Replacing your windows could bring huge benefits that far outweigh the cost of the windows and installation. Windows are one of the biggest factors in heat exchange between the inside of your home and the air outside. New windows that reduce the exchange of heat from the exterior to the interior are both; a very smart remodeling decision, and for that reason, the most popular home improvement project in the U.S., today. Old, inefficient windows mean that you are wasting natural resources and spending money for heating and cooling inside your home, that is actually going right out the windows.
A study by the Rocky Mountain Institute found that the heating cost with a single pane window is $356. Using double pane windows reduces the cost to $178. Adding a low-e coating (low emissivity) and exterior storm windows reduces that cost even more, down to just $100. Other studies, by various window manufacturers, show that replacement windows can save one-fourth to one-half of the energy needed to heat and cool a home.
When you reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home, you save money and you reduce your demand for electricity, natural gas, heating oil, or whatever energy you use. Another important fact about window replacement is that installing new windows will also increase the value of your home by as much as 90% of the cost for the windows.
The best windows to prevent transfer of heat through windows are wood, vinyl, fiberglass and foam. Metal frames, such as aluminum, are the worst because they don’t have insulating properties. Glass, itself, also conducts a lot of heat. But there are ways to make windows more efficient. Double-pane windows have a space between the panes of glass. This provides insulation when the air between the panes absorbs some of the heat and some of the cooler air and stays at a temperature between the two extremes. This will make your windows more efficient. If you buy windows that have a gas in the space between the panes, such as argon, the window will be twice as efficient as a plain double-pane window. If the gas used is Krypton, instead of Argon, the window becomes another 50% more efficient.
The next step up would be to install triple-pane windows. This offers two neutralizing air chambers between the three panes of glass. A triple-pane window filled with Argon gas will be 50% more efficient than a double-pane window with Argon. If you upgrade to a triple-pane window filled with Krypton gas, the windows become 2.5 times more efficient in insulating your home than a double-pane window filled with Argon. Finally, if you add a low-e coating to that window, you will allow light to pass through; but, you will block heat loss, due to the heat of the sunlight (UV) by 40% to 70%.
If you want to make your home more energy efficient and save on your heating and cooling bills, new replacement windows will certainly accomplish your goal. You will also increase the value of your home. If you live in a region that experiences some extremes of heat and cold, you will probably find that the reduction in your heating and cooling bills will pay-off very quickly. The investment will certainly pay for itself in a matter of years. And with your new windows, you can enjoy the view even more, because you will know you are saving cost and valuable natural resources.