Should You Replace Your Windows?

Window replacement is rarely a priority if you want to cut a large portion of your energy bill without spending too much. Sometimes it’s a costly necessity if your windows are really dysfunctional.

replacement windowsTop 3 Reasons NOT to Replace Your Windows:
  • You won’t see dramatic improvements in your energy bills! Windows generally account for at most 10% of your home energy losses, and experts estimate it takes 15 to 20 years or more to see a payback on your investment.
  • It costs a lot to do the job right! There are a lot of cheap, shoddy windows on the market, which can be a real headache within a few years of installation. And even a good window must be installed well – which is also expensive.
  • A lot can be done for a lot less money to improve the performance of your existing windows. Our recommended window sealing steps reduce the infiltration of cold air through gaps and cracks and add insulating layers at low cost so that you don’t have to break the bank on new windows!
  • But if new windows are necessary, here’s what you should know:
How Much Do New Windows Cost?
  • Expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 per window for a 30” x 48” EnergyStar rated replacement window installed into an existing window frame.
  • Most homeowners experience at least one of the following factors in one or more of their windows, which could double the costs for that window: non-standard window sizes, rotten wood in the frames that must be rebuilt, or window frames being out of square.
  • You can find cheaper windows for as little as $150 each (uninstalled), but the starting energy efficiency will be relatively weak and the life of the window will likely be short.
Installation Matters!
  • Remember that it is vital not just to get a quality window but also quality installation: even for a simple “replacement” window.
  • If your installer skimps on the time consuming work of getting the insulation around the window right, you may end up with a good-looking brand new window but continuing drafts and coldness.
  • And worse than that, there is an epidemic of rot caused by shoddy waterproofing around new window installations.
So Why Would You Ever Buy New Windows?

Windows matter a lot to your home. They have to perform well in multiple ways – not just be energy efficient.  Any window that no longer performs on one or more dimension is a candidate for replacement:

  • If you can’t open and close the windows because the frames don’t fit or the window will not stay open or closed.
  • If you have to keep the curtains closed and the blinds down all day because the drafts are so extreme, and installing storm windows is not an option.
  • If your double-pane units are failing and moisture is building up between the panes.
  • If the frame has rotted and cannot be fixed.
  • If someone installed windows which are aesthetically completely wrong for your home.
How Do I Get Advice?
  • Find a Local Expert: we know some great window experts who love nothing more than to examine windows, figure out the best way forward and help you get there. You want to find someone with a bias towards fixing and preserving what you have! Got old windows? This video explains how relatively easy it is to fix them.
  • Don’t get advice from a salesman for a window company! Their agenda is to sell you windows, not to tell you how to make your current windows more efficient.
Behind the Walls
Innovation Center
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Cambridge, MA 02142