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Energy Efficient Windows – A Clearly Sensible Investment

The windows on your home are a part of your daily life.  They let in the light, keep out the elements, they deaden the sound from outside. Like any building sub-assembly, they can be of varying quality, and they all age. You may have started to notice some signs of their deterioration.

Apart from being unsightly both inside and outside, old, inefficient windows may be an invisible drain on your bank account. Those cracks in the frames and seals may well be extracting money through them too, in the form of increased energy use. This includes both heating and cooling costs.

Here’s a look at how in fact window replacement can save you money.

The Dollars and Sense of It

Whether newly installed or decades old, poorly constructed and/or designed window assemblies can negatively impact your home energy use. This may be caused by: 

  • heat transfer through those inefficient panes
  • Air leakage through broken seals
  • Ill-fitting window frames that no longer close properly

Bottom line is that your windows may be costing you money.

Repair, Replace?

As a short-term measure, addressing some of these shortcomings through repair may be a stopgap measure (pardon the pun) to eventual window replacement. Re-sealing, caulking and replacing broken parts may improve the performance of some or all of your windows, for a while anyway. Keep in mind, however – those attempts at repair, either by yourself or a tradesman, don’t come for free. They cost both time and money. Plus, they may not last or be effective at all, or worse yet, they may masking real issues which should be permanently addressed. Sooner or later, replacement will likely be in the offing.

Home Comfort and Old Windows

You may be paying the price of having inefficient, air leaking windows in the form of drafts, cold spots, hot spots, and humidity / dryness issues throughout the house.  No one wants these sorts of comfort issues. They may be a sign that it’s time the windows need to be permanently addressed.

Calculating the Savings on Window Replacement

Every house is different, so of course the actual amount of potential savings through a window replacement project will vary.  There are quantifiable results that can be anticipated by replacing old, drafty, leaky, failing windows with modern upgraded assemblies. ENERGY STAR has verifiable data on potential savings when renovating your home with energy efficient windows, as well as entry and patio doors. Studies show potential annual savings of over $350 when old single panes are replaced with ENERGY STAR certified windows. This includes both heating and cooling costs.

The Value of Curb Appeal

Your house makes a visual statement both inside and out.  New windows can dramatically impact the look of your property. Today’s designs offer countless options in terms of colour, style and texture of window frames and even coverings (in the form of between-the-glass blinds and shades). There are high quality assemblies in wood, fiberglass and vinyl.  Choosing one that brings out the most in your home’s appearance can increase its resale value, and stares from the neighbours!

Technical Aspects: Selection of Replacement Windows

This is where the experts should come in. A reputable and qualified contractor can assist with all aspects of replacement window selection for your specific situation. Among the many considerations they can advise on:

  • Options on energy efficient window systems – double pane, triple pane
  • U-vale and R-value, and what the various options will get you in terms of energy payback
  • Wood frame, fiberglass frame, vinyl frame – the differences, features and benefits of each
  • The mechanics – seals, spacers, low-E coatings, insulating gases – there is a lot to know

Conclusion: Work With an Expert

There are several ways new replacement windows for your home can really pay off, among them:

  • Your old, inefficient windows are in fact costing you money the longer you keep them; new windows save money
  • Your home comfort issues (drafts, cold spots, hot spots) are addressed
  • Your savings and payback can be predicted and calculated

There is a lot of potential in your home’s windows, and they may not be living up to it at present.  In fact, they may be allowing dollars to flow right through them, and right out of your wallet. This  outline tries to address some specifics, and describes why it’s a good idea to consider a window replacement project at the top of your home improvement priorities. When you take a look, though, you start to realize that it can be a complicated decision making process.  There is a lot to consider – the many systems, manufacturers, installers and price-points out there.The actual installation will determine whether your home comfort needs, your energy consumption, and your curb appeal goals have been met. That’s why it’s a good idea to engage with a quality installer. 

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