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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 4/12/2007

Energy-Saving Window Replacement Tips

You should evaluate the condition of your windows at the change of every season, recommends Bill Lazor, a product expert at Simonton Windows. If you see unusual moisture or frost buildup on the inside of your window panes or if there are consistent drafts coming in through your windows, those are clear signs it s time to consider a window replacement.

Assess your windows by checking around them for hot and cold spots or drafty areas, which can indicate energy loss.

Every building product has a lifespan and windows are no exception, says Lazor.

Older windows can lose their efficiency. They can actually suck the life and energy out of a home causing heating and cooling bills to soar.

Karen Lauer, director of marketing for Air-Tite Home Products, says, Replacement windows last longer than a window in new construction.

You d be surprised how many windows we re replacing in new homes.

She notes that builders do not typically use top-of-the-line windows but that Air-Tite s windows are custom-made for the home.

Ms. Lauer says that Air-Tite windows are Energy Star rated, and that, depending upon a number of variables including the number of windows and their size, a homeowner can see immediate savings of 30 to 45 percent on the energy bills.

Moreover, industry advances such as increased energy efficiency and tilt-in hardware for easy cleaning can also increase the resale value of your home.

Even better news is that replacing your windows may put cash back in your pocket. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, homeowners can recoup 10 percent of the cost of replacing their windows, up to $200. To receive the tax credit, the replacement windows you select must be Energy Star qualified for the region in which you live.

Windows meeting ENERGY STAR guidelines are proven to save on heating and cooling bills, says Lazor. Combined with a glass package that meets ENERGY STAR guidelines, vinyl-framed windows provide exceptional energy savings for the home.

This is the last year for the Energy Tax Credit, Ms. Lauer says.

In addition to looking for drafts and frost, other tips for deciding if it s time to consider a window replacement include the following:

Tip #1 - Look for burnt out areas on your furnishings and carpeting where harmful ultraviolet rays have come through the windows and damaged the interior of your home.

Tip #2 - If your windows no longer open or close easily, or if they need to be propped open, the functional aspect of the windows is gone.

Tip #3 - Check the fit of your current windows by having someone stand outside your windows at night. With a small flashlight, stand inside and travel around the window s seals. If the person outside sees areas of light coming through, this indicates seal failure a probable energy loss.

Tip #4 - Look for condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows. This could indicate seal failure. If this is the case, you might need to replace the glass or the entire window.

Tip #5 - Check every window and door to make sure there is adequate weather stripping and caulking which will ensure a secure seal around the openings in your home.

If it s time to consider a window replacement project, find windows that are suited to your climate. Since vinyl is an excellent insulator, many people choose low-maintenance vinyl frames with Argon or Krypton gasses sandwiched between the sealed glass units. These harmless gasses serve as a barrier to harmful ultraviolet rays. They also help save on energy bills. Look for the Energy Star label when you purchase replacement windows to make certain you re buying windows certified for maximum energy efficiency in your geographic area.

There are a lot of decisions to make when selecting windows, Lazor says. We encourage people to do their homework.

It s important to educate yourself to understand what type of glazing is put on glass, Ms. Lauer says. Low E glass has both hard and soft coatings. The hard coat is better for cold weather areas like ours. The tinting helps reflect the sun out, but lets the warmth of the sun in, adding to energy efficiency.

One homeowner with first-hand experience on the value of replacement windows is Chicago area resident Stu McDowell. To help curb his escalating heating and cooling bills, McDowell replaced 11 old wood windows in his 1954 home with Energy Star qualified windows.

The results? One year after his new windows were installed, representatives from Northern Illinois Gas asked to inspect McDowell s gas meter for possible faultiness. Because his energy usage was so low compared to prior years, the gas company was concerned his meter was malfunctioning.

There was nothing wrong with our meter, says McDowell. It was our window investment paying off. We estimate that our new windows save us almost 50 percent on our gas bills. By specifying upgrades like triple pane glass and Krypton gas we made an investment in our home that will continue paying us dividends for many years to come.

We ve got a typical Chicago five-step ranch house like many other area residents. If we re saving this much on our energy bills by replacing just a dozen windows, imagine what other homeowners could save. So, at a time when gas prices are soaring all over the country, our bills are like something out of yesteryear!

Courtesy of ARA Content



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