Should You Replace Those Windows?
I live in Minneapolis where many people have a love-hate relationship with their old, original windows. While people love and want to keep the character and look of the original wood, they are often frustrated by the leakiness of the windows. Cost is also a factor as full replacement wood windows are priced extremely high. What to do?? I recently came across an article from Green Building Advisor that helps to address this conundrum.
First off, it is important to understand that the financial payback from replacing or even fixing windows is very long. At about 1% to 4% of your heating bill, the savings from full window replacements is much less than many window contractors advertise and can lead to payback periods of 100 to 300 years. That’s a lot longer than the life of the window! However, this doesn’t mean your windows aren’t worth fixing or replacing – you have to keep in mind that comfort and functionality are important too! It might make sense for you to replace or refurbish your windows if any of them:
- don’t work properly
- are rotten
- don’t have proper weather stripping
- don’t have proper storm windows
If you are considering taking action with your old windows, I would suggest refurbishing if possible. It usually costs significantly less than a full replacement and still provides almost the same level of efficiency as completely new windows. This amazing graph from Preservation Green Lab shows the energy benefits of various window repairs and considering the high cost difference between these upgrades, it is pretty clear that in most cases your best bet is to refurbish.
I hope this information will help you make the best decision for the comfort of your family and the preservation of your home. Take a look at the original article for more tips about dealing with old windows.