Author Topic: Replace the windows in my house?  (Read 25375 times)

noob515

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Replace the windows in my house?
« on: December 19, 2012, 11:10:15 AM »
My husband and I bought a house last January.  My husband wants to replace the windows in order to save energy costs. 

Our house was built in 1999, and the windows are original, cheap builder-grade single pane wood frame windows.  We have noticeable drafts, plus the screens are broken on many of them, which means we can't leave the windows open for heating/cooling purposes - we have cats, and without screens, they would just jump out the window and get hit by a car or something (and this is not something I am going to risk). 

My husband would like to upgrade to double pane not-wood frame (because I'm so knowledgable about windows, i forget what the other choice is) argon-filled low-e windows.  The windows he wants are maybe $185 each, and we have 15 windows that would be replaced.  Now, my husband works at Lowes, and would get a 10% employee discount.  I don't know what installation charges would be, or if his discount applies to installation.  So $2500 for the windows, and maybe $3000 for installation?  So possibly $5500 to do the whole house. 

It sure sounds like it would take a while before I save $5500, but on the other hand, since we're currently always using air or heat rather than using Mother Nature, maybe it wouldn't take quite as many years as I'm thinking?  And we do plan on staying in the house for a very long time, so eventually wouldn't we need/want to replace them anyway?

I feel like new windows isn't really worth it, but it never hurts to ask around for other people's opinions.  :)

totoro

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 11:16:48 AM »
It will increase the value you of your home if you are going to sell one day.   

I had old single pane aluminum windows in the first place I bought and they were not only energy inefficient, they had a lot of condensation/mould in winter.  Replacing them was the best thing ever for comfort and health.  I wouldn't hestitate to do this on any property I owned for these reasons alone, but we did save on heating too.

I would say go for it if you have the money to do it.  This would be way higher on the list for me than the more common kitchen upgrade.

Another Reader

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 11:20:30 AM »
In your shoes, I would replace the screens and insulate the windows from inside in the winter.  With cats, you can't use the thin film inserts, but there are other ways to create the dual pane effect.  Insulated window coverings are also inexpensive.  There's a thread on making them here somewhere.  You will NEVER get your window replacement cost back, even with the discount, at resale.

totoro

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 11:31:24 AM »
Another Reader is likely right that it is more economic to insulate your windows.  I prefer to replace myself because I'm willing to risk losing on this for the comfort and health benefits.  You can read more here:

http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/replacing-windows-save-energy-costs-2217.html

If you have single-pane windows, replacing them with Energy Star-qualified products will save you between $126 and $465 a year, depending on the number of windows you replace and where in the United States you live.

Americans can apply for a federal tax credit. You don't need to replace all the windows in your house to qualify, but you must use Energy Star windows as replacements. The 2011 tax credit will reimburse 10 percent of your cost, up to $200. It also applies to new windows, as long as they are Energy Star-qualified.

Although replacing windows will save you money on your energy bill, other approaches can be more effective and cost you less to implement. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends starting with window insulation, which can be as simple as covering the windows in plastic (see References 5). According to Energy Star, you should first check your home for leaks, including heating and cooling ducts, doors and cracks (see Resources 2). Improve your home's insulation, and receive a 2011 federal tax credit for 10 percent of the cost, up to $500 (see References 2). But consider replacing windows if you notice moisture entering your house; that can lead to mold growth, which is more dangerous than high energy costs (see References 5).

Also, see: http://www.homeinsight.com/details.asp?url_id=3&WT.cg_n=Publications&WT.cg_s=0&GCID=bhph1
for resale value

Blackbomber

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 11:40:27 AM »
You will NEVER get your window replacement cost back, even with the discount, at resale.

I don't know if I agree with that. It might depend on the housing market at the time, but it makes a difference. In my case, I passed on houses that needed window upgrades. In the towns I was shopping, a bit of a bidding war was going on for a few of the houses I offered on. One less bidder interested could mean loosing $5k or more in potential sale price.

Fun fact: I actually ended up buying a home that needed both windows AND a kitchen update to be what we wanted. But it was $85k under our budget, and we had lost out on so many other homes that we kind of settled, but I don't regret it.

Jamesqf

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2012, 11:42:33 AM »
Can the two of you do the installation yourself?  (Perhaps spreading it over a couple of years.)

