The Benefits of Natural Light in your Home or Workplace

Human beings have grown up rapidly. Compare our assent from techless tribes to world-dominating superspecies to the changes other lifeforms have experienced in the same timeframe. 

We’ve changed a lot, and in doing so, we’ve left behind our roots in a lot of ways. That’s not always a good change and we’re learning that becoming disconnected from nature can have profound negative effects on our psychology. Having natural light streaming through your windows can boost your health in a number of ways.

 

Stave off the Winter Blues

 

The sun is one of the most important sources of vitamin D. I always grin at the idea that vitamins can be transmitted through ultraviolet rays because it feels like magic. It turns out that it’s actually a result of a process that occurs between UVB rays and cholesterol, but the magic is still there and Vitamin D makes you feel good. That’s because being deficient in the vitamin can make you feel blue and there are links between vitamin D deficiency and depression.

 

In Winnipeg, it can be hard to get enough sunlight in the winter months, so having an abundance of natural lighting in your home or workplace can help.

 

Fight off Illness

 

Avoid getting sick with the power of the sun! Vitamin D deficiency can make you less resistant to infection and it can also lead to reduced calcium absorption, leading to bone problems. Employers, take note: if you have a lot of employees calling in sick during the winter, it may be because they are vitamin D deficient. Renovating your building so there’s a lot of natural light can have health benefits for everyone in your organization.

 

Reduce Fatigue

 

Sunlight is invigorating. In part, that’s because vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, and getting a lot of natural sun can help you avoid that. The other part of the equation is pretty primal – our bodies are, unsurprisingly, tuned to wake up to natural light. Home lighting is a poor imitation and the fluorescents in most workplaces won’t do the trick. Natural light is the best way to kick you out of sleep mode. 

 

Aesthetics

 

This is more of a personal thing, but I think it’s worth mentioning: beams of sun pouring through your windows, lighting the room just so, causing metals and stones to sparkle, bringing out the warmth in your paint, gently caressing your skin as you walk past – it’s a beautiful thing. Your guests will appreciate it, your employees will appreciate it, your clients will appreciate it, and you’ll appreciate it.

 

We can help you bring all of these benefits to your home or workplace so get in touch with us. We’ll find the right windows to allow as much natural light in as possible, in the most stylish way possible. You might get giant bay windows, you might get skylights, you might get a customized solution – whatever it is, our professional window installation will leave you beaming as brightly as the sun. 

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Why Winnipeg Windows Are Different

Winnipeg is a pretty unique city. Our province’s origins are rooted in rebellion, our architecture ranges from brutalist to turn of the century Chicago style, and our climate is, in a word, extreme. Businesses that want to succeed in our city have to adapt to our challenges. We want high quality wares at a fair price; that’s one of the things that keeps our cost of living so low. When it comes to building materials, we need materials that can withstand our unique climate, but that won’t make the cost of our homes skyrocket. 

 

You may not know that Polar Windows was founded in Winnipeg for the explicit purpose of meeting these particular needs. One of the tricky things about our climate is how cold it gets in the winter, and how hot it gets in the summer; we’re one of the few cities where air conditioning and a furnace are pretty much a must. The cost of running these appliances can be extraordinarily high – how can windows help? The short answer is that windows that are well built can be incredibly insulating; good windows are nearly as insulating as walls, but they also let light through, which can help heat your home in the cooler months.

 

There’s a lot of factors you can use to evaluate the energy efficiency of your windows; fortunately, the Government of Canada has created a list of window ratings. When it comes to windows in Winnipeg, you want to pay special attention to their R-value, which tells you their resistance to heat transfer. The higher the number is, the better; it means that when it’s hot in your home and cold outside, the heat won’t transfer out, but when it’s cold in your home and hot outside, the heat won’t come in as easily.

 

Winnipeg windows are different because they need extremely high R-values; they also need to fit into a variety of different architectural styles. The Polar Windows solution to the problem is to create totally customizable triple-pane windows. Hundreds of years ago, windows were made of just a single pane of glass; it’s intuitive enough to understand that adding two extra panes of glass will create more insulation. Inert gases fill the space between the panes, providing further insulation without stopping the sun’s rays from coming through to heat your home in the wintertime.

