The Problem of Heat Transfer and Aluminum WindowsAluminum is a material with properties that conduct heat, or encourage heat transfer. For example, when you put warm aluminum cans into a cooler filled with ice, the heat inside the cans quickly escapes, cooling the liquid inside. This is because the aluminum material has a very high heat transfer coefficient, thereby quickly and efficiently changing the temperature. While that is great news for your drinks, it is not so great when the same thing happens with the old aluminum windows in your home.
If you have aluminum windows in your home, go up and touch the frame of one of them. If it is a hot day, the frame will feel warm inside, even if the temperature in the house is cool. If your house is warm and it is cool outside, you may even feel a draft because heat is escaping from your home. Undoubtedly your expensive energy bill has already shown you the result of this heat transfer. For more information, see our blog post on Understanding the Thermodynamics of Windows.
Aluminum Windows and CondensationOne of our Southwest Exteriors clients decided to replace their windows in stages, so they currently have one newly replaced window, while most of their windows are still single-pane aluminum. One evening, as occasionally happens in San Antonio, the temperature dropped extremely rapidly outside. This fast temperature change caused condensation to form on the inside of every single window in the house, except for the replacement window. The aluminum windows were cold to the touch, but the replacement window remained room temperature, completely unaffected.
So because single-pane aluminum windows are extremely inefficient, you would certainly benefit from replacing them with better windows. In fact, because of new energy efficiency standards in Texas, single-pane aluminum windows are no longer available to consumers. The newer aluminum windows are all double paned and marketed as having “thermal breaks.” These thermal breaks are a piece of non-conductive material (plastic, for example) that is put in between the layers of aluminum to stop heat transfer. Choosing a high quality window material frame and coupling it with energy efficient double pane glass will transform your energy bill and stop overworking your air conditioner and heater to maintain pleasant temperatures inside. If finances prevent you from doing your whole house at one time, then replacing your aluminum windows in phases is definitely an option. We recommend replacing windows together that are in the same location so that you don’t end up with two very different looking windows right next to each other.Any further questions about replacing your aluminum windows? That’s our specialty, so don’t hesitate to contact us directly.