Ultraviolet light protection is famous for providing the first line of defense in shielding our skin from the sun’s rays. Heavy sunlight exposure can also have a detrimental effect on your property, from faded artwork to fraying carpets.

This is especially true in sunny states like California. While many individuals associate UV protection with the direct application of sunblock or sunscreen, there are other ways to protect yourself and your belongings. One of the most important ways to protect yourself is by upgrading your windows. Installing UV-protective windows can help you take the first steps to safeguard your California home.

What Is Ultraviolet Radiation?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of electromagnetic light energy that the sun produces in the form of rays. All UV rays are invisible to the naked eye because the wavelengths are shorter than those on the visible light spectrum. There are three types of UV rays based on exact wavelength: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

UVA rays have the longest wavelength of the three types. These rays can penetrate the deepest layers of human skin and cause the most damage. UVA rays can cause wrinkles and premature aging and can contribute to skin cancer. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and can damage the outermost layers of human skin. These rays are responsible for sunburns, tanning, sunspots, or blisters. Too much UVB exposure may lead to skin cancer or cataracts. UVC rays are short enough for absorption in the ozone layer. These rays do not reach the earth’s surface. This means that the forms of UV radiation that impact humans directly are UVA and UVB.

Why Is UV Protection Important?

The EPA has established a standard UV index that delineates the risk of radiation exposure on a scale from 1.0 to 11. A rating of 1.0 indicates low exposure, while a rating of 11 is a warning of extremely high overexposure. From April to August, the average UV index for California is 10. California residents must take every measure possible to protect themselves and their homes from UV overexposure.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can have a detrimental effect on both your physical health and your belongings. Ultraviolet rays are present all year long, and standard glass windows do little to prevent radiation exposure. UVA rays are highly penetrative and reach the second layer of skin, known as the dermis. They can damage the elastin and collagen of the skin, leading to wrinkles and rapid aging. The CDC also reports that UVA rays can promote the free radical production of cells that leads to cancer.

UVB rays also pass through windows. These rays can scald the outermost layer of skin known as the epidermis. For this reason, UVB rays are most responsible for sunburns. Repeated exposure to UVB rays weakens the top layer of skin and can increase the risk of cancer.

Along with damage to skin, UV light can also damage your assets and belongings. Household items like fabrics, upholstery, carpet, hardwood flooring, artwork, and furnishings can deteriorate quickly after exposure to harsh ultraviolet rays. The cost of replacing items like carpets or furniture can add up. And while you may be able to restore items like furniture or flooring, items like artwork or personal heirlooms are often irreplaceable. It is far more practical to install UV-protective windows to shield your home’s interior from damage and to spare yourself the headache of liabilities later.

How Much UV Protection Can Windows Provide?

The protection that a window provides depends on the UV transmittance rate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides guidelines for the UV transmittance rate for structures like windows or glass doors. A joint study with the University of Central Florida’s Solar Energy Center found that structures like standard one-eighth-inch glass windows allow 85% transmittance on a sunny day.

Protective measures like double-pane glass can lower transmittance to 25%-40%. But best of all, UV-protective windows have an ultraviolet transmittance rate of less than 1.0%. Not only can protective windows block up to 99% of harmful UV rays, but they can also stop 50% of infrared light from passing into your home.

What Other Factors Impact UV Protection From Windows?

Other factors can also influence UV protection. Aluminum frames can reflect UV rays and can offer greater protection than window frames made of vinyl or wood. Even directional exposure can impact the home. For example, south-facing windows receive more UV light in the Northern Hemisphere. An installation expert can help you determine your windows’ best style and placement to limit UV exposure.

What Are Other Benefits of UV-Protective Windows?

The primary benefits of UV-protective windows include shielding your skin and eyes from exposure to ultraviolet radiation as well as protecting your home interior from UV damage. However, there are other tangible benefits of UV-protective windows. These benefits include energy efficiency, reduced glare, and the potential for advanced security.

Energy Efficiency

An immediate benefit of UV-protective windows is the potential reduction in energy usage and costs. According to the Department of Energy, two-thirds of the sunlight that enters the home via standard glass windows turns into heat. This means that your air conditioner might start working overtime during the summer to keep your home cool, causing a spike in utility bills.

During the winter, up to one-third of your indoor heating can exit the home from standard glass windows. This means that unprotected windows can cause energy losses all year. Fortunately, UV-protective windows can boost a home’s insulation by up to 90% and serve as effective barriers against heat gains during the summer or heating losses during the winter. This can reduce the strain on your HVAC units and lower power usage, ultimately saving money on utility costs.

The U-factor measures how much heat the window allows through. In other words, it tells you how much summer heat the window will keep out. This rating ranges from 0.20 to 1.20, and the lower the better. The inverse of the U-factor is the R-value. It measures the heat resistance to heat an item offers, in other words, its insulation rating. This typically ranges from 0.9 to 3.0 for windows but can go higher. You’ll want windows with a higher R-value.

Reduced Glare

UV-protective windows can also reduce glare from the sunlight. This reduction in glare can make it easier to use electronic screens like televisions, smartphones, laptops, or tablets. Whether you work from home or simply want to relax and watch television during the day, upgrading your windows can help you enjoy your home without disruption from the sun’s rays.

Advanced Security

The UV protection technology helps prevent windows from shattering easily. This quality can add an extra layer of security that may protect your home in the event of potential burglaries or natural disasters.

Contact Us Today

The installation of UV-protective windows is a must-have upgrade for California homes. There is no need to worry if California’s high average UV index feels overwhelming. We can help. Taylor Made Construction offers window replacement services in Shingle Springs, CA and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to installing high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, secure, and energy-efficient windows.

Our team can help you choose the right windows that integrate seamlessly with any part of your home. In addition to windows, we also install glass doors and can evaluate other parts of your home, like siding or decking. No matter the construction issue, our team can help. Contact Taylor Made Construction today for all window installation needs.

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