There are only a few things you can do to the exterior of your home to make a dramatic difference in its curb appeal, and none of them have the same effect on your utility bill and home comfort that replacing your windows does. And, until the end of this year, you may receive a tax credit for installing energy-efficient windows.
There’s no question that today’s windows are simply more energy efficient than windows that were manufactured even 15 years ago. If you are concerned with rising utility costs, window replacement might be a great choice for you, and it has the added benefit of allowing you to upgrade and update the look of your home’s exterior as well.
Your first step is to decide which style of window you would like. There are a broad range of styles, shapes, and options available. Ever wanted to change your front window into a bay window? How about adding some decorative glass in the kitchen? Or, do you just want to replace the windows you have with the same style that is more energy-efficient? The choice is yours.
Next, you’ll need to select the material for the window sash. The majority of windows now are made from wood, vinyl, or fiberglass. In the past, aluminum or metal windows were a very popular option but they conduct heat or cold. Whether your choice is wood, vinyl, or fiberglass each has a personal appeal, features, and energy efficiency that meets today’s standards.
Consider the windows’ energy efficiency. Three things to be familiar with:
- The R-value. This is the insulation value of the window, or how well it keeps hot air out in the summer and cold air out in the winter. In windows, the glass and window frames each affect the R-value. You want a window with as high an R-value as possible for maximum utility savings.
- The U-factor. The U-factor measures how much heat is transferred through the entire window unit. You want this as low as possible because no matter what the season, you don’t want heat to make its way through your windows.
- Low-E glass. This glass that keeps heat from radiating. The two types of Low-E glass are hard-coat, or pyrolitic, and vacuum-deposition, or sputter. The main difference is the how well you can see through the glass; sputter is the clearer of the two.
There’s no better time to replace your old, drafty windows with windows that will keep you comfortable all year and keep your utility bills low as well. Until the end of 2013, you may receive a tax credit for installing certain ENERGY STAR qualified windows in your home. You can receive 10% of the cost of the windows, up to $200. For more information on this program, visit www.energystar.gov, or just call us and we’ll answer any questions you may have about the windows you are considering.