If you have drafty or broken windows, you may be wondering if it’s time for an upgrade. While window replacement can be a costly home improvement project, there are plenty of good reasons to consider it this year. Here are 4 smart reasons to think about replacing your old windows.
Reduce Energy Costs
If you live in a home with drafty windows, you’re probably already aware that a substantial amount of energy is lost every month through your windows. According to Energy Star, the average homeowner can save $27 per year by upgrading to new windows, or up to $465 a year if you currently have single-pane windows and replace them with Energy Star products. Replacing double-pane windows with new Energy Star windows won’t save as much ($111/per), but it may still be worth it. Overall, Energy Star windows can reduce your energy bills by 12% on average.
There are a few ways replacing your windows can lower energy costs. Drafts can occur in the gaps and cracks in and around the window, but the fit of the window itself and the materials are also important. Heat can transfer through windows through conduction in the summer and escape during the winter. American Window & Door Company said, “Energy efficient windows are made with materials that are better at insulating against this energy loss, often with two panes of glass filled with an insulating gas.”
Boost Your Home’s Resale Value
If you’re planning to sell your house in the next few years, it may be time to think about which home improvement projects will give you the best return on your investment. In general, the less exciting upgrades are usually the ones the pay off the most, including updating your siding, roof, plumbing, and windows, according to CNBC.
New windows increase the energy efficiency of your home, a major selling point to potential buyers. If you spend $10,000 on new windows, you can expect to increase your asking price by around $8,500, giving you an 85% return on investment.
You May Qualify for a Tax Credit
Did you know replacing your old windows can earn you a sizable tax credit? If you buy Energy Star-qualified windows or skylights and have them installed in your primary home before December 31, 2016, you can get a tax credit of 10% of the product cost up to $200.
Energy Star windows meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA to save you money on energy costs. Energy Star windows may have one of many upgrades over standard windows, including multiple panes with a gas-filled space to boost insulation, low-maintenance framing materials that reduce heat transfer, and special coatings to reflect infrared light. While Energy Star windows will probably cost more, it can be a good investment in your home — especially with a 10% tax credit.
You can learn more about which windows meet Energy Star criteria before you buy to make sure you get the credit.
You Don’t Need to Sacrifice Aesthetics
Finally, many homeowners assume that installing new windows means hurting the architectural features of their home. This isn’t true. If your home has drafty but beautiful original windows, you can preserve the character of your home by choosing your new windows carefully. Be sure to match the style of your windows, such as using wood instead of vinyl, and stick with the same number of window panes.
While replacing historic wood windows is not always a good financial move, there are some cases in which the windows can’t be repaired and replacement is your only option. In this case, it’s still important to choose new windows that maintain the integrity and beauty of your home. Look for specialty windows that are designed to carefully mimic the look of your historic windows to avoid dinging your home’s value.