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Reduce heat loss through windows

Sunlight filtered through curtains on a timber floor

Illustration showing how heat can be lost from a house through the windows

Windows play a large role in retaining heat in your home. A single pane of glass can lose almost 10 times as much heat as the same area of insulated wall. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to reduce heat loss through your windows.

Size and orientation

The size and orientation of your windows will affect the amount of sunlight entering your home. West, east and north-facing windows tend to be exposed to sunlight, while south-facing windows receive almost no direct sunlight. If you are planning a renovation consider orienting your living areas and windows to the north, and rooms where you spend less time to the south. This will take advantage of the winter sun, keeping these rooms warm, light and bright.

Frames and glazing treatments

The strength of window frames, together with the glazing component, can greatly affect the energy efficiency of windows. The most energy efficient window frames are made from materials that won't transfer heat and cold, such as timber, uPVC or combination frames.

Coverings and shading

Illustration showing the correct way to fit curtains to reduce heat lossAppropriate window protection creates an insulating layer of still air on the inside of the glass. This can be achieved by the addition of thick curtains and a pelmet. A poorly fitted curtain allows heat loss to occur, while a well fitted curtain combined with a pelmet significantly reduces heat loss, so remember to:

  • use closely woven, close fitting internal window coverings such as curtains or blinds
  • ensure a snug fit on both sides of the window and at the top of the curtain to stop warm air from moving down behind the curtain and cooling
  • install pelmets (like a scarf over the top of your curtain rod) or solid barriers above the curtain rail, or position the curtain within the window space
  • use curtain tracks that provide a return of curtain to the wall to create a seal
  • close curtains or blinds when you have the heating on, especially at night.

Draught-proofing

Up to 25% of winter heat loss from existing houses is caused by air leakage (also known as draughts). Seal gaps around doors and windows to draught-proof your home and save energy and money.

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