How to choose replacement windows

Unlike some ads, saving energy costs isn’t a reason to replace your windows. That’s because it can take decades to amortize the $ 8,000 to $ 24,000 you spend on new windows and installation. Energy Star qualified windows can cut your energy bills by 7 to 15 percent. That’s only $ 27 to $ 111 a year for a 2,000-square-foot, single-story home with storm or double-pane windows, or $ 126 to $ 465 if that house has single-pane windows. Why bother?

New windows can make your home quieter, more attractive and less drafty and do not need to be painted. They are also easier to clean than old storm and screen combination windows and can reduce your carbon footprint.

To check which windows can keep rain and wind out without leaking, we tested 21 double-hanging and four casement windows, two of the most popular configurations. We’ve seen significant differences between brands in terms of types and frame materials. Working with an outdoor laboratory, we exposed the windows to heavy wind-driven rain and winds of 25 and 50 miles per hour with outside temperatures of 0 ° F and 70 ° F.

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

The price does not indicate any service

Among the double-hanging wooden windows, an expensive, lower-rated Andersen ($ 500) window wasn’t good at keeping out cold air and was mediocre at keeping out rain. A $ 450 Kolbe Vinyl Double-Hung was impressive, but a top-rated $ 260 Simonton was even better. All casement windows passed all tests. Prices vary depending on the frame material; The top-rated American Craftsman vinyl window ($ 260) is the cheapest sash. All prices are for a 3×5 foot window.

Adapt windows to the climate

See the total score in our Reviews window and determine the test scores that apply to where you live. If your home is exposed to high winds and cold temperatures, look for windows that have excelled in being able to withstand low temperatures.

Don’t spend too much on options

Upgrades can easily increase the basic cost of a window by 50 percent or more. Focus on features that add value. Low-E coatings improve efficiency, but triple glazing is likely only required if you live in an extremely cold climate. Double casements that tilt inward make cleaning easy, and full-screen screens allow for optimal airflow when the upper window is lowered and the lower window raised. Fine-meshed screens let more light through and obscure the view less than standard screens.

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