Replacing Inefficient Old Windows With New Energy Efficient Ones
New windows brighten a home, let in natural light and help reduce energy bills. They can also help lower a home’s carbon footprint.
New windows are designed to keep heat in the home during the winter and cold air out in summer. This cuts down on energy costs and the need to turn up the heating.
Replacing inefficient old windows with new energy efficient ones can save money on heating and cooling bills. However, a window replacement is one of the most expensive home improvement projects in terms of upfront cost and payback period. Many homeowners are reluctant to make the investment for fear of high energy bills and a lower property value. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to make older or historic windows more energy efficient without replacing them.
The most common method is to add a storm window. These are a secondary window with an air gap that helps keep heat from entering or leaving the house during different weather conditions. Storm windows can also reduce the amount of sunlight that penetrates the interior, helping to keep a house cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Another way to increase a window’s efficiency is by adding weather stripping. This is a material that seals the gap between the glass and the frame, greatly decreasing the exchange of air. This can be purchased at any hardware store and is an inexpensive way to save energy.
Other options include the installation of a window-smoothing kit, which provides a layer of sealant to eliminate any gaps between the glass and the frame. This is especially effective for sliding doors that are used frequently. In addition, a sash lock is recommended to help hold the meeting rails of a window tight, which reduces air infiltration and allows the homeowner to open and close the window.
Lastly, the frame material of a window can also affect its energy efficiency. Vinyl is the most budget-friendly, but it does not provide as much insulating value as wood frames or other types of materials. When determining the right frame material for a window, it is important to consider its longevity, appearance, and maintenance level.
Often times, salespeople of new windows will quote Energy Star research showing that a homeowner can save up to $583 a year on energy bills by installing double pane windows. While this is a valid figure, it is important to remember that the figures are based on replacing single-pane windows with double pane windows and does not take into account the difference in climate and energy consumption between new and old buildings.
The most obvious benefit of replacing your old windows with new double pane energy efficient ones is the reduction in your home’s energy usage and bills. This is because new double glazed windows are better at stopping heat from escaping your home, and they help to keep the inside of your house cool in summer.
In fact, energy efficiency is a key reason for many people to replace their windows, especially if they have been suffering from leaky, single pane windows that are not keeping the heat inside their homes properly. In some cases the loss of heat is so bad that if left unchecked it can result in rot of the window frame, and this will cost more to repair in the long run than simply replacing the existing window.
Another tell-tale sign that your home’s windows are not as efficient as they could be is fading of carpets and furniture where the sun streams into the rooms. In this case, it is almost always worth spending the extra money on high-efficiency windows as you will see a rapid payback on your investment in the reduced costs of your energy bills.
You can also get a rebate on the installation of your new double pane windows, depending on where you live. This is because the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has set aside funds to assist with the replacement of old, inefficient single-pane windows.
The exact amount of the rebate will vary from state to state, and there are some specific requirements that must be met before you qualify. These include using a PSE electricity or natural gas service, having your window installed by an approved installer, and providing the required documentation that must be submitted with your application form. This is typically an installation invoice that shows the date of installation and a breakdown of the products used for the installation. Packing slips, contracts, scope of work, purchase orders and other similar documents are not eligible.
To ensure you receive the best possible energy savings, you should also look for windows with a NFRC or AAMA label, a low U-factor and a low solar heat gain coefficient. In addition, you should consider upgrading your windows to double or triple-pane windows with inert gases such as argon or krypton between the glass to improve insulation and reduce heat transfer.
Windows are not just the weak link between a home’s exterior and its conditioned interior, they are also black holes for energy consumption and waste. Inefficient windows lose up to a third of heat from the inside to the outside, resulting in high energy bills, and, for some homes, even higher heating and cooling costs.
Many homeowners believe that replacing their old windows with new replacements will lower their energy bills and cut their carbon footprint, but this is not always the case. The production of new windows requires energy and resources for materials extraction, manufacturing and transportation. This creates CO2 emissions and other environmental hazards that cannot be avoided. Saving your old windows prevents the need to produce and transport new ones, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.
Replacement windows are often made from plantation-grown wood, which is less dense and durable than historic wood. It also grows faster, which makes it less stable and prone to expansion and contraction when it rains or snows. The result is that replacement windows can warp or buckle, and may require re-painting more frequently than historic windows.
Unless a window is severely damaged or unrepairable, it is usually more energy efficient to repair the existing frame and use an alternative method of air sealing. Using plastic film insulation and/or a storm window can help prevent air leakage while maintaining the look of the window.
Another way to see whether your windows need replacing is to walk around the house, opening and closing each one to check for smooth operation. If they are difficult to open or close, or if there is a lot of moisture between the glass panes, it’s likely time to replace them.
It’s worth noting that window manufacturers and installers are skilled at convincing homeowners that their existing windows are junk. However, these windows were built to be repaired and restored, and with a little elbow grease and low-cost weatherization (spring bronze weatherstripping and a well-fitted storm window) they will save energy at least as much as a replacement, and in the long run, will add significantly to your home’s value.
Window replacement is not only a great way to save on energy costs, it can also increase your property value. New windows are available in a wide range of styles and materials to suit your home’s architectural style and provide optimal temperature control. Additionally, many newer windows are available in double-glazed units with gases like argon and krypton between the panes of glass to improve insulation and reduce energy costs.
Your home may not be able to talk, but it does give you signs when something’s wrong. Inefficient windows waste your money by leaking out valuable energy, and high energy bills are a sign it’s time to replace them.
The good news is, you can do a quick inspection of your old windows to see how efficient they are. The first thing to look for is air leaks around the frame. You can easily test for these by lighting a match or incense stick near the frame, which will quickly reveal any gaps. Another easy way to check for leaks is to monitor condensation or moisture in your window frames. Moisture is a sure sign that the seal between window panes has failed, which is another sign your windows are in need of replacement.
While some condensation is normal, if it is consistent and appears on both the interior and exterior of your windows, you should consider replacing them. This is because the seals are failing and allowing heat to escape your home. Another sure sign that your windows are in need of replacement is fogging or condensation between the panes of insulating glass.
While some historic homes do have beautiful single glazed windows, these windows are not very energy efficient and should be replaced as soon as possible to save on energy costs. Thankfully, modern replacement windows can replicate the charm of historic windows without compromising their efficiency. Furthermore, a window expert can advise you on the best types of windows for your home’s unique architecture.