 

Winnipeggers love a good deal, and Polar provides. We offer one of the most extensive window warranties you’ll ever see; we create high quality, custom-built products, and we install them ourselves, so offering the warranty is no skin off our backs. In other words, we’re confident that our windows will last a lifetime. Our windows stand up to frost and condensation, and they can be retrofitted into older homes; they’re made for life in Winnipeg. What’s the difference with Winnipeg windows? When you get them from Polar, they’re highly durable, they withstand our temperature extremes, and they’re a great value.

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Manitoba Hydro Window Loans

The perils of Winnipeg weather are well known; it’s really cold in the winter and really hot in the summer. We mitigate these extreme temperatures by preparing our homes for each season; we run the furnace or the air conditioner, we make sure our homes are well-insulated, and we make sure every space is well ventilated, so that the temperature stays the same in each room. What might often be neglected, especially in old homes, is the effect that windows and doors have on home insulation. According to Manitoba Hydro, windows and doors can contribute to up to 25% of your home heating loss; they contribute to cooling loss, as well.

Replacing old windows and doors increases your overall comfort; good insulation means you’ll stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. That’s not all – think about how much that 25% is costing you! That’s 25% more energy spent each season in order to keep your house the right temperature, a possible 25% increase in your climate control related energy costs. Over time, that’s a lot of money. That’s why Manitoba Hydro offers a Home Energy Efficiency Loan for homeowners looking to replace their windows and doors. There’s a few criteria you need to meet to qualify, though.

For windows, you need features like triple pane glazing and a minimum Energy Rating (ER) of 34. The windows we offer at Polar have an ER of 43, well above the minimum standard. We’ll cover exactly what ER means on a different blog post, but the long and short of it is that 50 is the maximum ER, and 43 means you’re saving a heck of a lot on energy costs each year. Hydro also requires that the loan must be for the homeowner, and that your account with them must be in good standing. The loan is for a maximum of $7500, and is payable over the course of 5 years.

When you choose Polar Windows and Doors, that loan can be put to incredibly good use; your energy bill will go down. Our Power Glass™ technology reflects 90% of radiant heat back to the source; that means your house stays warm in the winter, and cold in the summer. We also offer a lifetime, transferable guarantee on most of our wares; that’s how confident we are in our product and installation.

How are we so confident in our abilities? Well, we were founded in Winnipeg, for Winnipeg. The entire premise behind our company is that Winnipeg’s climate was not well-suited to the windows that were available when we were founded, so we developed our own techniques and products in order to create maximum energy savings for Winnipeggers. Over the course of this blog, we’ll go over a lot of the different tips and tricks for your windows, as well as some of the secrets of what makes Polar Windows so special; stay with us.

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Tips for Keeping Your Home Cool This Summer

The best time of year to cool off at the beach is right now! However, if you are a homebody, you probably are considering ways to keep your home cool in the summertime. Here are some tips offered by Polar Windows on how to cool your room without air conditioning while saving money within the process.

Dehumidify

If you reside in a humid region, your sweat evaporates more gradually. Dress in loose cotton and additional natural fabrics. Lowering the humidity is going to help you feel cooler. There are, of course, other methods of keeping your home cool.

Reflect and reduce sunlight

Direct sunlight that comes into your house may raise the temperature. Placing curtains, blinds, or reflective window panels are just a few of the ways to keep the sun out of windows. Keeping direct light away from the room is going to decrease the warmth within the space.

Turn off the lights when not being used

Light bulbs generate heat, particularly incandescent bulbs. If you cannot replace this antiquated kind of bulb, the least it’s possible to do is minimize their use. Some houses install solar panels to assist in minimizing the price of electricity.

Be wise about the doors

If the room is cooler than the outside temperature, shut the door. It is going to retain the cooler room temperature for as long as it can even in the hottest part of day.

Place smooth white fabric covers on furnishings

White fabric covers are going to help retain less heat in the furniture. In addition, the covers are going to reflect the light. Some might say that it is going to absorb less heat from the sun. The interior of the house and furniture remain colder in the process.

