Your windows might seem like they are perfect right now. You can raise them easily, they have sturdy screens, they stay in place, and the look through them is as beautiful as always. Why would you want to replace windows that seem to work just fine?
The hidden costs lurking behind that glass
Those windows could be costing you much more than you think. Unless your windows are brand-new and carry the Energy Star label, chances are they are a money drain on your utility bill. According to Energy Star, if all residential windows were replaced with up-to-date Energy Star qualifying models, over $7 billion in energy costs could be saved over the next 15 years. Window replacement can account for a savings of up to 15 percent in heating and cooling bills.
But why aren’t your old windows up to par?
- No solar protection.Older windows might not have Low-E coatings. These coatings can reduce UV rays by up to 75 percent, thus reducing the damage done by the sun, according to the National Fenestration Rating Council. Spectrally selective coatings can also filter out 40 to 7o percent of the heat of the sun, thus keeping your home cooler.
- Old installation. As houses settle, their tight construction can eventually settle, too. Windows that fit perfectly when the house was built might now be the slightest bit off-kilter, and that means tiny gaps where air can come inside. Old, drafty windows can allow plenty of space for your heating and cooling to escape. Replacement windows installed by a qualified professional can cut down on those drafts.
- How many panes?Much older windows might be single pane models, which provide very little energy efficiency. Your best bet is double-pane or triple-pane windows with an inert gas between the panes. This provides a cushion of gas that help prevent heat losses and gains.
- Not up to Energy Star standards. The Energy Star government program didn’t launch until the early 1990’s. A home that was built before that time might have original windows that don’t have Energy Star ratings. Because of this, your windows might not be up to today’s standards of energy efficiency, even if they appear to be absolutely perfect.
Though Energy Star windows might cost a bit more than others, remember that you do get what you pay for. If you are looking for replacement windows that will offer plenty of beauty, reliability and savings on your bottom line, look for the Energy Star seal. The investment you make in new windows right now can mean a great deal of savings over the life of the windows. The comfort provided by windows that meet or exceed industry standard is another good reason to sink your money into a good window investment.