With temperatures beginning to drop and cold winds battering against our 83 year old house, we’ve been giving serious consideration to replacing our original, single pane, wood windows. Our windows also include storm windows that, at one point, guarded against strong gusts of wind (but they are pretty much non-functional at this point).
We do like the aesthetics of our original single pane, wood, windows and most of the 35+ windows in our home are functional. But there is a long list of cons, including:
- Windows are NOT efficient (they let tons of air through the bottom and upper sashes and also along the side of the unit) and are single pane (versus two and three pane for modern windows)
- Windows do not have gas filled panes which help with efficiency.
- Windows are difficult to clean.
My biggest concern in terms of installing new windows is the ROI for all of the new units. According to a few sources, new, modern, windows (versus single pane) can save a homeowner about 20 percent in heating/cooling expenses. However, most high end replacement windows cost upwards of $500+ (and that’s for standard sizes); so I would be looking at about $19,000 (with a few non standard sizes increasing cost) for material costs alone. I would need to add another couple of hundred dollars per window for installation and the cost shoots up to around $25,000. So, I’m thinking I’m going to need at least 15 to 20 years to begin realizing any savings.
However, many families who have installed new windows have reported that their units help with blocking out noise, are more comfortable in general, and of course are easier to clean (versus their single pane counterparts).
So, while the ROI calculation doesn’t exactly scream “you’ve done the right thing”, installing high quality wood replacement windows may be a simple quality of life thing versus a true investment. Let me know if you’ve recently put in new windows or are contemplating doing so in the near future.