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Are Energy-Efficient Windows a Worthwhile Investment?

by Mike Dodd, Home Remodeling Expert
September 07, 2018

Question: Is it worth it to invest in energy-efficient windows?

Answer: Traditional wood windows have lost favor in the marketplace in recent years because of their high cost and low energy efficiency.  That has given rise to vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows with much better U-value ratings and price points.  We are not fans of vinyl windows because of their appearance and lack of versatility with respect to customization and finishing.  Fiberglass, on the other hand, looks more like wood and performs significantly better.  The technological features of today's windows like high-performance glass, Low-E coatings and Argon gas make a real difference, especially in harsher climates that experience both the highs and lows in temperature and humidity.  My advice would be to consult with the sales professional and inquire if there are energy credits available for window replacements (which used to be much more common) and what the expected payback would be for your investment.  At the of the day, however, any window is only going to be as good as the installation of it.  Insist on understanding the installation methodology of the company that you engage to perform the work.  The rough opening of the frame that the window will be installed in must be treated and wrapped in a very precise manner to ensure its long term performance and resulting comfort.  Eliminating air infiltration is another critical factor of the installation process.

Mike Dodd is the founder and President of Lifewise Renovations, that combines home remodeling project management with the expertise of health care professionals, to make it possible live safely and comfortably at home regardless of age or physical ability. As a member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Mike holds the Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) designation.

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