Pro Installer December 2019 - Issue 81 - Page 28

28 | DECEMBER 2019 Installer Support Read online at WINTER WINDOW PREPARATION As winter approaches, many of us are stocking up on coats and woollen accessories ready for the cold and challenging weather. We make a good job of preparing our wardrobes for the upcoming winter season, but how much consideration do we give our homes? Here, Nick Cowley, managing director of PVCu and composite window and door manufacturer Euramax Solutions, explains how fabricators and installers can prepare their customers to prepare for the winter weather... The extreme weather from the ‘Beast from the East’ that hit the UK in 2018 had severe impacts on many lives. From school and airport closures to traf- fic accidents, the weather hit before people could prepare themselves. It can be difficult to prepare for the weather on a normal day, but winter is inescapa- ble and offers a harsher set of challenges. We rely on our windows and doors for more than just accessibility, security and light — and during winter months, we depend on them more than usual. The windows and doors in our homes play a big part in keeping us warm, how- ever, this is often under- estimated. For this reason, old or low-quality windows and doors can cause incon- veniences in winter and it’s important to evaluate their energy efficiency proper- ties. A double-glazed winter The Energy Saving Trust UK found that up to 20 per cent of a home’s heat loss is caused by inefficient windows and doors. Natu- rally, energy bills rise in the winter due to increased use of central heating. How- ever, ensuring that your windows and doors are highly energy efficient will reduce heat loss, increase the thermal insulation of your home and keep your energy bills low. So, what makes windows and doors energy efficient? Windows can lose heat in a number of ways: directly through the glazing, frame or the spacer bar between the glass and frame. To avoid this, it’s necessary to evaluate these areas when preparing your home. Double glazing consists of two or more panes of glass that are fixed into a sealed frame and is an effective way to reduce the amount of lost heat. Dou- ble glazed windows are also filled with an inert gas such as argon gas, which has a 34 per cent lower thermal conductivity than air. The thermal resistance and extra pane of glass means that double glazing helps to retain internal heat, while reducing ener- gy bills that peak during winter. The benefits of double glazing are not only energy efficiency related. Double glazing can also combat noise pollution, which is beneficial in winter when storms or high winds are likely. Material world While double glazing offers many benefits, it’s equally important to ensure that the frames around the windows and doors are energy efficient. PVCu (polychloride vinyl) is an effective and popular choice for win- dow and door frames. This material does not conduct heat, meaning that warm air is retained inside. It is also low maintenance as PVCu is highly durable and will not be damaged or tar- nished by severe weather conditions. An alternative to PVCu is composite, which has be- come increasingly popular for aesthetic purposes. A composite combines two or more different materials to create one with different properties to its origins, making composites par- ticularly strong. Although composites can have the exterior look and thermal