I replaced mine (1960s vintage aluminum frame, very leaky in a place where 60-80 mph winter winds are common), and did much other insulation upgrades.  I certainly think it was worth it just for the increased comfort, even if I hadn't saved a cent on heating costs.  As it is, though, I use no A/C - the house stays at a comfortable temperature except on a handful of afternoons (and those give me an excust to take off and go to the lake), while about 80% of my heating is done with a small wood-burning fireplace insert.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2012, 12:04:36 PM »
First, I am surprised that a house built in 1999 has single pane windows. Second the above posters are right - even if some are conflicting.


You will NEVER get your window replacement cost back, even with the discount, at resale.

I don't know if I agree with that. It might depend on the housing market at the time, but it makes a difference. In my case, I passed on houses that needed window upgrades. In the towns I was shopping, a bit of a bidding war was going on for a few of the houses I offered on. One less bidder interested could mean loosing $5k or more in potential sale price.

Fun fact: I actually ended up buying a home that needed both windows AND a kitchen update to be what we wanted. But it was $85k under our budget, and we had lost out on so many other homes that we kind of settled, but I don't regret it.

This is only true if other homes in your area have windows that are ancient or have major issues, but if they are all like yours 10-15 years there will be little difference in price so no payback. 

Can the two of you do the installation yourself?  (Perhaps spreading it over a couple of years.)


Installation - replacement windows (for typical size) are about as easy of a DIY project as there is - once you do the first one to figure it out the others shouldn't take more than 20 minutes each.  If you Dh works at Lowes there should be someone there that can give pointers. 


If you have single-pane windows, replacing them with Energy Star-qualified products will save you between $126 and $465 a year, depending on the number of windows you replace and where in the United States you live.

Maybe but I started realizing that the savings from these estimates is a bunch of BS when I added up how much I could be saving with efficient lighting, windows, HVAC, etc. and realized a problem when the figures added up to be lower than my utility bill actually averages without said upgrades.  Don't get me wrong, there are true savings but I think the published estimates are based on some crazy assumptions.


DoubleDown

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 12:07:56 PM »
I will second what Another Reader says about not recovering the cost of replacement windows upon selling the house. Windows are a basic part of a house that are expected to be there and in good working order, just like a roof or working plumbing. No one will pay more just because the windows are new or upgraded. But, as BlackBomber's experience demonstrates, having good windows can make for an easier sale -- but it will not generally translate to more $$$.

On the flip side, it can be very difficult selling a house with windows in disrepair, because probably 90-95% of potential buyers are not able/willing to look past that or put in the effort to replace them. Particularly in a buyer's market, they will just literally drive away before even stepping out of the car to look and not give the house another consideration.

So you might decide to get new windows or not, I would just heed Another Reader's advice about not expecting to recover a bunch of the costs when you eventually sell. But if they look bad and are in disrepair, having them replaced could make it much easier (or even possible) to sell one day.

FWIW I am not against replacement. We recently had our 50 y.o. windows replaced; they were ugly, extremely inefficient, and dysfunctional (hard or impossible to open/close).

Blackbomber

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 12:25:17 PM »
You know what's even easier to replace than windows? SCREENS! Since keeping the windows closed all the time due to lack of screens seems to be a bigger energy concern than the single pane factor itself, why not replace the screens (in addition to a winter time temp. insulation film, or something)? Are the screen frames gone or bad? I've never dealt with that, but I imagine it doesn't take more than a hacksaw and frame kit to put that right. And I've rescreened several windows and doors over the years (usually BECAUSE the pets wreck them). A roll of screening, some spline, an install tool (5 bucks or so) and you're off and running. You might even consider switching from fiberglass to aluminum screen, which will be tougher to install, but last longer if the cats are the cause of the damage.

Another Reader

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 12:32:07 PM »
There is a claw-resistant heavy duty fiberglass screening material that has been effective for me.  I redid the patio door screens with it around 10 years ago and they are still intact and functioning.  If you have aluminum sliding windows, your screens may lift out of the window frame, leading to unwanted escapes.  You may have to take steps to block determined cats from using that technique.

Blackbomber

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 12:41:01 PM »
There is a claw-resistant heavy duty fiberglass screening material that has been effective for me.
That's good to know. The aluminum stuff (which I honestly haven't seen in years) looks pretty shabby after a while, when it oxidizes.

totoro

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 12:47:27 PM »
I love this site.  Someone always has answers that make sense :)

noob515

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 01:02:53 PM »
You know what's even easier to replace than windows? SCREENS! ...... You might even consider switching from fiberglass to aluminum screen, which will be tougher to install, but last longer if the cats are the cause of the damage.

