our mild climate here in the San Joaquin Valley, bad design, improper installation and neglected maintenance can lead to unnecessary energy losses. 

You can cut your energy bills by investing in replacement windows that are designed for energy efficiency, but there may be less expensive steps you can take to reduce energy losses from your home’s fenestration. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Seal air leaks. Inspect your existing windows, doors and skylights to be sure they are well sealed. Caulking around window frames and door frames, and weatherstripping where moving parts come together, can reduce energy losses by sealing air leaks.
  • Use windows for ventilation. Open and close your windows and skylights on mild days to get fresh air and free heating and cooling. By actively adjusting your windows, you can delay turning on your heating and cooling systems until more extreme temperatures arrive.
  • Use window shades efficiently. Buy tight-fitting insulated window coverings that you can close at night to reduce heat losses. These can be elegant remote-controlled draperies or simple hand-made insulating panels that you install and remove by hand. Keep the shades closed on hot days to block incoming solar energy, and open them to take advantage of solar gain on cold days.
  • Cover window with clear plastic sheets or storm windows. Inexpensive window insulation kits from the hardware store provide a temporary fix for reducing energy loss through old windows. Clear plastic applied with two-sided tape reduces infrared losses and conductive heat losses from the windows, but you will need to reapply the plastic every year. A better alternative is to install low-E storm windows that can be left all year round over your existing windows. These are a less expensive alternative to buying high-efficiency replacement windows.

Please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning for more professional energy-saving tips for your Fresno area home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about energy savings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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