Gone are the days when homeowners' interest in windows was limited to whether they could find appropriate coverings for the glass. Today's energy-conscious consumers want to minimize the costs of heating and cooling their homes. Whether you’re building a new home or planning to replace existing windows, the key is to know which choices will give you the biggest bang for your buck without delivering a blow to your bottom line.
If you're considering replacement windows, do the math to find out just how cost-effective new units would be. One way is by completing a home energy audit. Whether you hire a professional or try the DIY route, this energy efficiency checkup for your home will give you a sense of where the major energy-loss areas are and how serious they are.
It's essential to get a good read on where the thermal transmission problems are in your home before you embark on a full replacement-window renovation. You don't want to lay out five figures for a whole-house window makeover when your real problems might have been solved by a tube of caulk, some weatherstripping or a few storm windows.
Replacement windows aren't the right choice for every home. Bruce Irving, a Cambridge, Mass.-based home-renovation consultant and a former producer of the long-running renovation show This Old House, gets especially passionate about people replacing historical wood windows.
Irving says that especially in older homes, original windows are an integral part of a house's character, and homeowners who believe they need to upgrade these windows' energy efficiency should first try to add rather than subtract. "With a good storm window over it, original wood windows can equal the energy performance of a modern window."
Situations that may warrant window replacement, though, include the following:
Learn about window design options like bay, casements and more.
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