Open the windows at both ends of your home

In opening windows at both ends of your home, you’ll allow air to move freely throughout the entire structure. It’s referred to as cross-ventilation. The process assists in reducing the temperature inside your house. You will be shocked by how much cooler it’ll become!

Set the ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise

Doing so will assist in moving the heat away from the room. As a result, you’ll feel colder. I bet you did not believe you could do that, did you? The technique of reversing the blade’s rotation is going to push the heat to the ceiling rather than blowing it your direction.

Point all box fans out of the windows

As you do this, you’ll push the warm air out. It’s something most homeowners don’t realize. Occasionally, it is best to use fans for exhaust instead of producing an artificial breeze.

Unplug electronic or appliances

In this era of electronics, heat’s a normal by-product. If you have teens or kids playing with their Xbox on a large flat screen television all day, perhaps it’d be better to minimize their playtime. Pull those plugs out if you aren’t using a gadget. Less warmth generated means a colder interior.

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6 Tips For Keeping Your Home Warm This Winter

There’s no better feeling than sitting inside in your warm living room on a cold winter day, wearing a pair of cozy slippers and watching a holiday flick. That is, if your home isn’t letting that pesky cold in.

If you’re feeling the chill in your home this winter, here are some tips for sending it right back out so you can comfortably finish Elf for the fiftieth time.

1. Get yourself a humidifier

Vapor from humidifier in the morning light in a living room

Humidity can make a room feel much warmer than it actually is. It’s a relatively inexpensive one-time purchase that will help combat the cold and in the long run, be the much more affordable option to jacking up the heat in your place.

2. Close your curtains at night…

Believe it or not, your curtains can be effective in keeping warm air from escaping through the windows. Closing them at night allows them to act as an extra layer of insulation and helps keep the room warm. This can also reduce condensation on your windows.

3. …But keep them open during the day

Contrary to the last tip, try opening your blinds during the day to let the sun heat your home up, especially on south-facing windows. Although it’s cold outside, the concentrated heat from the sun can really warm up the room. The natural heat can also save you a bit of money on your next energy bill.

4. Replace poorly insulated windows

Especially in Canada’s cold winter climate, the integrity of your windows can be the difference between a cold home and a warm one. Dated or poorly insulated windows will allow too much of your home’s warm air to seep through the cracks, leaving a semi-permanent chill in your place. Polar’s triple-pane windows are designed to keep the cold out. If you’re due for a window replacement, we’ll make sure your home receives the care it deserves.

5. Replace poorly insulated doors

cold-707165_1920

Just like poorly insulated windows, a dated entry door can let in cold drafts that are sure to jack up your heating bill. In the long run, you’ll end up paying much more on energy bills than you would on the actual door, so save yourself the cash. Polar doors are built for Canadian climates, meaning you won’t have to ruin perfectly good towels by stuffing them under your current doors to deal with those cool drafts anymore.

6. Move your furniture to warm spots

Maximize your warmth potential by finding the warmest spots in your house and hanging out in them. Got a fireplace? Centre your furniture around it. See a warm vent overhead? Guess you just found a great new spot for that ottoman you never really sit on. You may end up finding that your furniture is now strewn about your place in a strange fashion, but as Canadians, we’ll do whatever we can to combat the treacherous outdoor freeze.

Looking for a new door or set of windows? Book your free, in-home consultation today.

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Do You Know Your Window Energy Ratings?

What is ENERGY STAR?

 

You may have seen the blue ENERGY STAR symbol on products before. ENERGY STAR is the mark of high-efficiency products in Canada, and Polar Windows is proud to be among them. All windows, doors, and skylights that surpass a certain quality performance in Canada earn a high Energy Rating (ER) number.

 

How Energy Rating Numbers Work

 

A positive ER can be anywhere from 0 to 50. Any window with a positive ER saves more energy by maintaining heat. If a window has an energy rating of 0, that means it releases just as much heat as it keeps in over the course of a season. A window can also have a negative Energy Rating, meaning it loses more energy than it saves. This benchmark exists for you, the consumer, as it is an important factor in determining the value of new windows. The higher the ER, the more certain you can feel about your purchase.

