How to Choose Best Replacement Windows

New windows in empty room

Replacement windows are an excellent investment.  According to the “Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Versus Value Report” approximately 71 percent of the cost to replace your home’s windows with energy-efficient vinyl windows can be recouped with long-term savings on energy bills and added resale value on your home.

To Replace or Not to Replace Your Windows?

It’s not that hard to know when it is time to replace your windows, if you know what to look for.  A few questions to ask yourself are: Are your old wooden frames so swollen that your windows won’t open? Are your heating and cooling bills growing every year? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time for a self-test to determine if it is time to replace your windows.  Every product in your home has a lifespan. For windows, a good time to start assessing their condition is after about 10 years “on the job”. At the 15-year mark, it’s time to seriously determine if your windows are still doing their job.

Additional considerations to determine if your windows should be replaced include:

  • Determine how many panes of glass are in your windows. Single-paned windows are the least energy efficient, and can cause your energy bills to soar. Replace these inefficient windows with double- or highly-efficient triple-paned ENERGY STAR® qualified windows to enhance energy savings and make a home more comfortable during all seasons.
  • Look for condensation appearing inside the glass on double- or triple-paned windows. This could indicate seal failure. If this is the case, you might need to replace the glass or the entire window.
  • Do your windows open and close easily? If your windows are hard to open or close—or they won’t stay open or locked—this could be a sign that the windows need replacing.
  • Does it seem especially noisy in your house? If you live near an airport or busy street, consider replacing your windows with laminated glass or double-paned windows to help reduce noise transmission into your home.

Ready to replace? Here’s what to look for in new windows

If you’re considering replacement windows this year, here are several tips on how to select replacement window that can add both style and return-on-investment to your home’s improved window package.

Tip #1 – Request ENERGY STAR® qualified replacement windows and doors for your home to help lower your energy bills and qualify for tax incentives from the government.

Tip #2 – If you live near an airport or in a busy neighborhood, request laminated glass or double-paned replacement windows to help reduce noise transmission into your home.  Many storm resistant windows are made to withstand severe weather and impacts, have the added value of helping keep the inside of the home quieter.

Tip #3 – For hard-to-open window locations (such as above a kitchen sink) replace existing windows with a Garden window. This mini-greenhouse style features dual, fully-operational casement side windows that crank open to bring air and sunlight into the room. As a bonus, you can grow small plants on the shelves or use the space for displaying collectibles.

Tip #4 – If your home was constructed before 1978, make sure to hire a window replacement expert certified in lead safe renovations. Many homes built prior to 1978 had paint on the exterior and in the window cavities that contain lead so it’s critical to use a qualified window contractor to remove that paint when windows are replaced.

Tip # 5 – Consider replacing older single or double hung windows with easier to operate casement windows. These crank-open replacement windows are less stressful on aging backs and hands because they require no lifting action. Slider windows also operate easily and can be a good option.

Tip #6– Comparison shop before purchasing replacement windows. Make sure to research a company’s history, industry achievements, the product warranties and the reliability of the product line before investing in windows for your home.

Tip #7– Make certain to purchase windows with sturdy, easy-to-operate locks to secure windows in the home. For added security, order impact-resistant glass in windows. And, for decorative appeal on the inside of the home, consider the hardware options which may offer a range of colors and styles.

Tip #8 – Make sure the replacement windows you select meet or exceed industry standards set forth by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). These tests assure that the windows meet stringent qualifications for thermal, air, water, operating force and structural performance.

Tip #9– For ease of maintenance, order replacement windows with vinyl frames. With vinyl window frames, you never need to worry about upkeep such as the scraping and repainting hassles you have with wood frames. Vinyl windows resist rotting, decay, insect infestations and provide years of effortless beauty in the home.


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