There are many reasons people consider replacement windows. From hurricane protection to aesthetics to energy efficiency, the benefits of investing in updated windows for your home are significant. One advantage to consider when selecting replacement windows—which might not typically be top-of-mind —is ultraviolet ray protection. In Florida especially, we seek out UV protection in products we apply to our skin, in the lenses for our sunglasses and even our outdoor furniture to prevent fading. Why is UV protection also an important component of windows in your home? Here’s a quick overview.
A Refresher on UV Rays
The terms “ultraviolet” or “UV” rays most often refer to the invisible rays produced by the sun. UV rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum and range in wavelengths from 400nm to 100nm. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays have higher wavelengths and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays have shorter wavelengths. Most of us know that too much exposure to UV radiation (both UVA and UVB) can cause skin damage, sunburn and even skin cancer when we are out and about–but is there a danger in our own homes?
Can UV Rays Penetrate Through Windows?
Older windows (15+ years old) lack the technology and advanced coatings that are offered on today’s window products. Old windows may naturally block UVB, but not UVA rays. Older homes are also likely to have single-pane windows, which provide less protection than double-pane windows—again allowing harmful ultraviolet rays right into your home and onto your skin. Low-emissivity or Low-E coating is a thin, clear film designed to minimize the amount of UV light that comes through the window, reducing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. This special coating is made from titanium silver or tin oxide, which prevents harsh ultraviolet rays from causing interior damage in your home, while still allowing natural light to brighten up your space. By investing in low-E coating treatment on new windows for your home, you will be able to keep your home’s temperature consistent and comfortable year-round and keep your energy bills under control.
Do UV Rays Negatively Affect My Home?
Just like the sun damages your skin if you sit exposed for a long period of time with no protection, UV rays can also damage the interior of your home. The window treatments, nearby furniture, and even the carpet may fade under the harsh UV rays of the sun penetrating an outdated, single-pane, untreated window. The same can be said for hardwood floors and other wooden features in your home that would be extremely expensive to fix or replace.