Replacing Your Windows

Rising energy costs have homeowners in a panic. Many people are looking at various ways to slash their energy costs. From shutting off their air-conditioners to updating to Energy Star qualified appliances and replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.

These are all good ways to save money, but the best way to save on your energy bill is to replace the windows in your home. Did you know that at least 30 percent of the heat or air-conditioning in your home is lost through the windows? And, the older your windows are, the higher the percentage of heat or air-conditioning loss.

Replacing the windows doesn’t just apply to people with antique homes. Even if your home was built in the 80’s, it’s time to replace the windows.

New .vs. Old

There are certainly more energy efficient windows on the market than those available 20-plus years ago.

But is the investment really worth it? Yes.

New windows will see you through at least the next 25 years and the cost of them will be offset by rising energy costs. Let’s say you decide to keep the windows you have now, which are probably letting heat out in the winter. You’ll have to set the thermostat higher because the house just doesn’t stay warm. And those old windows probably aren’t doing any good at keeping the heat out  and the cool, air-conditioned air in during the summer.

So, you’ll have to turn up the airconditioner just to keep the house comfortable. What will it cost to replace your windows? New windows may range anywhere from $300 to $1,800 each, depending on the brand of window. Higher end windows, such as Marvin, offer the best performance and look better. Anderson and Harvey windows are also good windows that are easier on the budget and perform well.

Next Step

Once you’ve decided to replace your windows, you’re best options for getting the job done well and in a timely manner are to hire a national chain that only sells one brand of windows or hire a licensed, local contractor who will provide you with more window brand options and uses the same work crew over and over again.

Be aware that big box companies may offer a wide selection, but you don’t know to whom they will subcontract the job. It’s important that you are comfortable with whomever you hire and that you feel you can trust those who will be coming in to your home.

Tips Choosing New Windows

  • Be sure to look at the windows in a showroom first. Find out about all the features and benefits of the windows and watch a demonstration of the windows you are considering.
  • Look for durable weather-stripping and high quality closing devices that prevent air from leaking out.
  • Double paned, Argon or krypton gas filled windows boost energy efficiency tremendously and prevent (heated or cooled) air from escaping.
  • Low-E glass will reflect heat energy and still admit visible light, which allows for more heat transmission through the glass in the winter, yet less heat transmission through the glass in the summer. A window with Low-E glass provides the same insulation value as if you added another pane of glass.
  • Most brands offer windows that block up to 75 percent of UV radiation, which can fade fabrics.
  • Look for exterior clad with aluminum or vinyl so it’s generally maintenance free.
  • Make maintenance easy on yourself by choosing tilt wash windows. The sash on these windows tilts in so it is easy to wash the outside of the window.
  • Check that the window has a good quality lock mechanism.

With today’s skyrocketing energy prices, focus on investing in ways that will greatly reduce energy consumption over the long run. Replacing your windows will give you a great return on your investment as well as a more beautiful home.

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