The Hidden Costs of Older Windows

11 Oct

Are the windows on your home costing you money?  If they are 15 years or older or in a state of disrepair, your energy bills are probably much higher than they would be with new, energy-efficient windows.

Does the cost of new replacement windows outweigh the savings? The answer to that question is different for everyone. There are basically two ways to improve the efficiency of windows: 1) Repairs and efficiency upgrades or 2) Replacement.

Window Repair and Efficiency Upgrades

Old windows require more maintenance and are much less energy efficient than modern replacement windows.

Old windows require more maintenance and are much less energy efficient than modern replacement windows.

Open spaces in or around your window are problems that cost you money. Typical issues include lack of insulation, window hardware damage and rot around the frame or sash.  Luckily, these efficiency issues can be addressed in most cases.

One easy thing homeowners can do to improve existing windows is to add weatherstripping and caulk cover open cracks and crevices.  However, older (15+ years), badly rotted or broken windows are simply not worth repairing. The cost of extensive repairs can approach that of full window replacement and repairs will never help you reach the best energy savings.

Window Replacement

houseyThere are many options for replacement windows, including vinyl windows, vinyl clad, aluminum clad and wood windows. The cost per window will vary based on material: a vinyl window may cost $150, an alum clad wood could be three to five times that cost. The labor can also vary depending on the size, type of window, and amount of re-trimming is required. The good news about window replacement, however, is that you get back much of what you put into it, both in terms of energy savings and added home value.

Here are some features to consider in window replacement:

  • Low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The SHGC tells you how well the window blocks heat from sunlight. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 1 and generally ranges from .25 to .80 (the lower the better).
  • Low U-Factor. The U-factor measures how well the window insulates and how quickly it transfers heat. Values range between .25 and 1.25 and energy efficient windows have a lower U-factor.
  • Low-emissivity (low-e) Window Coating. This thin, nearly invisible glass coating controls heat transfer by further absorbing sunlight.
  • Low Air Leakage Rates. Certain types of windows (awning and casement, specifically) seal tighter than others and leave fewer opportunities for air to leak in and out.
  • Proper Installation. This is one of the most important energy-saving aspects of new windows. Without skilled, quality installation, even the best energy-efficient window will fall short.

If you are considering replacing or repairing your windows, give us a call today at 208-375-3762 and we will be happy to review window options and discuss what is the best fit for your home, budget and future resale value.