5 reasons to spring for replacement windows

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | March 9, 2015

If you have much older windows, the energy lost through them can be astounding -- in fact, you might compare it to a huge hole in the wall. That's because older windows are usually not as well-insulated as newer windows, might not be constructed as well, and have settled over time to create areas that allow drafts to flow freely around the frame. Besides that, older windows can be unsightly, which might not bode well for those who want to sell their home in the near future.

So why replace your windows? There are several reasons why, and most of them promise a nice bang for your buck.

You can save serious money with new windows

New home windows can have a big impact on your bottom line. According to Energy Star, replacing single-pane windows with double-pane versions can save between $126 and $465 per year. Even upgrading your current double-pane windows can save between $27 and $111 per year.

The true savings depends upon the climate in which you live; for example, those in Florida might save an average of $186 when replacing single-pane windows, while those in New England could save $465. Much of that savings is based on heating costs; obviously, homes in New England burn much more fuel for winter heating than those in warmer states.

Replacement windows impact home resale value

If you intend to sell your home in the near future, making it look as attractive as possible is a very important consideration. Being able to tell your potential buyers that the windows are new will immediately make them think of lower heating and cooling costs, which could also be a nice selling point.

According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report, those who replace their vinyl windows with new models can expect to recoup an average of 72.9 percent of the cost, while those who replace wood windows with upgraded models can recoup 78.8 percent. Those who live in upscale homes might see a slightly smaller return on investment for wood windows (71.9 percent) but a slightly higher ROI for vinyl (74.9 percent).

New windows can cut down on noise and UV rays

If your windows allow in every little sound, chances are they need to be replaced. If you live in the wilderness the sound might not be much of an issue, but those who live in urban areas or near noisy places, such as airports or subway terminals, might want to look into the sound-deadening benefits of double-pane or triple-pane windows.

New windows also have bells and whistles that do more than deaden sound. For instance, protection from UV rays is possible with special coatings, such as the SmartSun glass technology from Anderson, which reduces UV rays by up to 95 percent. That means that furniture, drapes, and carpet aren't at danger of fading from the sunlight that pours through the windows every day.

Replacement windows allow for better design options

Have you often wondered what it would be like to have a nice window seat right there near the sunniest spot in the house? You can enhance your home with windows that bring new design options into the mix, such as bay or bow windows, or double windows that open up the view a bit more. You can also opt for new handles that make windows easier to use, plus options that make them easier to clean.

These design options might add more resale value to your home, but the true value is in the enjoyment you get out of seeing the world through an entirely different type of pane.

Top-of-the-line windows can last for decades

Older windows are likely well out of warranty, so new windows can provide the peace of mind you need. Many companies provide warranties that last for at least twenty years on glass and ten years on all other window parts, making it clear that these windows are quality-made and intended to last. Better yet, the warranties often transfer from one owner to another, which means that potential buyers can take advantage of the warranty long after you have moved on to another home.

The bottom line: What's the cost?

But what do new home windows cost? That depends on the type of window you choose and how many you need. According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report, replacement windows made of vinyl cost a national average of $11,198, while the wood version is slightly higher at $11,341. This includes 10 double-hung, insulated windows of 3x5 feet each. If you choose to go with upscale windows with low-e coatings and a custom finish, expect to pay $13,837 for vinyl and $17,442 for wood.

Though that might seem pricey, remember the major cost savings on utility bills over the years, as well as the potential return on investment if you choose to sell your home. New windows are an excellent investment -- now is the time to make your home a little brighter with this smart home upgrade.

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.