For a balanced evaluation of replacement windows costs, evaluate not only the window replacement costs. Look into the fine grain details and look into all the benefits you can anticipate from the new replacement windows. If you build a new home, pay special attention to the windows, the windows can make a big difference on the way your home look like and on your household energy bills. Whether old or new, a better price can be achieved for a home that is equipped with nice looking, energy efficient windows
What is the trigger to replace the windows?
There are many reasons why an homeowner would consider windows replacement. The reasons might be:
Condensation issues and leak issues either between the walls and the frames or between the frames and the sashes
The existing windows are out fashioned, they don't provide enough light and view, and in general they don't have the desired look and feel
The windows replacement is one more item on a broader house renovation project
The homeowner wants to reduce the energy bills related to heating, cooling and lighting
Whatever the trigger is, replacing the windows must end up with a more energy efficient home. The saving on domestic energy bills will eventually balance the investment in the new energy efficient windows within a few years.
2 levels of windows replacement
There are two levels of windows replacement.
The higher level of the two is to replace the frames and to install new windows into the new frames. Such a "deep surgery" is required if corrosion or distortion of the old frames caused water or air to leak through micro cracks and crevices that were formed between the frame and the walls.
The lower level is to install the new windows in the original frames. The sashes and the side jambs are replaced and the new windows are installed. Minor handling of the old frame might be necessary
Obviously, the full highest level of replacement windows costs is higher than the cost of the lower level, however replacing log stock and barrel the entire window (frames and glass) is sometimes unavoidable. I personally believe that in the long run a complete job (frame and glass) will prove itself cheaper and better over the years.
Energy Star labels and 2011 Windows Tax Credit
The Department of Energy (DOE) in conjunction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an ENERGY STAR labeling for windows that meet energy efficient windows standards. The required performance is not the same in the different climate zones of the US. On the label that is placed on the window there is a zone map that clearly shows the climate zones for which the product is intended to be used. Make sure the product is built to be installed in your climate region. Replacement windows, doors and skylights installed in 2011 may qualify for a federal tax credit of 10% of the purchase price. This windows tax credit allows a tax credit of up to $200 on windows and skylights. This tax credit can alleviate a bit the burden of the replacement windows costs, some states and counties established additional home improvement incentives. Like most other high cost home improvements, shop wisely and get quotes from more than one contractor. It is important to get the job done in a short time, a good contractor will bring with him a big team to complete the project in the shortest time possible. Needless to say that the winter is not the best time for windows replacement.
Window Replacement Costs and Expected Annual Saving
Replacing windows is not a cheap proposition, the cost can run between $300 to $700 per window. The annual saving in energy bill can run between $126 and $465 per a single pane window according to the official Energy Star official estimate for different US locations. The estimated saving is for Energy Star approved windows. Windows that are not built to the Energy Star standard are not as efficient as certified windows.