Wow, I feel kind of dumb for not thinking about just doing the screens... The cats aren't the cause of the damage, luckily they just want to sit and smell the fresh air while bird watching.  I'm just neurotic that they'll fall/jump out of a window and get hurt or something.  But that's definitely something to consider.

Tooq - yes, we were a little surprised about single panes too, but our neighborhood was apparently built with the cheapest materials possible.

My husband also suggested the insulation film, but I'm not sure how that would work in regards to letting the sun in during winter to help heat the house.  (we did a similar window film in our ground-floor apartments so people couldn't see in, but it always made the place too dark for my liking).  He does want the Energy Star windows, but I thought the tax credits expired on that sort of thing.  I'll have to look into that.  I'll also have to see if the hubby is willing to borrow a tall ladder and install the windows himself....

Thanks for the input everyone!

Blackbomber

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 01:10:04 PM »
The film I'm thinking of is that stuff that is kind of like Saran wrap that you cover the entire window from corner to corner by using double sided tape on the molding. Then you shrink it taught with a hair dryer, and it becomes near invisible. It creates an insulating air gap between it and the glass, and will also help a little with drafts. It won't block any light, and you will still gain solar warmth with it in place. I used it in the upstairs of my last home, and it made a noticable difference even with (drafty) dual pane windows and storm windows.

noob515

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 01:33:40 PM »
Oh okay, that's different than the stuff we've used before.  We used window film that was essentially a big sticker that you put on the panes.

James

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2012, 01:46:12 PM »
Storm windows are another option, they could provide the insulation and screen all in one package that you screw on the outside of the window.

Jamesqf

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2012, 02:19:48 PM »
The film I'm thinking of is that stuff that is kind of like Saran wrap that you cover the entire window from corner to corner by using double sided tape on the molding.

Or you can make light insulating frames from the same material, which is what I did for a few years before I got around to actually replacing my old windows.  Make light frames out of 1x1 lumber (find some usable scrap if you're really cheap), just a little smaller than the window.  (Do 2-3 sections for wide windows.)  Apply the film to these frames, then glue a strip of thin foam around the outside so as to make them a tight press fit in the existing window frames. 

Blackbomber

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2012, 02:27:20 PM »

Or you can make light insulating frames from the same material, which is what I did for a few years before I got around to actually replacing my old windows.  Make light frames out of 1x1 lumber (find some usable scrap if you're really cheap), just a little smaller than the window.  (Do 2-3 sections for wide windows.)  Apply the film to these frames, then glue a strip of thin foam around the outside so as to make them a tight press fit in the existing window frames. 

That's brilliant. I always hated the hassle of getting all the adhesive off of the molding every spring. Plus the temps are so whacky here in the fall, I waited longer to use the film than I would have if removal was that simple.

stealmystapler

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2012, 02:29:37 PM »
I agree with previous posters that repairs may be best in your case.

Particularly for Mustachians owning older houses (or I suppose also in this case with single pane windows!), I highly recommend glancing through the National Trust for Historic Preservation's brand new window study. To challenge the idea that replacing windows was more cost- and energy-efficient, they did a study to determine the benefits of various window repairs versus replacement. In nearly every case, repairs were more cost effective. I especially appreciate that they included cities in various regions of the country (Portland, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, and Phoenix) so it is easy to find which example might be most relevant to you.

http://www.preservationnation.org/information-center/sustainable-communities/sustainability/green-lab/saving-windows-saving-money/

I suspect with the data-driven / cost-saving / DIY attitudes I see so often here on the forums, that this should provide welcome information. And perhaps for some of you, no surprises!

Forcus

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2012, 03:14:31 PM »
Someone mentioned doing the windows yourself. With a $3k savings I would tend to lean in that direction. It isn't rocket science and there are books that contain info on how to do it. I did the same thing with my roof this year. Did tear off and sheeting myself, bought the materials myself, and paid a roofer to only do the shingling (and I did the garage myself which was easy and saved about a grand).

Don't want to make you paranoid but the screens, if they are the kind that "wedge" against the frame, can be popped out by cats. I know, ours are wiley.

TomTX

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2012, 09:20:38 PM »
My local hardware store will make replacement screens pretty cheaply. I only had one screen to do, so it was probably not worth the effort to learn how to do it myself. Might be worthwhile to do a whole house of screens, though!

Dynasty

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2012, 12:50:37 PM »
I'm curious where you live that building code would allow single pane windows in new construction in 1999?

