Efficient Windows for Comfort, Beauty and Value

Window-scaping with energy efficient windows can be one of the most effective and visible ways to increase a home's value and beauty. Efficient windows can reduce our heating and cooling bills by about 10 to 25 percent.

But, do the savings in energy and money outweigh the costs? How long does it take to make back the cost of the windows?

That is a complicated question, mainly because so many factors affect the decision of replacing windows in a home. For many, new windows give a house a much-needed facelift, while reducing leaks.

However, most often, the savings you derive from window replacements take longer - in fact, much longer - than 10 years to make up for the price of the windows. This is true even for windows that are not rated Energy-Star. Based on the marginal "up-cost" of using Energy-Star windows one should really consider using them over standard windows. Remember that installation costs will basically be equivalent.

So, how do we decide whether to replace or repair our windows? do we need to invest in new-tech windows, or can we outfit our existing windows to make them more efficient? How long before we recoup our investment with the energy savings we derive?

There are definitely a few situations in which new windows trump keeping the windows you have:

  • Those considering selling their home in the short- or intermediate-term will surely recoup their investment in new efficient windows for a home. The market value of the home increases at the very least by the total price of the windows, and generally, another 10 percent above the cost.
  • If you are living in an old home with wooden, single-paned windows that are older than 30 years, they are due for a replacement, unless they are in excellent shape and you have good storm windows for them.
  • If your home has had structural issues such as settling, rot and mold in the window casings, or evidence of termite damage, you should consider replacing the windows.
  • If your windows are cracked, broken, glass separated from the case, or have a hole anywhere, such that the cost of replacing the glass with insulated glass is equivalent to new windows, then it's time to turn them into architectural salvage, and do something artsy with them.

Other than these cases and of course a burning desire for new, cutting-edge windows at any cost, I can't think of any cases where repairing windows wouldn't be as good a solution. In fact, in most cases, you would be saving landfills and exercising true recycling, while improving window efficiency - especially, if you are starting out with double-paned windows. AND, the economics makes perfect sense. Most often, with a little TLC, no one can tell the old refurbished windows from newer ones.

Here are some topics that that might give you new perspectives, ideas, and creative options when deciding to repair or replace your windows with efficient windows:

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