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When Replacing Your Windows is the Answer

Updated on August 1, 2013

Window replacement has become a very popular solution for improving energy efficiency in homes recently, but in many cases it barely improves the problem and that's upsetting when you spend more than a thousand dollars on a set of efficient windows.

Before you spring for a whole new set of windows make sure that it is going to make a major difference in your home, or you are just wasting your money.

Double Paned Versus Single Paned

The first thing you have to do is determine whether you have double or single paned windows. If you have double paned windows stop right here, replacing the windows is most likely not worth the time or the effort. If however, you have single paned windows you could save an estimated $120 to $460 a year by changing out your windows.

This range varies based on the number of windows you are replacing and the climate that you live in. This probably isn't the high savings number that you were looking for, but replacing your windows will pay off eventually.

Benefit from the Federal Tax Credits

New windows are expensive, and even in cases where they are going to save you some money, you're going to be waiting quite a few years for those savings to pay off for you. There is a Federal tax credit that will cover up to 10% of your new windows purchased as long as they are energy star rated, and it will only go up to $200 total, but it's certainly better than paying full price.

Improve Existing Windows

If you can't justify replacing your windows to improve energy efficiency you have a few different options to improve your existing windows and still lower your energy bill for a fraction of the cost of a replacement.

The first option is to simply go around your windows and fill in any cracks or gaps. You can do this with a non-elastic caulk on the inside of your home, and a silicon-based caulk on the outside of your home.

Apply weather stripping where the window closes is another good move if it is not closing tightly enough to prevent a draft from occurring. Buying heavy curtains that reach to the floor will help keep heat in during the winter months. Investing in a reflector will help keep heat out of your home during the warmer months.

Double Glazing

Even though you may not want to replace your windows you can still get most of the energy savings that such a replacement would offer you. You can add an additional layer of protection in the winter by applying a layer of plastic over each of your windows in the winter. Usually the plastic is applied with double-sided tape, and you can purchase kits to make this process quick and easy.

If you're after a more permanent solution you can have acrylic sheets applied to the outside of your window using a magnetic holding mechanism. This permanent solution is more expensive because you need a contractor to install it, but you get more energy efficient windows, and you can still open them up and clean them without a problem.

Now you know the potential benefits of replacing windows, and you should have an idea of whether or not a new set is going to be beneficial enough to justify the price. If you want a good set of windows installed make sure you look around for a contractor who can do a good job for you. Make sure you get references from each contractor you speak with and ask about their experience with replacing windows.

Don't waste money replacing windows if it isn't going to have a major impact on your heating bill, unless of course you just want a new set of windows for your home, and make sure to take advantage of any tax credits you can get when buying the windows as well.

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    • LydiaBlogg profile image

      LydiaBlogg 

      4 years ago from New England

      Nice, informative article! Curtains with insulated lining and heavy flannel interlining can give better insulation than installing a new window.

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