WIndow shopping: Energy-efficient ones save money

Are your windows leaking air? Are they getting more difficult to open? Is the wood frame rotting?

Homeowners choose to replace their windows for a variety of reasons, from energy efficiency to aesthetics.

“It might be the seals have failed or the wood has rotted,” said Kerry Haglund, senior research fellow at the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota.

Or homeowners might be looking to replace leaky windows to keep heat or air conditioning in, or they might want added UV protection to protect furniture from fading in the sunlight.

No matter what the motivation, new windows can be costly. “They’re too expensive to think you’re going to get your money back either in terms of energy savings or when you’re selling your house,” said Kit Selzer, a senior editor for Better Homes and Gardens.

Still, new energy-efficient windows can make your home more comfortable in winter and summer, and more attractive. Haglund recommends choosing the most energy-efficient window you can.

The cost for a new window can range from hundreds of dollars to $1,000 or more, depending on the frame, style — double-hung or casement, for example — and whether you choose single, double or triple pane glass. Decorative elements can add to the price.

A casement window might be be a good option in windy areas, said Gary Pember, vice president of marketing for Simonton Windows. “As the wind increases, they become more efficient because of the way they seal,” he said.

A double-hung that opens only from the top might be a good choice for someone looking for increased security, he said.

Older homeowners or those who think they’ll stay in their homes as they age might want to consider a window they don’t have to lift.

Frames come in wood, vinyl, aluminum and other materials.

Wood frames are more traditional, but require regular painting.

“If you’re wanting something maintenance-free, you can’t get anything better than vinyl,” Pember said. There are many options now for vinyl frames, including a variety of colors. You can also get a wood interior and a vinyl exterior.

Selzer said aluminum frames are more contemporary, but also more expensive.

Most windows sold today are double pane, although people in northern climates may choose a triple pane, Haglund said.

The Energy Star and National Fenestration Rating Council labels can help you compare windows. Consumers may be most familiar with the U-factor, which tells you how much heat can escape through the window. The labels also include information on how much light and heat from the sun is transmitted through the window.

While Haglund urges homeowners not to scrimp on energy efficiency, she said there are other ways to save money short of full window replacement.

A new window can be fitted into existing frames that are in good condition.

Or, she said, you can replace just the sash, the part of the window that contains the glass. Again, this would only work if the frame is in good condition.

If you decide not to invest in new windows, you can increase the energy efficiency of your existing ones:

“Storm windows are certainly a good idea,” Selzer said.

Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal any leaks around the frame.

And insulating draperies or other window treatments also can help increase comfort.

“They’re so much more tailored and thinner than they used to be,” she said. “Old insulating treatments were very bulky, like putting up blankets. Now, they’re certainly sleek and more effective.

Online

•Help for homeowners: myfixituplife.com/DIY

Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota: efficient windows.org

Federal Trade Commission on windows: tinyurl.com/9kb36ae.

More in Herald Business Journal

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Washington, Amazon sue company over seller training programs

Braintree is accused of using deceptive ads promising information on how to make money on Amazon.

The Marine Corps’ version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is designed to land vertically like a helicopter. (Lockheed Martin)
F-35 fighter costs, $1 trillion over 60 years, draw scrutiny

Pentagon’s ability to repair F-35 parts at military depots is six years behind schedule.

Incidents of severe disturbances on commercial flights climb

The number of cases in which the cabin crew had to restrain a passenger rose to 169 last year.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company’s new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Funko starts to bounce back after disappointing stock debut

The Everett toys-and-collectibles maker also announced the acquisition of an animation studio.

Now hiring: Younger factory workers, at Boeing and elsewhere

The company and its training partners are fighting perceptions of a dying manufacturing industry.

‘The President Stole Your Land’: Patagonia, REI blast Trump

The outdoor recreation industry is allied with Indian tribes and conservationists.

Most Read