New windows can improve the comfort, energy efficiency and curb appeal of your home.
Windows. You might not think about them until there’s a problem — one breaks, or is drafty. But did you know that replacing or upgrading your windowscould also improve the overall comfort of your home, as well as add value? For example, a mid-range vinyl window replacement project costs about $10,000 — and delivers a 79 percent ROI (return on investment), according to Remodelingmagazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. And those on the East and West Coasts could see even higher returns. So, why not replace those drafty or worn out windows, and save on those energy bills? After all, you don’t have much, if anything, to lose.
Here are three telltale signs that it’s time to consider new windows for your home:
1. You feel a draft.
Poorly insulated windows and frames let cold air seep into your home, which can impact energy efficiency and make it more difficult to heat or cool certain rooms — potentially leading to higher energy bills.
To determine if your windows are drafty, press the palm of your hand against the edge of the window where the frame meets the wall. If you feel a draft, it’s probably time to replace them.
2. Your window are getting up there in years.
Standards for window technology have vastly improved in the last 20 years, which means even homes built in the ’70s or ’80s have a lot of opportunity for improvement.
Today’s window options include double- and triple-pane glass and expanding foam insulation. Some also have gas fillers that insulate the pane, which reduces heat loss in the winter and retains cool air in the summer.
The EPA’s Energy Star program offers energy-efficiency ratings for windows that meet strict guidelines.
These can help you make the most energy-efficient choices for your home and budget.
3. Your windows are in poor shape.
If you are planning to sell your home in the next few years and it is full of old, cracked panes with warped frames that are painted shut, it’s probably worth an upgrade. New windows are a popular selling point in real estate descriptions, because they promise the triple benefit of comfort, curb appeal and energy-efficiency.
And even if you just want your house to be more attractive, new windows can do the trick, says Larry Zarker, CEO of the Building Performance Institute, which offers certifications for energy-efficient retrofits. “There is often an emotional component to these projects,” he says. “People want to upgrade the look of their home, and new windows help them do that.”