3 tips for saving on replacement windows

July 12, 2011

When the economy slides, it pays to make every dollar count. Homeowners who are considering replacement windows might wait for years in hopes that the market will be more friendly to the wallet--but if you need windows now, it is a good idea to get the best that money can buy and let the windows pay for themselves in the long run.

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What to look for in energy-efficient windows

Replacement windows cost should be a serious consideration when choosing new windows, but quality matters as well. Energy Star windows offer the best in energy-efficiency. To be sure you get the best value for your money, look for these key points:

  1. Performance: Energy Star windows must meet certain criteria. These include points of performance, such as U-Factor, solar heat gain coefficient, visible transmittance of light, air leakage, and condensation resistance.
  2. Framing: There are many different materials that can be used for frames, including wood, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass, composite, or a combination. No matter the framing material used, the window must have minimum air leakage and provide excellent insulation.
  3. Installation: Even the best Energy Star windows are only as good as their installation. A seasoned contractor can ensure that your windows are properly seated in their spaces, without gaps, cracks or open areas that can negate all of the energy savings.

Also, the replacement windows you need will depend upon your climate. An experienced window contractor can help you find the perfect window for your area.

Make the most of your replacement windows cost

Energy Star windows might be more expensive in the short term, but they can lead to significant savings down the road. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Star windows can bring down heating and cooling costs by a significant amount--from $126 to $465 per year when replacing single-pane windows, and from $27 to $111 per year when replacing double-pane, clear glass windows.

In addition to the utility cost savings, there are plenty of tax breaks courtesy of Uncle Sam. Replacement windows that meet Energy Star requirements and are installed in a primary home before December 31, 2011 are eligible for a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the product cost. That's up to $200 for eligible windows and skylights.

Finally, consider the resale value of your home after installing replacement windows. Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2010-2011 states a recoup on investment of 71.6 percent for vinyl windows and 72.4 percent for wood windows in a mid-range project. Energy Star windows can help you save money while you live in the home, and can help your bottom line when it comes time to sell the property.

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