Do New Energy-Efficient Windows Really Save Money?

March 19, 2019

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Are you considering energy-efficient windows for you home? Homeowners today are becoming more and more aware of how their buying choices affect their long-term savings especially when it comes to utility costs and the amount of money they spend to heat and cool their home throughout the year. The type of insulation in your home, its entryway doors, and your home’s windows all affect your overall costs for heating and cooling.

Replacing single-pane windows with double-glazed or triple-glazed windows might translate to a savings of $125 to $465 per home, on average. Upgrading from double-glazed to energy-efficient windows can mean saving an additional $25 to $100 per year.

If you’re a homeowner in the market for new windows, or are interested in improving your home’s overall appearance and interior comfort levels, you might note the benefits of energy-efficient windows and doors. It’s also good to consider some simple but effective tips for improving the overall energy efficiency and interior insulation of your home, so you spend as little money as possible on heating and cooling throughout the year and also avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your furnace and air conditioner.

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How Do Energy Efficient Windows Work?

Energy-efficient windows are an especially important choice for budget-conscious homeowners, as they can help you see a significant decrease in your utility bills while creating a more comfortable interior environment. To better understand the benefits of energy-efficient windows, you might first note how these windows work and what sets them apart from standard residential windows. It’s also good to understand a few basic features of residential windows and entryway doors.

  • Glazing or glaze refers to the number of panes or sheets of glass in a window; the more panes in a window, the better its overall insulating properties.
  • Panes of glass in double-glazed or triple-glazed windows are placed very close to each other, and the gap between them is often filled with argon, a type of gas that adds to the window’s insulating properties.
  • Window panes can also be tinted or covered with reflective coatings; these glazing options reflect hot sunlight and cold wind, and help to keep a home’s heating and cooling inside the house.
  • Low-emissivity or low-E glass blocks the sun’s UV rays, keeping those rays from entering the home. Your home’s interior will then be bright and sunny but not hot and stuffy during warm summer months.
  • Vinyl and PVC window frames don’t conduct heat and cold as do aluminum frames, also improving the home’s overall insulation. Vinyl and PVC windows might also contain a foam core that adds to their insulating properties.
  • Bits of plastic might be added to the glass mixture during the manufacturing process of today’s glass panes. Plastic doesn’t conduct heat and cold as well as pure glass, also adding to the insulating properties of a home’s windows.

The Benefits of New Windows

Along with better interior insulation, there are many other benefits to having new windows installed in your home. One benefit is that old windows may have shifted out of place over the years and especially as a home itself settles and shifts, resulting in cracks and leaks around the window frames. These cracks let out your heating and air conditioning and create a stuff, drafty, or overly humid interior environment.

Older windows can also suffer from scratching and etching along the exterior glass, the result of storm damage, sun exposure, and age. These scratches let in heat and cold and create a cloudy, dirty look along the surface of the glass; no amount of power washing can get damaged windows clean and clear! New windows are free of damage and look cleaner overall.

New, double-glazed windows with argon and other glazing options also block out more sound waves from outside your home! Not only will your home’s interior temperature be more comfortable with new windows, but you might also notice that it’s quieter inside the home after the installation of your new energy-efficient windows.

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How Window Styles Affect Your Home’s Interior Comfort

Most homes are outfitted with standard single-hung windows, meaning two panes or sashes, the lower of which moves up and down. Choosing new windows allows you the opportunity to upgrade their style and design, which can also improve your home’s interior comfort.

For example, bow or bay windows jut out from the home, which then allows in more light, creating a brighter and warmer environment. Casement windows open along the side of the window pane, like a door, allowing in more fresh air. An awning window opens from the bottom outward so you can keep windows open during a rainstorm and bring in some fresh air even when the weather is not optimal!

Double-hung windows with upper panes that slide up and down also allow you to control the amount of fresh air or wind in the home, while tilt-in windows make it easier to clean the outside glass. Cleaner glass lets in more sunlight so that your home’s interior is brighter and more welcoming and warmer during wintertime.

Why Choose Energy Efficient Doors Along With Windows

Homeowners often don’t realize that their home’s entryway doors also affect the overall comfort of their interior spaces. Make sure when choosing energy efficient windows you always get the best ones that are Energy Star Certified. Consider some reasons why you might choose energy-efficient doors along with new windows:

  • Energy-efficient doors typically have a foam insulating core that keeps out heat and cold during extreme seasons. These doors can then help lower your utility costs throughout the year.
  • A foam insulating core is lightweight so that energy-efficient doors are easier to operate and put less stress on doorframes.
  • Energy-efficient and security doors fit snugly inside their frame, making it more difficult to pry that door open while also reducing drafts and allowing less heat to get inside the home.
  • Wood is very energy-efficient, keeping out heat and cold, and a new wood door can improve the home’s appearance as well as its insulation. Wood is also easy to paint or stain, so you can change its color over time without having to buy a new door!
  • Old doors with single-pane and thin windows often let in lots of heat and cold, whereas a new energy-efficient door with a double-glazed or tinted window reduces interior drafts and stuffiness. Thick windows on upgraded security doors are also more difficult to break, increasing the home’s overall security.
  • Upgrading your home’s lightweight screen door to a security screen allows you to keep the interior door open more often without compromising your home’s security. Increased light and airflow throughout the home can help regulate temperatures, release trapped humidity, and create a more comfortable environment overall.

How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient

While upgraded, energy-efficient windows and doors can help insulate a home and reduce your energy costs, these are not the only ways of increasing a home’s energy efficiency! Note a few additional tips for making your home more energy-efficient overall:

  • Blown foam insulation seeps into cracks and crevices behind walls and elsewhere, adding to a home’s overall insulation. Blown foam is also less likely to break down than standard fiberglass insulation.
  • Weather-stripping around windows and along the bottoms of doors can add to their insulation.
  • Tinted window film blocks out hot sunlight during summer months, making a home far less hot and stuffy.
  • Proper roof ventilation lets out trapped heat and humidity, making the home more comfortable during summer months. Have a roofing contractor inspect the vents every year along with the shingles and other building materials on your home’s roof to ensure they’re not blocked and are sufficiently sized for your home and area weather conditions.
  • Cracks and leaks in a home’s roof let out heating and air conditioning while letting in hot and cold air from outside the home. Keep your roof in good repair to keep your home’s interior insulated throughout the year.
  • A home’s interior flooring affects its overall temperature and comfort. Stone and tile floors keep a home cool, which is an excellent choice for homes in the tropics but not in areas with long, cold winters! On the other hand, thick carpeting traps heat in a home, making it the best choice for colder climates.
  • Be sure to keep the home’s furnace and air conditioner clean and in good repair, and clean the home’s ducts as needed. Built-up dust and other debris along the moving parts of a furnace or A/C and in ductwork causes those appliances to work harder, costing you money throughout the year.

Related Questions

How easy is it to break a double-glazed window?

The two panes of glass that make up a double-glazed window are tightly sealed with air or argon gas between them, which works to absorb impact and vibrations. This added absorption makes it very difficult to break those panes and rarely do they separate or crack.

How long do windows last?

Vinyl and PVC window frames can last up to 40 years. Aluminum window frames are often prone to dents and dings and don’t last as long, and exposure to high heat and extreme weather conditions can affect the overall longevity of your home’s windows.

Are energy-efficient windows tax deductible?

Only an accountant can tell you if energy-efficient doors and windows are tax deductible, depending on your area, time of installation, and the tax laws that year. Tax credits might also allows for a rebate of a portion of your purchase and installation costs rather than your entire purchase price.

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