There are a number of ways to increase a home’s energy efficiency without spending a fortune. One such option is to have low-E windows installed throughout a residence. These windows have a specially engineered coating that reflects sunlight rather than allowing it to bounce into interior spaces. This ultimately lowers utility bills year-round. When more air-conditioned air remains in your home during the summer and less heat escapes in the wintertime, your bank account benefits.
There is, however, a potential problem with low-E windows. Although it is rare, barometric pressure alterations can occasionally cause the glass in low-E panes to develop slight, concave ripples. This more-or-less turns the glass into a magnifying glass that can bounce hot sun rays directly onto the exterior walls of neighboring houses. If your house has vinyl siding and your neighbor’s home has warped low-E windows, this can quickly become a problem.
What can low-E windows actually do to siding?
The heat that reflects outward from warped low-E windows ultimately causes neighboring vinyl siding to begin melting and cracking. If you’ve started noticing problems with some of the siding boards on just one side of your house, it is possible that neighboring low-E windows are to blame. There are, however, a variety of other potential causes as well, so don’t accuse your neighbors before you do your due diligence!
The first thing you need to do is make absolutely certain that the melting and warping is concentrated in a single area on your exterior walls. If it isn’t, the odds are good that the siding was incorrectly installed by your contractor or that there is a manufacturer’s defect you need to call the brand to discuss.
If the damage is clearly just in one spot, it could be the result of low-E window reflections, but it could also be caused by your own grill or fire pit, believe it or not! Again, before you start questioning your neighbors about their windows, it is imperative to check out all other potential catalysts. Measure the distance between your siding and the window in question. If the walls are more than 20 feet apart, low-E windows aren’t likely to be the issue.
What if I’m the neighbor who has low-E windows?
If you happen to be the person in your neighborhood with low-E windows in your home, there are a few steps you can take to make sure vinyl siding damage doesn’t happen to the houses on either side of you. First, you can regularly inspect your windows to make sure they aren’t rippling; sometimes this problem isn’t immediately apparent. If you notice any concave areas, call your original contractor right away to discuss what to do.
Another way to protect your neighbors’ exteriors is to add a fence or a hedgerow along your property line on both sides. This is beneficial to everyone, as it will keep their siding safe and will provide you and your family with an extra measure of privacy. If you have questions about what sorts of plants will keep their foliage all year in your area of the Carolinas, contact a landscape designer for assistance.
At Hatch Homes, we handle both window installation and siding projects of all kinds. No matter which side of this issue you’re on, our team can help. Remember, it’s a good idea to call your homeowner’s insurance company to learn more about your coverage before you pay for new windows or siding repairs out-of-pocket. You might find that the damage is covered in your policy. Give Hatch Homes a call at your earliest convenience to discuss our service offerings.