By Carl Seville, Networx
When most people think about energy efficiency, once they stop talking about solar panels, they usually get to windows. “My windows are so old,” or “They’re only single pane glass,” or “I need to replace them,” and so on, much of it fueled by the replacement window industry selling the energy savings. Unfortunately, in most cases, those savings just aren’t there, at least not at the level at which they sell them.
There’s a joke about window replacement that goes something like this: After her windows were replaced, a woman had yet to pay the bills she kept getting from the contractor who did the work. Finally, a year later, the contractor got her on the phone and asked her why she had not paid for them. Her response: “Do you think I’m stupid? Your salesman told me that in one year the windows would pay for themselves. It’s been a year!”
There are numerous studies showing that when you figure out the amount of energy (and money) saved by replacing windows, it can take anywhere from 10 to over 100 years for it to add up to enough to pay for the window installation. Not everyone replaces windows just to save money. Sometimes windows are just plain ugly. If you want to put in new windows because you don’t like them, go right ahead. Just don’t expect to save enough energy to make financial sense. Most wood windows can be repaired and storm windows added at a lower cost than replacement, and you’ll save almost as much energy. If you go this route, you can fix the windows then spend all the extra money you saved to improve insulation, air sealing, HVAC systems, and come out way ahead. Baltimore HVAC contractors Blue Dot suggest having an in-home energy audit – it’s a sure way to determine if your windows actually are playing a part in your home’s energy loss.
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