Also, you stated you have wood framed windows. Generally wood framed windows are MUCH more expensive than vinyl windows, and look a lot better too.

My house has wood framed windows from the 1950s. The house was built in the early 1900s. I've restored four or five of those windows and they perform "fairly" well. Yes there is a slight draft. But look at it this way, that is fresh air coming into your house. Indoor air quality is garbage from all the off gassing in modern synthetic materials that are used  today. That could be potentially savings of thousands and thousands in future medical bills.

Anyhow, current energy code requires homes have whole house fans. Why? To get fresh air into the house!

If you were to replace your windows, at best you would save maybe 20 to 25% on heating costs.

Using that savings with the 1000 dollars a year I spend on gas for my furnace, I'd save 250 dollars. It would take decades to recoup the cost of new windows. Even if energy costs doubled it would take decades.

Invest in floor to ceiling curtains. It is important that the curtains extend all the way to the ceiling and touch the floor. Otherwise you'll get convection currents behind the curtains which will wick heat right out of the house.


Dynasty

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2012, 12:55:56 PM »
I'd like to add also. The argon they add to double pane windows completely leaks out over time.

And 185 dollar windows sounds like they aren't built too well to begin with..

Another benefit of single pane wood windows, if that is what you really have, is they are repairable. The modern vinyl windows are not. They are essentially a disposable product.

There is a lot to factor into making this decision.

Zaga

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2012, 02:10:26 PM »
We replaced our windows several years ago, used a contractor to do all of the work.  It wasn't cheap, about $5,000 for the whole house.  We would have saved a ton by doing at least the smaller ones ourselves.

As for energy savings, the old windows leaked terribly.  Like rattle the front door when there's a slight breeze terribly.  Even with window plastic up we were hemoraging heat in the winter and terribly uncomfortable in the summer with no a/c and no way to keep out the heat.  That said out heating oil usage weny down from 150+ gallons/month to just over 100 gallons per month on average.

Not saying our decision was the best one, but we did pay cash and are much impressed with the increase in comfort and efficiency in our house.  Since then we have insulated all of the exterior walls and attic with another huge leap in comfort.

TheDude

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2012, 02:26:44 PM »
I think there are two sides to the story.

1. You can do a lot with out replacing the windows. resealing, plastic, shads, curtains etc. If you do a couple of these it will be just about like replacing the windows for a way cheaper.

2. New windows are nice. They look nice, they help with sound and they aren't that expensive if you do them yourself. They are however more expensive that option 1. If sell you wont recoup all the money but it will help your house sell.

I have my mother in law building use some good quality curtains right now. I think if sealed properly they will act like double pane window.

We are going to start doing our windows this spring/summer. I want them for heat but also for noise. Plus they will so much better than our aluminum windows.  I think we can replace our hole house for about 3K. After that I may even add a couple of egress windows for another 2K just because I think it will make the basement nicer and safer. Between the window and the curtains I think the windows should act like part of the wall.  Good luck I dont think you can go wrong either way.

needmyfi

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2012, 02:36:54 PM »
 Screens are super cheap!! You absolutely should get those fixed.  We live in a small town  and the local hardware store guy reccommended an elderly guy who fixes them for 7 bucks a piece.  He also had a ton of old storm windows that were aluminum frame that we bought from him.  I know your husband works at Lowes, we have one 11 miles away, but the guy at the old hardware store franchise (Ace, True Value)  can be a great resource and we always throw them some business.

I don't remember if you said what part of the country you live in, if it has lots of extremes (Dallas, Tulsa) you may want to replace with new and install yourself. You might not get the money back in resale but you may get a payback in a few years in energy savings alone.

If you decide on storm windows instead of new then curtains at night in winter, daytime in summer will help modulate temps as well
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 02:49:04 PM by needmyfi »

Jamesqf

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2012, 07:21:01 PM »
Anyhow, current energy code requires homes have whole house fans. Why? To get fresh air into the house!

No, the point of a whole-house fan is to quickly get cool outside air inside, so as avoid running the A/C.

totoro

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2012, 12:21:07 AM »
Skipping the resale value affects your bottom line calculation.  Saying you never had this money to start with makes no sense if you are trying to compare two scenarios.
 
There have been a lot of really good suggestions but my approach is simply to change the windows to new ones with new screens and pay the cost to do so. 

The hassle and cost and look of floor to ceiling curtains just doesn't appeal to me.  I like lots of light.  I like to feel warm and not to have noise transfer cause I work at home.  I don't want to shrink wrap my windows each year.  I don't want to buy and put up storm windows and take them down.