 

How to Determine Energy Rating

 

Energy Rating is a part of the National Building Code of Canada. On the manufacturing side, ER is determined on a performance metric based on the size of the window, the category that window falls under (stationary windows, slider windows, casement windows, etc.) is important when considering the climate conditions under which the window must endure.

All windows emit solar heat, release air, and reach a capacity on how well they can insulate your home. All of these factors affect their ultimate Energy Rating.

 

Climate Zones

ENERGY STAR climate zones

 

We also mentioned climate conditions. There are 3 different ENERGY STAR climate zones in Canada, all with different rating levels. Windows with higher energy ratings qualify in more climate zones.

Because of the custom technology and materials we use in our windows, Polar Windows’ fixed window Energy Rating is +43. We focus on a long-term return with a lifetime warranty and our promise to bring you energy savings for decades. This promise extends to all of our products, doors included.

 

The Polar Promise

 

Polar Windows will help you reduce your home’s energy costs, increase your home’s comfort, improve your home’s appearance and ultimately increase your home’s value.

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How Do Polar Windows Compare To Standard Vinyl Windows?

Standard Vinyl Windows Polar Windows
Hardware Retention Vinyl on its own has the same screw retention capacity as cardboard. Standard vinyl window frames are 100% vinyl, which can lead to screws loosening or stripping over time. Polar has developed a patented process by hand inserting galvanized steel reinforcements into each window so screws will hold. As a result, our hardware outperforms any other operation window—even wood—in longevity, security, overall performance and sustained value.
Thermal Transference When interior and exterior temperatures differ by more than 40°, insulation efficiency suffers. Many vinyl window manufacturers are content to offer hollow-framed windows. Hollow frames can lead to more heat loss than energy lost through glass. Polar fills the gaps in vinyl window frames with high-density, closed-cell, high-impact foam, resulting in superior thermal performance while increasing the structural integrity of your home’s envelope. Because of this we can offer you a lifetime guarantee on our windows.
Weather Seals Most vinyl window manufacturers create frames with their weather seals permanently attached. This leads to two problems:

  1. If the seal fails, the entire window is compromised.
  2. Failed seals can never provide fully sealed mitered corner joints.
Polar uses Santoprene™, a superior composite product that we apply by hand to all windows and doors. If a seal ever fails, it takes only minutes for our certified technicians to replace it. This ensures your window will perform like new for up to 35 years.
Colour Choice Many vinyl windows are available in only white or off white, which doesn’t offer much in the way of architectural design options. We have developed a proprietary process with our vinyl frame manufacturer that lets us bond any one of 18 different colours of paint to our frames. We offer an industry-leading guarantee on vinyl window colour.
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5 Signs You Need to Replace Your Old Windows

Windows play a big part in the comfort of your home. They let in sunlight and refreshing outdoor air, and they enable the beautiful views of your neighbourhood. But eventually, your windows wear down. We know it can be difficult to tell just how much life your windows have left in them. Here’s a short list of telltale signs that you should move “new windows” to the top of your summer renovations list!

 

  1. Your Windows Won’t Function

 

Do you dread opening your windows? If they get stuck on their tracks, require a lot of jiggling, or don’t stay where you leave them, that’s not normal. Windows, especially wood ones, can warp over time as they take in moisture, causing them to function irregularly or not at all.

You can trust that if your windows don’t lock when they’re closed or require assistance to keep open, they are not properly sealed in the frame and require replacement.

 

  1. You Have High Energy Bills

 

If you had a hole in your house, you would patch it. When your windows aren’t properly sealed and insulated, the controlled air inside your home escapes through these unsealed spaces. Visible spaces in your windows are one thing, but you can detect any unseen drafts in your windows by slowly running your hand or a candle flame around the frames of your windows.

All that extra air your home requires to heat and cool adds up, the result of which is the number you’ll see on your energy bill. New windows seal these gaps properly and for the long term.

 

  1. There’s Noticeable Condensation, Leaking, and Decay

 

Windows are meant to keep the moisture out, not soak it in. You’ll need new windows if you’re noticing an excess of peeling paint, spots of wet wood, and mould. Condensation between the panes of glass in a window is a sign the seal has failed and needs replacing.

