We know, we know. Just writing those words hurt our hearts. But it’s true: the first day of Fall (has come and gone), which means Winter is right around the corner. Now is the time to weatherize your home before the heat is blasting in (and probably escaping out of) your home. Did you know that the amount of heat escaping through cracks in the average house is equivalent to having an open window year round? Inadequate insulation and air leakage are the leading causes of energy waste in homes. Cut down on the chilly drafts, reduce your heating bills, and slash your overall home energy use this winter with the following tips:
Get an energy audit. Make an appointment for an energy rater, as they’re also called, to come to your home and assess its energy performance and recommend a solution. You can find energy raters through the Residential Energy Services Network or from Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Do a walk-through of your home and look for cracks, holes, leaks, and drafty areas. Make sure to check around windows and doors, electrical outlets, heating vents, fireplaces, baseboards, and attic spaces. Apply weather-stripping around drafty doorjambs and windowsills, and use sealant or caulking to fill in the cracks in ceilings and floors. Weather stripping can be purchased at most major retail stores and comes in vinyl, spring metal or adhesive-backed varieties. An expanding foam sealant is best for large cracks, while caulk works better on small holes and gaps. The Energy Department also has tips on performing this DIY energy audit.
Inspect your heating system. Chances are your heater has some faulty ducts, so you’re losing a large percentage of your heat. Check the furnace filters and replace them as needed. Have a professional check and clean the system once a year.
Drain Your Outside Water Pipes. Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than ten to 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.
Check the fireplace. If you have a fireplace, make sure you plug the flue when it’s not in use.
Seal the windows. Install storm windows if you’re able; if not, you can purchase plastic sheeting which is taped to the window and then shrunk with a hair dryer, creating a tight seal around the window and essentially “shrink-wrapping” it.
Make sure you have proper insulation. Many older homes do not have sufficient insulation. To check for insulation in your walls, make a small hole in an unobtrusive place (perhaps in a closet) to see what the wall cavity is filled with. Also look for uneven levels or gaps in your attic insulation. Anything less than 6 inches of insulation won’t be effective in combating drafts and keeping the temperature of your home constant. A thermographic scan will give you a complete read-out of your wall’s insulation.
Replacing windows throughout a home can be a big investment. But it’s an investment with great payback.
Here are some basic guidelines for average-sized windows in an average home.
You should establish your budget even before beginning your project. EnergyGuard Windows and Doors can give you a free ballpark estimate on how much it might cost to replace your windows. It’s hard to provide an accurate cost range as a house can vary greatly in the number and size of its windows.
Expect to pay an average of $500-$800 per window for replacements placed inside structurally sound window frames. It could go as high as $1,000 per window depending on the frame material and glass options. Double- and triple-glazed windows, or those filled with argon gas, increase energy savings but bump the cost to the higher end of the scale.
If an existing window frame is rotted or damaged in any way, the frame must be rebuilt. This can increase the cost and necessitate the use of new construction windows.
Other budgeting considerations:
Make decisions based on value and quality
Think about having the work done in stages to spread out the financial impact
Years of Great Payback
High-quality, energy-efficient replacement windows are annually demonstrated to be an excellent investment (Reduce energy consumption, drafts, improve natural light, etc.).
Today’s energy-efficient windows and patio doors also can:
Reduce energy consumption.
Reduce drafts and make your home more comfortable.
Improve natural light and reduce glare.
Help you take advantage of solar heat gain in cold climates or minimize it in hot climates.
Provide years of easy operation and weather-tight seals.
Drastically minimize care and maintenance (particularly if the windows are made of vinyl or aluminum, or have fiberglass exteriors).
Reduce window condensation.
Protect draperies, carpets and upholstery from fading or discoloring.
Money is still pretty tight for most families and a good deal of the monthly budget seems to end up in the pockets of the utility companies. It’s seems that the less you make every month, the more they seem intent on driving up their prices. What people may not understand is that the way their home is configured is what could actually be contributing to the amount that they pay. Old windows and doors can allow air from outside to creep in, making it harder for the heating or AC to keep up with the job of keeping the interior temperature comfortable.
One way to save on those bills is to make the switch to energy efficient windows and doors so that your heating and cooling units don’t have to work overtime to maintain the temperature. Double glazed windows are excellent at keeping air and city sounds out where they belong and they also add value to the home should you ever decide it’s time to move on.
The problem that many folks face is the initial cost of the replacement windows and installation, but if you are one of those types who is pretty handy, then you may be able to tackle some of the job on your own.
This is especially true if it’s a straight switch in windows and there is no extra construction to be done. At EnergyGuard Windows & Doors, we offer many do it yourself window replacement tips that will help you get the job down quickly and efficiently.
Here are 3 window replacement tips to get you started:
No tip may be as important as making sure that you get the measurements exactly correct. Even being off by less than an inch can mean gaps that will end up leading to the problems that had you going with a window and door replacement in the first place.
Once you have the measurements down pat, you will want to be sure to visit a reputable dealer in windows and doors to be sure that you get replacements that will stand the test of time. (We might just know where you can go for this…)
You are also going to have to decide if the trim that is around your existing windows is reusable, and if not, then that’s another good reason to visit a good dealer as they can help match you up with the trim that best suits your new windows. You may also be able to work out a deal where you can get a great set of replacement windows with installation included in the final price, and all within your budget.
If you do decide to go it alone with your window replacement project, then help is just a phone call away. We will be able to tell you exactly what tools that you need to complete the project and we will always be happy to answer any questions that you may have about the job.
Most people can look at their home with a critical eye and see the areas that need to be improved upon. Problem is, the eyes can often fool us into glossing over the windows and doors, both of which may need a complete overhaul for a number of different reasons.
One of the major reasons that forces people to look at window replacement is the rising cost of utilities. It’s not uncommon for the windows and doors in an older home to start developing gaps and leaks that cause the heating or AC to work a little harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home. That in turn leads to the bills starting to creep up to the point where that brown envelope every month is dreaded more than the month before.
Window replacement can help bring those bills down to a level where brown becomes the new white and the cost of replacing the doors and windows is made back in no time at all.
By adding a little “pizzazz” to your home with some great looking windows and doors, you can add curb appeal and value to your home as well. This is especially true if you go with energy efficient windows and doors, both of which are a great selling point when it comes time to put your home on the market.
If you spend more time looking through your windows than actually looking at them, then it might be time to switch that around and see if they can be improved. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not as expensive as you might have imagined, and that by looking out of your beautiful new replacement windows, you may just see the outside world in a brand new light.
When you decide it’s time for replacement windows for your home, you have a lot of options in brands, styles, and energy-efficient features. However, if you want the best windows for your Portland Metro home, consider the features offered by Milgard windows and for installation choose Five Star Dealer, EnergyGuard Windows & Doors!
Watch this video to hear homeowners talk about why choosing Milgard & EnergyGuard are the perfect choice for your new windows.
EnergyGuard has over 30+ years experience in window installation. Call the Installation experts at EnergyGuard for a Free in home consultation today at 503-554-5500 or submit our online consultation request.