I would happily build a repurposed kitchen and use as many second-hand building materials as I can elsewhere.  I would downsize my space to pay for warm, quiet, clean and aesthetically great windows. 

Also, windows are one of the first things I look at in a house having lived in one with crappy aluminum ones. 




Jack

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2012, 12:59:53 AM »
My house has half-decent double-pane wood frame windows, but I'd like to add additional ones for more natural light. I'm considering going more high-end on the new windows, but I'm concerned that if they don't match the old ones it might hurt resale value. Advice?

needmyfi

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2012, 04:04:01 AM »
I don't want to buy and put up storm windows and take them down.


I personally don't disagree with you totoro, just wanted  to point out that our storm windows don't have to be taken down every year.  They can be opened  from the inside like a window and have an integral screen.

Again climate is a big factor.  You will get real different answers from Portland Or and Portland Me

stealmystapler

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2012, 07:55:21 AM »
Here's the way I see it - windows are a consumer product, just like anything else. Window companies and salesmen figured out they could increase sales by making a vinyl or aluminum product that was disposable, not repairable. In promoting their new product, they implied that this was the case for all windows. In many cases, though, windows don't go bad - they're not milk.

A note about investment value. New windows take decades to pay themselves off in terms of energy efficiency - more impactful changes could be made if that is a concern. As I've begun looking around for houses, I have shied away from structures with newer or replacement windows. I would rather own a house with windows I could fix or improve than one with windows I know I will have to replace in 30 years.

totoro

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2012, 09:52:50 AM »
Yes, there is an element of personal choice in this decision for sure.  No wrong answer, except perhaps doing nothing to improve the situation.

I like the look of old wood windows and if the climate was warmer here I'd go for that - or if I had an old home I suppose. 

I LOVE my new windows though, no maintenance at all except cleaning, warm and functional. 

I would not pay more for a jetted tub, walk-in bathroom or underfloor heating, but I would pay for the new windows when buying a home.

eyePod

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2012, 10:08:25 AM »
This may sound ridiculous, but it really does work:

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/bubblewrap.htm

I bought 250 square feet of bubble wrap from Uline at 530pm and it was at my door by 11am the next day (60 bucks including shipping).  Probably could have gone without that much but I'm still glad I had the extra material.  Did it just like the website said and it has worked wonders.  Additionally, we have really shitty sliding doors with tons of drafts (renting though).  I duct taped around the edges of these/onto the bubble wrap.  The drafts are so strong that they actually push the bubble wrap off of the door.  Every time I see that I'm very happy that I did the project.  We save at least an hour of heating every day plus have moved the setpoint 2 degrees lower.  Before, we had constant drafts in our living room and had to compensate by running the heater more, now we don't!

Dynasty

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2012, 11:51:33 AM »
No, the point of a whole-house fan is to quickly get cool outside air inside, so as avoid running the A/C.
[/quote]

I was wrong. I don't think it is energy code, but building code.

And not to avoid running the AC. Its because modern houses are so tight and excess moisture gets in the walls and causes mold.

Older houses rarely have a mold problem, unless something is seriously wrong like a leaking roof or something else allowing rain in and not being fixed in a timely manner.

Anyhow. In regards to this thread, I stand by my original intention for the OP to keep the wood framed windows, and learn how to care for them.

They will save buckets of money over time considering they can be easily restored for a fraction of the cost of replacing with vinyl windows, that will eventually have to be replaced again, and again. Properly maintained wood windows can last for centuries.  Assuming the wood to manufacture them with is of a high quality.

I'm still sort of flabbergasted that a house built in 1999 had single pane wood windows installed though.

TomTX

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #34 on: December 25, 2012, 07:07:23 AM »
I grew up in a house with good wood-framed, single-pane windows - plus the add-on storm windows. Our storm windows were easy - you just slide them up after you slide up the regular window. We also had matching screens, and in spring we swapped out a few of the glass storm window panels (frame stays in place) for the screens. Of course, I lived in a colder climate then....

Caulking gaps and adding insulation is going to almost always be a much better use of your time and money than replacing windows, given that you are starting from standard low-end residential construction.

