First: don’t shiver in the drafts

           Quick! What’s one of the best ways to be warm and cozy all winter?

Ask Mark Wardrop of Ottawa Windows and Doors this question. He won’t hesitate for a second.

You start with windows, he says. You get the best you possibly can.

Let’s say you’ve chosen vinyl windows. Be sure they have highest-quality frames with several hollow “chambers”. If you look at a cross-section of a vinyl frame, it will look like a honeycomb structure. The more chambers, the more efficient the frame (and therefore entire window) will be at keeping out cold.

Another thing to consider is the width of the air space between two pieces of thermal glass. The wider the space, explains Mark, the better. The spaces are filled with safe, inert, non-toxic argon gas, which dramatically slows any heat loss. Most people, says Mark, choose two-piece, or double-glaze windows. Although triple-glaze is available, he feels it isn’t as cost-effective.

An excellent window will have several layers of a low-emissivity silver oxide coating on the inside of the glass panes. The coating will reflect heat, keeping your house warm in winter and cool in summer.

Maintenance is important. Mark says windows should always have fresh caulking, because it dries out over time. And the wood portions on the outside have to be looked after, too. Mark suggests taking a screwdriver and poking at the wood to see how soft it is. He says the wood portions need to be painted every two years or you’ll have to replace your windows sooner.

Poor windows are a major contributor to heat loss, he says.

Superb windows, on the other hand, can make those cold winter nights beautiful.