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0 Comments | Jun 08, 2010

Why Replacement Windows are the Right Choice

Thinking about Replacement Windows Purchase

As the Summer approaches, the temperature is rising and Winter will soon be forgotten. However, toward the end of the season, when the Fall reminds us once again that the cold weather will come here to stay, it’s hard not to think about ways to winterize the house. Some homeowners have done it already by installing energy efficient replacement windows, doors, and patio rooms if they have them, insulating the attic, taking out all that broken up stuff that wasn’t doing any good, and anything else that may help the cause.

On the other hand, though, most homeowners really don’t feel like going out and spending a few thousand dollars on new windows. This makes sense, considering how bad the economy has been and how many lost their 401k assets and the only decision worth making is how to get retirement back on the horizon. Not to say that buying energy efficient windows will be cheap, but window manufacturers, glass manufacturers, and the government are all taking measures that will make these products more affordable. ENERGY STAR, a program headed by the Department of Energy, has always been behind companies that support energy efficient products and manufacturing.

the IRS is sponsoring a tax credit, and has been for a couple years now, that grants 30 percent off any purchase of qualifying replacement windows and doors, and up to a maximum amount of $1500. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is in charge of the rating process, as one can see surfing the internet trying desperately to find that cheapest set of replacement windows. You can spend up to a couple thousand dollars on one window! This situation may be endemic of Serious Materials, a company known for expensive replacement windows that are what they say is the most energy efficient product on the market, and this would seem accurate judging by the project they were hired to do on the Empire State Building. Competing with their extremely low U-values is Soft-Lite Windows with their Essentials window line, offering U-values in replacement windows as low as .16 (for tax credit eligibility, .3 is the maximum, so this value is almost half that). However, there are always a myriad of affordable options out there for each unique situation a homeowner may face.

Purchasing Replacement Windows

Countless sites, such as this, are dedicated to giving the consumer the most up-to-date, accurate information concerning the replacement window world. All this can be overwhelming, though, and when you’re presented with too many options, it’s a LOT harder to make any decision at all. Here are some steps to take:

1. Look at replacement window manufacturers’ sites that are committed to providing a product that will give you a return on your investment in the form of significantly lower energy bills. We have a list of all the companies that are members of the NFRC, and you can quickly check them out here.

2. Consider where you live: if you live in the South or in California, the ratings are slackened a little bit, so there will be more replacement window options available to you that still qualify for the Federal Energy Tax Credit. If you live in New England, the ratings are the strictest, and in the Midwest and other regions, they vary. Check out the ENERGY STAR website for the exact breakdown.

3. Narrow your list down to five companies that you think you’d like to purchase replacement windows from, then fill out the forms or call for a quote. Do NOT be shocked if the estimate for the windows themselves, installation, and other fees amount to a few thousand dollars. Think again about the tax credit: you can slash off 30 percent of the cost of the windows immediately. This is your new price.

4. Consider all the window lines that the companies have to offer. They have so many because they want to be able to cater to any price point.

5. Lastly, consider the decrease in your energy bills. This is the most important consideration to make. ENERGY STAR estimates that energy bills may decrease by as much as $500 per year in New England! After having done some calculations here, most windows will have been paid for by the decrease in energy costs in a decade or less. For those of you who might move out within the next five years or so, consider the added value to your home when you go to sell it. These days, to say that new energy efficient windows had been installed within the last few years is to warrant a little increase in the price of the house. People are energy-efficient-conscious: they recognize that they’ll save money on energy costs as well. It makes sense in the long term, whether or not you’re staying in the house!