This recent technical article in The Installer magazine on fitting windows effectively raises a very good point: any energy saving measure is only as good as its installation, particularly when it comes to windows. We were shocked to read that windows can be so poorly fitted, assuming naïvely that high end window systems were fitted to suitably high end standards. Clearly this isn’t always the case, with uncomfortable and undesirable results for the homeowner and bad publicity and expensive repair work for the company that fitted the windows.
Fitting windows effectively is far from standard
If we all want to get in and out of our houses and have some natural light and fresh air, we have to accept that big holes need to be made in our walls. If we’re lucky enough to have chosen the windows and external doors on our house we’ll have considered all sorts of factors, including price and the properties of those windows and doors. Many windows are sold on the basis of numerous claims including their thermal qualities. High levels of insulation are vital to the comfort and energy efficiency of a window’s destined building, but can be rendered largely pointless if the fitting isn’t done to the required standard, ie the large hole in the wall isn’t blocked properly. It’s clear from the article that fitting windows effectively is far from standard and often leaves a great deal to be desired, a particular let down for the client when they’ve put in a great deal of effort into choosing their windows and then paid a premium for them.
Strict standards & clear guidance
The article in The Installer makes a clear distinction between the claims a window can make for energy rating based on its properties on paper, and how that window performs in situ. One particular area of concern highlighted was the sealing between window and wall. If carried out poorly the seals will stop performing adequately within months. There are strict standards and clear guidance available, taking into account the behaviour of the materials involved an how to accommodate them, so there should be no excuse for work to be carried out so such a low standard. What this comes down to is that while companies are keen to jump on the bandwagon of selling window systems with excellent energy ratings, some are not matching with a suitably professional standard of fitting. It’s not enough to tell your clients that a window performs to an A rating if poor fitting means it will be letting draughts whistle through within a year.
Discuss fitting with your builder
If you’re considering having any sort of draughtproofing or insulation work carried out on your home, especially expensive and invasive work, discuss with your proposed builders and fitters how they ensure their methods complement the insulating properties so important to you. You’re looking for a company that’s familiar with the principles and methods of draughtproofing and understands how to carry it out for long lasting results. Don’t be dazzled by energy ratings – they’re just your starting point.