Replacement of windows

Choosing the Right Replacement Windows for Your Home

Contrary to what some ads say, saving money on your energy bills is not the reason to replace your windows. That’s because it could take decades to recoup the $8, 000 to $24, 000 you’ll spend on new windows and installation. Energy Star-qualified windows can lower your energy bills by 7 to 15 percent. That’s only about $27 to $111 per year for a 2, 000-square-foot, single-story home with storm or double-pane windows, or $126 to $465 if that home has just single-pane windows. So why bother?

New windows can make your home quieter, more attractive, and less drafty, and they don’t need painting. They’re also easier to clean than old windows with combination storm and screens and can reduce your carbon footprint.

To check which windows can keep out rain and wind without leaking, we tested 21 double-hung and four casement-style windows, two of the most popular configurations. We found significant differences between brands in types and frame materials. Working with an outside lab, we subjected the windows to heavy, wind-driven rain and winds of 25 and 50 mph at outdoor temperatures of 0° F and 70° F.

Replacing windows involves many decisions. If you want new windows, we’ll help you choose the best ones for your home. Here’s what you need to know.

Price doesn’t indicate performance

Among double-hung clad wood windows, a pricey and bottom-rated window from Andersen, $500, wasn’t good at keeping out cold air and was so-so at keeping out rain. A $450 Kolbe vinyl double-hung was impressive, but a top-rated $260 Simonton was even better. All of the casement windows aced all tests. Prices varied by frame material; the top-scoring American Craftsman vinyl window, $260, is the least expensive casement. All prices are for a 3x5-foot window.

Match windows to climate

Look at the overall scores in our window Ratings, then zero in on test results that apply to where you live. If your home is exposed to high winds and cold temperatures, look for windows that were excellent at low-temperature wind resistance.

Don’t overspend on options

Upgrades can easily add 50 percent or more to the base cost of a window. Focus on features that add value. Low-E coatings improve efficiency, but triple glazing probably isn’t necessary unless you live in an extremely cold climate. Double-hung window sashes that tilt in make cleaning easier, and full screens allow optimum airflow when the top window is lowered and bottom window raised. Finer meshed screens let more light through and do not obscure the view as much as standard screens.

Nationwide Air Conditioning Window Unit Replacement Vinyl Accordian Side Panel Kit
Home (Nationwide)
  • Fits frames up to 21 high and 12 wide
  • Off-white color coordinates with any air conditioner
  • Complete instructions on package
  • 90-day limited warranty
  • 2 Vinyl side panels and 4 self-stick mounting tracks
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Sellstrom Manufacturing Company Sellstrom 36000 Polycarbonate Replacement Windows, 6-1/2" Width x 19-1/2" Height x 0.040" Thickness, Clear, For 380 Series Protective Faceshield
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  • avatar How to Replace a Window Pane.
    • If a window pane breaks in your home, you might wish to replace it as soon as possible to keep out bugs, rain or uncomfortable temperatures. Fortunately, you do not need to replace the entire frame (or sash), and you can replace a damaged pane easily at minimal cost by following these instructions.