Old windows are drafty, sometimes need to have storm windows installed on top of them, and are a pain to clean or remove. Replacing those old windows is often the first step homeowners take when considering how to lower their heating and cooling bills.
However, this decision doesn’t come without a hefty investment of up to $1,500 or more! Considering taking this step? Here are a few things to bear in mind before you take that leap.
Although dual-paned windows are more efficient, even the best windows only help you save 5-15% on your heating and cooling bills! Why? It’s because they don’t take up a whole lot of space and they are only about 15% more efficient than standard windows fitted with storm windows.
That means that, if you’re paying $1000 annually, it would take a full century for you to recoup what you spent!
They just don’t make windows like they used to! Solid wood windows built 50 to 100 years ago stand up to the elements much better than their modern counterparts. The wood used on windows is often wood that hasn’t grown naturally.
With that being the case, you may want to use something other than solid wood, such as vinyl windows or cladded wood windows. Cladded wood windows are windows made with wood that is covered by aluminum material.
You can get the color of your choice along with a 20-year guarantee—that’s three to four times LONGER than the standard solid wood windows. There’s a higher cost, though. You will be paying 15-20% more for cladded wood windows, so vinyl may be the better and more affordable option.
You can hire a window restoration company, or even a good carpenter, to repair those drafty, rattling windows that won’t stay open. They have the tools to replace that upper sash that’s been painted shut along with its cords, window hardware, and also the glazing putty holding the glass in place.
If you include the weather stripping, you could look to spend $100-300 per window and they just might be as good as the new ones you’re thinking about buying. Not only that, if you live in an older home, you may find that those original windows are one of a kind. So, instead of investing in new windows, get them touched up or consider changing out or adding to the insulation in the attic and basement.
Choosing the wrong windows will take away from your home’s value. Most homeowners get about 73% return on their investment when they sell their home, so replacing your windows with a cheaper product will cheapen the value of your home.
If at all possible, stay close to the original look and resist the urge to use vinyl windows. Also, make sure you have the same number of windowpanes so that the same amount of natural light comes into the room.
You may only need a window insert, which means that you get a smaller window that fits into the trim that’s already there, which will save you between $150-350. The drawback is that you won’t be able to insulate the air gaps, which means that you won’t be saving on your energy costs.
Why? The inserts are usually 2-4 inches smaller than the window you have in place and it will also stick out because it looks like it doesn’t belong there.