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Replacement Windows or Storm Windows, What is right for my home?

It’s a question most homeowners face at some point. Window replacement is an expensive proposition, particularly if you have a home with many windows.  Is it necessary?  Is it a wise investment?  Will it impact the value of my home?  Will it impact my energy bills and the comfort within my home.  All very important questions.

Given the expense, disruption and impact to the home’s value, the decision to purchase an install replacement windows is not taken lightly by most consumers. There are a number of factors that should be considered when deciding if you want to go to the time and expense of replacing your windows. A U.S. Building materials company recently conducted consumer reseach to identify the factors that contribute to a homeowners decison to replace windows.

Five reasons that are key considerations when evaluating the need for replacement windows:

  1. The existing windows are in poor condition and beyond repair (e.g., rotted, rusted, etc.).
  2. The existing windows do not operate as intended (sashes do not stay in place or do not open and close as intended).
  3. The homeowner wants to change the home’s appearance.
  4. The homeowner wants to enhance the comfort level (warmer in winter, cooler in summer, eliminate drafts).
  5. The homeowner wants to save money by lowering annual heating and cooling costs.

If the existing windows are in poor condition and beyond repair, it may be time to replace. If you want to change your home’s appearance, selection of new windows might be the right path for you.

Too often however, howeowners don’t want to change the appearance of their home. Particularly in homes with beautifully crafted wood windows that may be architecturally consistent with the design of the home. Your friendly window salesman is ready to sell you a shiny new vinyl replacement window, equipped with advanced technology that will, in fact, impact comfort and your home’s energy performance, but what if you don’t want a shiny plastic window on your home?  Or what if you don’t want to spend a small fortune on replacing all of your windows? Window replacement is often not a good option for many historic homes.

Today’s consumers have choices that can provide all of the technical benefits of a new window… but allow the homeowners to keep their existing windows.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has done extensive work evaluating the benefits of such products which have been brought to the market by companies such as QUANTA Technologies and J.E. Berkowitz. These companies offer demonstrated solutions that work in conjunction with a building’s existing windows, and typically can be installed for a fraction of the cost of even the least expensive window replacement options.

According to U.S. DOE data, nearly 75% of the U.S. housing stock has single or double pane windows which are not as energy efficient as today’s EnergyStar windows that are sold for either new construction or window replacement.  Interestingly, many consumers don’t find the vinyl replacement window options as appealing for their homes.

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