Susan Baghdasarian's Blog
While some home improvement projects are done purely for aesthetic reasons, window replacement projects offer a wide range of benefits.
If your current windows are decades old, they're probably difficult to clean, provide poor insulation, and get stuck every time you try to raise or lower them.
Old wooden window frames also tend to deteriorate over time, which negatively impacts both their appearance and their ability to seal out drafts and outdoor temperatures.
Modern, energy-efficient windows make older models look like they're straight out of the Stone Age! Many windows manufactured today meet strict U.S. government standards for energy efficiency and durability, which can help you save money on your home energy bills. These new features include multiple panes of glass, which provide improved insulation and impact resistance. Instead of using just plain air, many of these advanced windows are insulated with non-toxic gases, such as argon and krypton. (As long as you're not Superman, you'll do just fine!) If you're willing to pay extra, there's also the option of having mini-blinds inserted between the panes of glass.
Reducing Home Energy Costs
According to the EPA, "Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12 percent nationwide. Lower energy consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and shrinks a house's carbon footprint."
Energy Star-certified windows also have special coatings that reflect both infrared and ultraviolet light. That not only helps keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but it helps stop the sun's rays from fading furniture colors, flooring, and other materials.
Some of the newer windows are available with three or more layers of glass panes, which can help make your home more comfortable and quieter. If external noise is an issue, installing well-insulated windows with multiple panes can reduce that problem significantly.
Although many of the new window products are constructed of wood, they're often covered with vinyl or aluminum to be more weather resistant and durable. Fiberglass is another low-maintenance, durable material that offers good insulation qualities.
Cost Versus Benefits
While a window replacement project can take a big chunk out of your home improvement budget or bank account, it does provide a return on your investment. In addition to the fact that your home energy costs should decrease, installing new, energy-efficient windows will improve your home's marketability in the future. If and when you decide to put your home on the market, the fact that you've installed energy-efficient, easy-to-use window replacements will be a major selling point in the minds of prospective buyers.
As is the case with all home improvement contractors, it's always a good idea to get several estimates and check references, read online reviews, and take a look at Better Business Bureau ratings before choosing someone to handle the project.