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Replacement Windows: Are They Worth It?

Improving your home is a continuous process. There are different areas that you can renovate, and with a limited budget to work on, you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. This means doing projects that get you the best bang for your buck.

Similar to most homeowners, you probably have a long list of home upgrades to work on. Since you can’t do them all at the same time, you need to choose which one to work on first. It’s important to start with a project that is both worth your time and money. 

Some people opt to start with major projects, such as a bathroom or kitchen remodel, and consider it a great investment. These types of renovations do boost the value of your home, but it often takes too long and takes too much effort. You may be better off starting with practical updates, such as replacing your windows.

Now, is replacing your windows really a smart investment? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple yes or no. It depends on different factors such as the current state of the window frames, the style and the design of the new windows, and more. 

To help you determine if it’s the right upgrade for your home, I’ll share the value of replacing your windows as well as reasons why it won’t be worth it. Continue reading to find out if replacing underperforming windows are worth the cost.

The Value Of Replacing Your Windows

Window replacement is not a common project for homeowners, but it doesn’t mean it’s not needed. If you have damaged, underperforming windows, there is more to replacing them with new ones than just fixing them. Here are some reasons why you should replace your windows:

Energy Efficiency

Not only do you get rid of drafts and let in noise, but you can also save on energy and money when replacing old windows. 

Replacement windows can improve the energy efficiency of your home and allow potential savings on your utility bills. With old windows that offer poor insulation, your heating system will constantly run and increase your energy expenses. Homeowners who live in extremely cold or hot climates will especially notice the difference in their monthly bills.

Of course, you will need energy-efficient windows to experience these benefits. You want to avoid single-pane windows. These offer poorer insulation, which means you’re most likely to lose your home’s heating to the outdoors. The glass panes are also more prone to energy leaks.

The better option is a double-pane window. These double-glazed windows are better at retaining air conditioning or heat since they have two layers of glass in each pane. It is better insulated and helps reduce drafts and energy leaks. These layers are also often filled with insulation gas, such as krypton or argon. It helps absorb the wind and reduces its coolness as it passes into your home. To increase energy savings and provide better insulation, you can even replace the silicone or putty with double-sided adhesive tape.

For those who live in a warm environment, you should go for windows with Low-emissivity or Low-e coatings. Double-pane windows with insulation gas can assist heating systems but they won’t be helpful with cooling systems. Low-emissivity coatings can retain air condition inside your home and reduce solar heat gain.

Source: Energy Star

To be sure that you’re installing energy-efficient windows look for models that are Energy Star certified. These windows offer high energy performance and are recommended by the EPA and Department of Energy that offer potential savings on your energy costs. Plus, there are some government incentives when you make your home energy-efficient, helping you recoup a part of the installation cost. 

Comfort and Functionality

Beyond energy efficiency and savings, replacement windows can also make your home more comfortable. Underperforming windows not only increases your monthly bills, but it makes your home hotter or colder, lets the noise in, produces rattling sounds, or makes it difficult to open or close. 

Replacing your windows can solve one or all of these problems. They can provide extra insulation, retain air conditioning, make it quieter inside, and improve overall functionality. Newer models also have advanced features such as tilting for easy cleaning.

Aesthetics

Old windows may offer the same or almost the same energy savings as new windows, but you would most likely need to sacrifice aesthetics. Why? Because they will require unsightly storm windows. With new windows, they will perform better even without storm windows while making your home visually appealing.

There are many types of replacement windows you can choose from. One beautiful upgrade is a picture window. This provides an unobstructed view of the outdoors, and by making it double-paned, provides better insulation. To see other window options, here are 12 types of replacement windows homeowners need to know about.

Home’s Value

Who wouldn’t want a home with better-looking windows and low energy costs?

As long as you get the right windows, for both aesthetics and energy efficiency, then it would boost your home’s value. If you decide to sell your home in the future, new windows may have buyers lining up on your door. This would be particularly beneficial for those who live in states with high energy costs such as ones in the Northeast and California or require frequent air conditioning such as Texas or Florida.

Reasons Not To Get Replacement Windows

While there is value in replacing your windows, it doesn’t mean that it is the way to go. Here are some reasons why homeowners opt not to get replacement windows.

Installation

Some people dread replacing their windows because it is a time-consuming and complicated project. While it may not take as long as major remodels, the installation is still an ordeal and a disruptive process. 

During installation, there is a lot of prep work on your part. Unlike one-room remodels, windows can be found all over your home. This will affect most areas of your home, or maybe all if you’re getting a whole-house window replacement. You also need to clear a path to the rooms where you want the windows to be replaced. This means moving furniture, artwork, and other decorations around to prevent them from getting damaged. You also need to take down blinds and curtains, which can also be tedious. Not to mention the alarms and sensors around your panes. You may need to contact the security company to turn it off so the installers can work on your windows. 

Related: Should You Replace All Of Your Windows At The Same Time?

You also need to time the installation. For some locations, you can’t just rip out your windows during the winter. The heat loss will make your home uncomfortable as well as increase your energy bill for the month. The caulk may also not seal the window properly due to moisture from the snow. It would be better to get it replaced during summer or spring. This means it would be most likely a busy season for installers, so you might have a hard time getting one or experience delays in your project.

Original Windows

Another reason why people don’t want to replace their windows is because having the original ones adds a historic charm to their home. Some old homes have beautiful windows that shouldn’t be replaced. But not everyone will have this option, especially if their windows are beyond repair.

If ever your old windows are heavily damaged, you need to be careful when choosing the replacement windows. If you get the wrong ones, these can detract from the value of your home. Try to match the style of the original windows to retain your home’s historic charm. 

Alternatives

If your windows won’t stay open, creates a draft, doesn’t block out the noise, or starts to rattle, replacing them is not the only option. You can choose to repair them, especially if the window is not a couple of decades old. You may solve the draft or noise problem by sealing around the frame as well as insulate them for energy efficiency. If the panes are damaged, they can be easily replaced while the rattling can be solved with some glazing to hold the glass in place.

Another option is to use window inserts or pocket replacement. These can fit inside the original window since the shape, size, and style are adjustable. It is also easier to install since you don’t need to remove the trims or install a new outer frame and sill. However, these inserts may not offer the same energy savings as new windows since there are usually air gaps between the replacement pieces and frames. It may also not be seamless, and for those with a keen eye, look out of place.

If you need short-term insulation, you can also use window insulation film. These are like plastic wraps that can be applied over the window by sticking them to the frames. It is a thick extra layer that provides temporary protection from the temperature outside. It’s not permanent since you have to remove it every time you want to open the windows.

To Replace Or Not To Replace

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. If you do decide on replacing your windows and need an installer to get the job done, I operate a partner network that covers nationwide. Click 'Get Free Quotes' and give it a shot. I think you'll find my partner contractors are more responsive and professional than most!

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Related: 11 Questions You Need To Ask Your Window Replacement Contractor

Kenneth Wilson
December 21, 2020

Kenneth Wilson

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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