If you own an older home with its original windows , you may want to consider replacing them. Today's windows offer better energy efficiency than the single panes from decades ago. They also let in less noise from the outside world. Add to those reasons the functionality available with some new windows, such as casements that turn around and double-hung models that tilt inward, which make them much easier to clean.
To get the best price possible on new windows, educate yourself about the different types of windows, glass, and frames available and then learn how to estimate the cost of replacement windows.
Horizontal Sliding Windows
This type of window does exactly what its name states: It slides open horizontally. Typically, only one sash slides, with the other permanently in place.
These windows open vertically, and just like with the horizontal model one of the sashes - usually the top - stays in place. There are some models that allow you to open either sash, and tilt-out versions let you fold them in or out for easy cleaning; consider this type of window if you have multiple stories that would make window cleaning on the top floors a challenge.
Awning and Hopper Windows
An awning window features a hinge at the top and opens outward from there just like its namesake. Hoppers have the hinge at the bottom and open like their namesake, as well.
These taller windows open outward on a vertical hinge via a handle. With this type, any screens would need to be on the inside instead of the outside.
With all of these types of windows, different panes and frames are available. Double-pane glass increases energy efficiency thanks to two panes with an airtight space in between filled with inert gas, providing extra insulation. While less common, you can even purchase triple-pane windows.
Frames come in more materials than just wood these days. Fiberglass, aluminum or other metal, and vinyl or PVC are all options, with fiberglass offering the best energy efficiency.
Window Replacement Calculators
Websites such as homewyse.com allow you to estimate the low and high ends of replacement windows in your area. For example, the low cost within the 77008 Zip code for one replacement window is $244.88 and the high $282.82. Labor to install the window is $83.15 for low and $161.21 for high. Add to that $20 and $25, respectively for materials and supplies, including fasteners, shims, flashing, drip cap, perimeter insulation and exterior caulking. The total average prices for that Zip code come out to $348.04 per window as a low and $469.03 as a high.
Energy Savings From Replacement Windows
While the government tax credit for replacing windows with Energy Star-qualified products expired in 2013, you'll still see savings on your energy bills. Energy Star estimates that a typical home sees $126 to $465 in savings a year when replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star models. At the Energy Star website , you can see how much a home in your particular area of the country can save.
For example, states in New England see the largest amount of savings at $465, with California coming in at the bottom end of $126 due to its moderate climate. Other areas with high savings include South Atlantic and the Northwest at $446 and $460, respectively. When you decide whether or not to move ahead with this project, factor in these savings and see the cost as an investment in lowering your future utility bills.
Also do the math on how much tools and other materials will cost if you think the DIY route might be an option. You will likely find that a professional handyman provides a more efficient timetable as well as a higher quality of work.