Should you invest in installing windows this winter?

Make sure you really need new windows before making the investment in getting old ones replaced.

Installing windows in your home that will do a better job of keeping out the cold will help you to save money on heating this year, and every year for the life of your windows. Do you need new windows? How much of a time and money investment is it to make your home more energy efficient?

Style and health for Winter

Energy benefits of new windows

Over the past few years, with the push to make homes more energy efficient , window quality has improved. Energy efficient windows are designed to reduce air leakage . Insulated window glazing, gas fills, and low-emissivity (also called “low e”) coatings are all used to make windows more efficient and your energy bills lower. The less heat that seeps out of your home in the fall and winter, the less you need to turn up your heating system.

When to think about new windows

Having new windows installed is a big home improvement investment. You may make your money back through lowered energy bills over the years, but do you really need new windows for this season?

Consider less expensive options . You can caulk your windows to seal air gaps. Storm panels, shutters, and other covers added to the interior or exterior of your present windows can make your home more air tight. If these less drastic options don’t seem to work and you notice the following signs, then it may be time for an upgrade:

  • Cold drafts.
  • Window condensation.
  • High energy bills.
  • Trouble opening and closing your windows.

Also, if your cooling bills were high over the summer, you may have some air leakage problems.

Making the change

If you do decide that investing in new, more energy-efficient windows is the way to go, then keep these tips in mind. Use professional installers. Installing windows is a big project; it’s not something that you can do on your own without experience. Professionals will come in quickly and do the job in a couple of days . Also, be wary of hiring a handyman in an attempt to save money unless he specializes in window installation.

Do shop around! Get quotes from at least three different pro window installation companies. Finally, do your own research and decide what windows you want. Installers may suggest high-priced models , which may have a trusted name brand, but they may not have necessarily magnificently better components to justify the higher prices.

Make sure you really need new windows before making the investment in getting old ones replaced. There are ways to diminish air leakage that are much less expensive . If your energy bills are out of control due to poor windows, then better efficiency can be worth it, financially and environmentally.

Photo: Flickr