Can Replacement Windows Save You Money?
Replacing your windows can save you money, but the amount varies depending on a number of factors, including the age of your current windows, the style of your windows, your location and climate and how well your home is insulated. In order to get a clear picture of how much money replacement windows will save, you have to look at the overall picture.
Energy Efficiency Can Save
The best bet to save you money is to invest in energy efficient windows. These windows prevent heat loss from your home and block the sun’s heat from coming in – making them suitable for keeping cool air outside during the winter and keeping hot air out during the summer.
The energy efficiency of windows depends on the style of window (for example, casement and awning windows leak less air than single and double hung windows) and whether or not there’s an insulating layer of argon or krypton gas between the panes. The frame of the windows also makes a difference in how energy efficient a window is. Vinyl and fiberglass are both higher in efficiency than aluminum, which can conduct considerably more heat.
Energy efficiency is measured by a couple of different standards, but the two to really keep an eye on are the U-factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, or SHGC.
What’s a U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient?
The U-factor measures the rate of heat loss over an entire window, while the SHGC is a measure of how effective the window is at blocking the sun’s rays from entering your home. While they measure different things, when it comes to looking at both numbers, the lower the number, the more efficient the window.
When in doubt, look for windows with an Energy Star rating, which are certified through the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and meet energy efficiency requirements set forth by the United States Department of Energy. This rating not only takes into account the style of window and its construction, but also the framing material.
Upfront Costs Can Be High
One of the most painful things about getting new windows for your home can be the upfront cost – which varies depending on the type of windows you’re looking at getting and the number of windows in your home. If you’re looking at replacing your current windows – which you should do about every 20 years or so – then it’s a no-brainer.
You’re already replacing them and should invest in quality windows that will last the test of time and meet your needs, rather than cheaply made options that would need to be replaced sooner and continue hemorrhaging money out of your wallet. If you’re putting off buying new windows based on the high upfront costs, it can help to examine the sources of savings.
Savings Can Be High, Too
Even though you might experience a bit of sticker shock when you decide to get new windows for your home, the savings can be just as high – or higher – than the initial cost of replacing the windows. The most readily apparent savings are on your heating and cooling bills. New windows that are energy efficient and suited to your climate will almost instantly reduce your bills.
But there are hidden savings too. When you buy windows with a low SHGC, you’re blocking harmful UV rays from entering your home, which reduces fading to your drapes, furniture and carpet, in turn prolonging their lifespan, saving you money by delaying replacement costs.
Windows that are easy to care for – like windows with tilt-in sashes – can save you money on cleaning costs and maintenance calls. If you can easily do it yourself, you won’t have to hire a professional. That’s more money in the bank.
If your windows are old and your local building and zoning authorities have updated their guidelines pertaining to windows for safety reasons, you may be facing hefty fines if you don’t conform to their standards within a certain time frame – that’s potentially hundreds to thousands of dollars in fines avoided by choosing new windows that are up to standard.
It’s also important to examine whether your new windows add to the value of your home, especially if you’re considering selling in the near future. With vinyl windows, for example, you can recoup 73-78 percent of your project cost in added home value. That’s nothing to scoff at!
You Can’t Put a Price on Comfort
Besides the financial savings, there’s an intrinsic value in getting new windows that you can’t really put a price on. The safety features available on new windows far surpasses those of old – locks are stronger, glass is harder to break, and frames are harder to pry away than ever before, potentially saving you the trauma of dealing with a break in and untold hundreds or thousands of dollars in replacing stolen goods.
If you’re tired of dealing with drafts in the winter and hot spots in the summer, replacing your windows with new ones adds a level of comfort that you’d be hard pressed to put into numerical terms.
Adding new windows that are easier to clean saves on frustration and embarrassment, which are also immeasurable in financial terms.
Not everybody places the same value on these intangible things – that’s why it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much they would be worth in concrete financial terms. But if comfort, peace of mind, climate control and maintaining a spotless home are things you find worthwhile, then it’s added incentive to replace your windows.