Are Casement Windows More Efficient Than Picture Windows?

Are Casement Windows More Efficient Than Picture Windows?

Improved energy-efficiency is a major benefit of new and replacement windows. If you are getting ready to purchase new windows and want to know which windows styles are the most efficient, you're in the right place. In this post we're comparing two window styles, casement windows and picture windows. We'll define what they are and compare two important characteristics, efficiency and operability. 

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Casement Windows vs. Picture Windows

Casement windows are increasingly popular, especially in contemporary homes. This is an operable window style with a single sash. The sash is hinged from one side of the window and opens out to the side and away from the window frame. Some casement windows are operated by handle others by a rotating crank. Casement windows offer maximum ventilation, unobstructed views, and have a highly efficient design.

Picture windows are fixed windows, meaning that they do not open. Usually, when talking about picture windows, retailers and contractors are talking about square shaped windows but they might also be referring to specialty shaped fixed windows. Square and rectangular shaped picture windows are very common in window configurations with multiple windows. They are highly energy efficient because they have a single non-operable sash. Since the window isn't designed to open, there are fewer opportunities for air leakage.

Are Casement Windows More Energy Efficient Than Picture Windows?

Casement windows are among the most energy-efficient windows currently made. In fact, out of all of the kinds of windows that are made to open, most people agree that casement windows offer the maximum amount of energy-efficiency.

However, since picture windows are not made to open, they do not have creases or gaps around their edges. They are entirely sealed. Picture windows are the most energy-efficient window style but you can't fill your house entirely with picture windows. In fact, picture windows and casements work well together. Check out the pros and cons in the next section to learn more. 

Should I Get Casement Windows or Picture Windows?

Your choice between casement windows and picture windows really comes down to choosing between a window that does open and a window that doesn't open. We'll detail more features and differences between these windows below.

Pros and Cons of Casement Windows

Pros of Casement Windows
  • Casement windows can open wide for extra ventilation.
  • Seals around the perimeter of the sash and a lock on the window frame ensure a super weathertight seal.
  • Casement windows do not have many parts and grooves to get into like other windows, so they're less likely to experience air leaks and they're easier to clean.
Cons of Casement Windows
  • Casements open on a hinge and are great for ventilation but too much wind can also damage the window when it's open.
  • Casement windows will be more expensive than picture windows.

Pros and Cons of Picture Windows

Pros of Picture Windows
  • Picture windows are tightly sealed around all of their edges resulting in better weatherproofing and energy-efficiency.
  • Maintenance costs are reduced for these windows since they have no moving parts that could break.
  • Picture windows are simple in style and more affordable than other windows. If your budget is tight swapping out some operable windows for fixed windows is a great way to cut costs.
Cons of Picture Windows
  • Picture windows don't open so they can't be used for ventilation or egress.

Window manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve their products and making them more energy-friendly is key and that's part of what makes choosing a window style easier. You don't have to choose your windows based on which style will be more efficient. Choose your window styles based on what works for the architecture of your home and your personal preference. Other factors that will affect the energy-efficiency of your windows is the materials used to build the window components (sash, frame, glass unit), the type of glass unit (double-pane, triple-pane, low-e glass), and how it's installed. A poor installation can cost you all the benefits you were hoping to gain. 

As far as choosing between casement windows or picture windows, your decision will depend mostly on the level of operability you want for your window. If ventilation is important to you, then you will should choose casement windows. If energy-efficiency is the priority, then picture windows are the way to go.