The other plus to replacing old looking windows is a significant bump in your home’s general curb appeal. People tend to notice the sharp look of new windows.

 

  1. You Can Hear Everything Outside

 

Your home is your temple. It should keep you comfortable and make you feel relaxed. If you can clearly hear traffic noise, lawn mowers, and noisy neighbours, your home may feel less private than it truly is. Your windows are to blame.

Windows transfer the vibrations of sound outside into your home, and when they’re not thick or properly sealed, they let in a lot of sound pollution. New windows with a professional seal virtually soundproof your home from outside noise. In addition to a visual improvement, you’ll be able to hear the difference too.

 

  1. They Look Awful

 

Because they’re constantly exposed to the elements, your windows require attention and maintenance year-round to ensure they’re performing correctly. However, those frames won’t last forever in the sun and rain. If you’re spending a lot of your time cleaning, scraping, and repainting your windows just to have them look only passable presentable, you may fair better with new windows. You’ll be able to save time, clear away any rusted and rotting materials, and they’ll present beautifully.

 

If your windows are looking a little worn, we can help. Book us for a hassle-free home estimate today.

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How Thermal Imaging Works On Your Windows

What is Thermal Imaging?

Thermal imaging converts hot and cold air into a visually measurable format using heat-sensitive infrared technology. On our thermographic imaging cameras, hotter points appear as a bright yellow or white colour. Cold points appear as a medium to deep navy blue. We use this technology to measure the energy efficiency of your windows and how well they maintain optimal home temperatures all year round.

How We Use Thermal Imaging

Windows allow the greatest transfer of air and temperature at the joints and corners. With our camera, we take infrared measurements of the temperature at different points of the window. We take readings from both the interior and exterior of your home to help us determine the relative energy efficiency on both sides. The thermal images of your older windows can show significant heat loss along the outer edges. Taking these measurements of your windows allows us to determine which of your windows we should replace first.

After Installing Your Windows

After we install your new Polar windows, we take measurements of the same locations to compare the results against your old windows. We then use these infrared images to reaffirm your window is sealed and check for possible defects. The interior temperature of your home should be significantly improved, with all windows consistently scoring higher than 80% in terms of their insulation power. We can then determine the Energy Rating (ER) of your windows through the amount of solar heat gain and heat loss due to air leakage.

In the summer, our thermographic imaging camera can reveal that cool air is kept inside your home while hot air remains outside. Polar windows use a special solar block to prevent radiant heat from entering your home and increasing its interior temperature.

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Crank The Thermostat or Plug In The Space Heater?

As the cold season draws nearer, keeping the house comfortable becomes more and more of a balancing act. It can feel like you are paying a premium in gas and electricity just to keep warm at night. For the average home, heating makes up the majority of your monthly utility costs, and budget-conscious homeowners will do whatever they can to save some money during the winter. One common idea is to use a few electric space heaters rather than cranking up the thermostat. However, electric heaters can also consume large quantities of energy.

In order to determine the best course of action for your home, you have to look at a couple of key factors. The bottom line is that a space heater will never beat a properly sized furnace in terms of efficiently heating your home; however, there are certain scenarios where other solutions may be viable.

Heating a Room

If you work from home and you just need to keep your office comfortable during the day, a space heater may be the best answer. Because electric heating coils are typically at least 50% less efficient than natural gas, the rule of thumb is that the room should be less than one third of the total square footage of the home. Heating with space heaters in a smaller, confined space is a great alternative, just make sure to run the heat for the whole house a few times each day to keep the structure from freezing.

Heating a Small House

For houses smaller than 2000 square feet, no space heater will match the efficiency of your furnace. However, there is another alternative called a heat pump. During the milder periods of the winter, heat pumps run a heat that is up to forty percent more efficient than gas. Otherwise, the best solution will be to insulate the home and upgrade your windows.

Heating a Large House

Larger houses will operate most efficiently with a quality gas system, but there is still a great way to create more efficient comfort–zoning. By installing zone control, your furnace can be told to heat only the parts of the home where people are present. A high efficiency furnace that can control its energy use will give you a direct decrease in efficiency based on the percentage of the home currently being conditioned.

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