Will New Windows Save Energy & Money?

May 8, 2020


A drafty house is an uncomfortable house. Unfortunately, drafts don’t just mean you’re shivering or sweating. These air leaks also mean that energy is lost to the outdoors, which can send your utility bills sky-high. In addition to making changes like sealing the area underneath your doors and adding strategic insulation, one of the best ways to fight drafts is by installing new windows.

Don’t believe us? Well, the heat gains and losses due to older or inferior windows account for around a quarter of residential heating and cooling use. With that said, not just any new window is up to the task. To maximize your utility savings, homeowners should consider investing in energy-efficient windows. Below we explore some of the options for window replacement, the costs, the benefits, and other helpful considerations.

How Replacement Windows Work

Older windows are prone to issues as a result of their age. For example, if a home settles and shifts over the years, drafts and air holes can result. This means that when homeowners turn on their heater or air conditioning unit, heated or cooled air escapes through the gaps. Unless you fix them, that might as well be dollar bills escaping through those gaps.

In addition, many older window models are single pane.  Those types of windows aren’t great at insulating the interior of your home from noise or weather.

The process for replacing and installing new windows depends on the type of windows you choose. Regardless of the option you ultimately decide on, it’s a good idea to rely on trained professionals to install your windows. Not only does this ensure that your windows function correctly, but it also means the new windows should have an applicable warranty because they were installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Window Installation Costs

The costs of installing new windows depend on a few factors. The national average for window replacement cost is around $500 per window. However, that number doesn’t take into account additional expenses such as replacing the window sash or choosing different glass treatments. The total price tag for new windows depends on the window material, how many windows are replaced, the type of window, the area, and other location-based variables. To get a customized estimate for your window replacement project, you can contact a Ygrene contractor in your area.

The cost will also depend on the type of window you choose, for example, casement, bay, sliding, single-hung, double-hung, picture, awning, transom, or stationary. If the frames of the window need an upgrade, you can choose from wood, vinyl, aluminum, metal, or a composite like fiberglass.

Before deciding on a material type for your frame, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each. For example, vinyl is lightweight but doesn’t do well under the stress of high temperatures. Wood is one of the longest-lived materials, as long as it’s sealed and properly maintained, and can last up to 100 years. But wood is prone to expansion and contraction.

You can also choose to install a storm replacement window, which is a type of window that provides an extra layer of storm protection and insulation. If you live in an area prone to inclement weather, this might be a good investment to protect you and your home.

Potential Savings

Although the initial investment in replacement windows might be substantial, the lifetime savings can quickly start making a difference. For example, in a typical home, ENERGY STAR windows will save $126 to $465 a year when replacing single-pane windows. And when homeowners upgrade double-pane, clear glass windows, they’ll save $27 to $111 a year. Over several years, homeowners can save thousands.

Plus, installing energy-efficient doors and windows may be eligible for PACE financing, an affordable way to upgrade your property.

Benefits of Installing New Windows

Thinking of installing new windows? There are plenty of benefits for undertaking this project, including:

1. Energy Savings

As mentioned above, house window replacement can result in big savings. Well-insulated windows, for example, help reduce the likelihood of extreme external temperatures influencing the indoor temperature, which means you don’t have to constantly adjust the thermostat or stress out your HVAC system.

2. Protection from UV Rays

The sun isn’t just dangerous to your skin, it can also affect the interior of your home. Excessive sun exposure can easily fade your indoor furnishings and even your walls and floors. It may be worthwhile to consider a double-pane or triple-pane glass with argon for added protection against UV rays.

3. Fewer Maintenance Requirements

Replacing your windows with newer models built with modern materials means your windows will outlast bad weather and continue to perform over time. It’s a good idea to look for windows that are easy to clean (wipeable), feature sturdy construction, and boast durable properties. You might even want to consider windows with blinds inside the panes so you can spend less time cleaning and dusting. Fewer house cleaning duties and fewer allergens: it’s a win-win.

4. Safety

Upgraded windows also help improve the overall safety of your home. For example, new types of tempered glass are less likely to splinter into shards that may cause injury when broken. And laminated glass, another glass option, features a polymer inner layer that maintains the integrity of the glass even when shattered.

5. Less Noise

Sometimes white noise can be relaxing, but constant street noise or close proximity to a train station may quickly become irksome. Outdoor noise can be dampened with the right windows. Double-pane or triple-pane windows, in particular, provide great insulation against noise.

6. Increase in Home Value

Window replacement can help increase the value of your home by upgrading a highly visual element. If you’re buying new windows for your property, it’s important to consider aesthetics as well as function and protection from the elements.

Replacement Window Tips

Ready to replace your windows? With so many available options, we’ve gathered some of our top tips to help you narrow it down.

  • Don’t let style win over function: Although it’s easy to be wowed by outer appearance, make sure you research the window model before you choose. Windows can be both beautiful and functional, but most importantly windows should help keep your home comfortable for you and your family.

  • Choose windows with ENERGY STAR and NRFC labels: ENERGY STAR means that the window meets government standards for energy efficiency, so you won’t be wasting energy on unnecessary heating or cooling. The NRFC (the National Fenestration Rating Council) tests, certifies and labels windows and doors according to energy performance. Both ENERGY STAR and NRFC provide reliable ways to choose among different types of windows.

  • For cooler areas: If you live in a cooler climate, you may want to consider a gas-filled window with a low-e (aka low emission) coating. Look for a low U-factor which imparts better resistance against heat in colder climates. The U-factor is the rate at which a window conducts non-solar heat radiation.

  • For hotter areas:  In warmer areas, it’s prudent to choose windows with coatings that reduce heat gain. When you’re searching for new windows, look for a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). SHGC is simply the measure of solar radiation allowed through a window. Low SHGC helps reduce heat gain in warmer areas.

  • For locations with both hot and cold seasons: Choose windows with both low U-factors and low SHGCs to optimize energy savings in areas like Texas that experience both weather extremes.

As a general tip, look for whole unit U factors and SHGCs, instead of center-of-glass U-factors and SHGCs. Whole-unit numbers more accurately reflect the energy performance of the entire product.

Final Thoughts

Although replacing the windows in your home can be a significant investment, it provides long-term benefits for both you and your family. If you’re considering making this energy-efficient home upgrade, you may be eligible for Ygrene’s PACE financing to help you pay for those beautiful new windows. A new set of windows is much more than a pretty addition to your home. New windows can help you improve your home’s energy savings and provide a barrier between your family and outside noise, storms, and the elements.

If you’re ready to replace your windows, but you’re reconsidering because of cost, Ygrene can help. With PACE financing, you can get the windows you need with no money down and no payments for up to a year or more. See if your home qualifies today.