WHAT ARE THERMALLY BROKEN ALUMINUM WINDOWS?

August 29, 2018

Windows are often the biggest sources of energy loss in your home. And it’s not just the glass that’s responsible: the frame for your window could send your hard-earned money right out the door through energy transfer.

In order to have a truly energy-efficient window, you need glass that’s been enhanced to stop energy transfer and a frame that can do the same. Thermally broken aluminum windows offer homeowners a solution that stops energy loss at the window site for good.

The Problem With Aluminum Window Frames

There are many different materials on the market for window frames – wood, vinyl, fiberglass and aluminum all have their benefits and drawbacks.

Aluminum windows are fairly easy to care for and don’t require the kind of maintenance that wood or vinyl does. They don’t expand or contract, and don’t require frequent paint jobs to keep them looking new. They also give homes a clean, modern look, with a sleek frame that holds its color and shape well.

Unfortunately, a standard aluminum window frame won’t do much to stop thermal transfer between your home and the outdoors, even if you’ve chosen energy efficient options like double-paned or argon-filled glass.

Aluminum is a thermal conductor and transfers heat easily – either from the hot outdoors to your cooled interior or from your heated interior to the frigid outside. What that means for the homeowner: a higher energy bill at the end of the month.

Thermally Broken Aluminum Windows: A Solution for Energy Transfer

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There are solutions to stop this energy transfer, though, by thermally “breaking” the frame. By placing energy breaks into the frame itself, heat is prevented from moving through the frame.

The thermal break system consists of insulating materials and gaskets fitted into the frame itself. While the aluminum exterior may still try to transfer heat, the thermal transfer is broken by the insulation.

These breaks are invisible once the window is installed. You’ll only see an attractive aluminum frame that can withstand moisture, peeling and cracking. Aluminum framed windows come in a range of colors that complement the look of any space.

With thermally broken frames, you’ll benefit from the true energy efficiency that you need in a replacement window or new installation. Increased energy efficiency and reduced maintenance aren't the only benefits you'll get from thermally broken aluminum windows.

Thermally Broken Aluminum Windows vs Vinyl

Compared to alternative materials like wood and vinyl, thermally broken aluminum windows have superior durability. Insects like termites and carpenter ants won't be attracted to aluminum framing like they are to wood.

Fluctuating temperatures and severe weather doesn't affect aluminum in the same way it does other materials. Vinyl, for instance, is prone to warping and splitting in extreme temperatures. Wood is susceptible to swelling in wet climates. But in wind-prone regions, building codes require windows resistant to debris impact and water leakage. HGTV reports:

“When a storm blows out windows and doors, the structural integrity of the home is in jeopardy. Building codes now require windows resistant to impact, structural pressure and air and water leakage. The most common window frame material in south Florida is aluminum, one of the strongest structural materials available for windows.”

Placement of Thermally Broken Windows

Deciding on where to place thermally broken windows in your home will depend on what goal you have in mind. There are three main purposes for windows: to allow in natural light, to provide fresh air, and to provide visual access to the outdoors.

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By using thermally broken windows, you'll already be reducing your energy costs. But you can improve on this further by purposefully installing windows on either the north or south sides of your home.

Although there are a lot of factors that come into play with window placement, north-facing windows are typically best for warmer climates since they get less direct sunshine and can help to mitigate energy loss due to higher cooling costs. North light is usually soft and free of glare, making it an ideal source of ambient light.

And south-facing windows are best for cooler climates as they invite warm sunshine in during the winter when the sun is lower on the horizon.

Additionally, larger thermally broken windows can be used on walls where you'd like an expansive view of the outdoors, like the living room or entertainment spaces. Using thermally broken windows in these areas with large expanses can greatly help reduce energy loss, especially if these spaces are situated in locations that receive direct sun or are exposed to cooler winds.

Thermally Broken Windows: Ensuring a Happier Home

The words “broken” and “window” don’t sound like they belong together. But in the case of a thermally broken aluminum frame, it can translate into major savings and a more comfortable home.
Thermally broken aluminum window frames give you the best of both worlds – an attractive, durable and low-maintenance frame that is also the perfect complement to your energy-efficient window glass and home. Make the switch to thermally broken aluminum window frames to get the best solution possible for your home, your comfort and your energy bill.

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