Next, have a look at your ducting! You should have no gaps, missing insulation, crimped ducts, hard turns, et cetera. Usually installers do a real crap job on ducting - the HVAC guys put the new kid on ducting. With flex duct, this usually means sharp turns, loose connections, crimping of the duct with overtight straps, et cetera. Think of a garden hose - if you turn too tight ("kink" the hose) it cuts off the water flow. Same thing with air, but even easier to do wrong since you have a lot less pressure (maybe 1 psi instead of 100 psi.) You want smooth, even, open ducts with gradual curves. Be sure to use the RIGHT tape. There is a lot of crap tape out there, and common "duct tape" or "duck tape" is NOT appropriate. The glue will harden and let go over time. The tape should be foil (metal) - and not the cheapest one at the home improvement store. Find the HVAC expert there by going in sometime M-F, 9-5 when the contractors shop.

If you want to go beyond that, get yourself a can of expanding foam (the latex stuff is safer than the polyurethane - poly pushes HARD when it expands, you have to be careful) try taking the trim off around one of the windows. Installers usually are 'full of fail' when it comes to insulating between the rough-in and window. Use that expanding foam to fill the gaps, let dry, cut off excess foam, reinstall and recaulk trim.

Once you finish with the windows, start sealing all the attic perforations: Again, installers are usually 'full of fail' when it comes to sealing all the holes they cut between the attic and house body. Lights, power, plumbing, et cetera. Someone cuts a rough hole and relies on a cover plate or fixture to block it. Plus, you get plenty of attic dust.

Now that I think about it - here in Texas, attic sealing should probably come before under-trim resealing. Attics commonly get up to 160F in the summer, while it's only 100F outside.

jameswilson

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2012, 06:44:46 AM »
I feel you should go in for double-pane replacement windows. Double pane windows offer much better insulation than single pane windows and you'll find them much more energy-efficient and notice the difference in your heating/cooling bill. And you can choose vinyl, it's a lot more durable and easier to maintain than other materials.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 06:31:11 AM by jameswilson »

TomTX

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2012, 08:40:09 AM »
I feel you should go in for double-pane replacement windows. Double pane windows offer much better insulation than single pane windows and you'll find them much more energy-efficient and notice the difference in your heating/cooling bill. And you can choose vinyl, it's a lot more durable and easier to maintain than other materials.

They don't give you any more energy savings than adding a storm window to existing single-pane windows and are a LOT more expensive. Replacement windows are a huge profit center - I get at least a dozen advertisements from companies every month wanting to sell me replacement windows. Those advertisements aren't exactly free to send out.

Jamesqf

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2012, 12:44:36 PM »
They don't give you any more energy savings than adding a storm window to existing single-pane windows...

They easily could, if for instance the existing windows are ill-fitting & leaky.  There's also the low-E coatings on the glass.

Quote
Replacement windows are a huge profit center - I get at least a dozen advertisements from companies every month wanting to sell me replacement windows. Those advertisements aren't exactly free to send out.

But they are making most of their profit on the labor, plus markup on the windows.  If you buy the windows at Home Depot or wherever and do the work yourself, it's a different story.

TomTX

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2012, 04:14:16 PM »
They don't give you any more energy savings than adding a storm window to existing single-pane windows...

They easily could, if for instance the existing windows are ill-fitting & leaky.  There's also the low-E coatings on the glass.


Oh, come on. A few tubes of caulk and a few cans of sprayfoam is a hell of a lot cheaper fix for (thermally) leaky windows than replacing them. Plus, you are presuming the new installers will do a better job than the previous installers - "leaky windows" is typically an install issue, not a design or materials issue. The new installers will typically still fail to do a proper job insulating and sealing around the new windows - they will do the same "stuff in a couple pieces of fiberglass in the gaps, slap on the trim" the last guys did.

You can also get low-E coatings on the storm windows (or apply them separately - easy DIY) and still come out WAY ahead.

Replacement windows can be a benefit, but they are WAY down the list of cost-effective energy savings for a homeowner. Really, really far down the list.

Jamesqf

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2012, 09:58:39 PM »
..."leaky windows" is typically an install issue, not a design or materials issue.

Not in my experience.  It's the caulk/sealant between the frame & glass that becomes hard, cracks, and falls out, and the seals between sliding panes and frames.  Of course different windows will have different problems.  I can only say that I replaced all my old single-pane windows (doing the work myself) and consider it time & money well spent.

TomTX

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2012, 04:35:38 AM »
..."leaky windows" is typically an install issue, not a design or materials issue.

Not in my experience.  It's the caulk/sealant between the frame & glass that becomes hard, cracks, and falls out, and the seals between sliding panes and frames.  Of course different windows will have different problems.  I can only say that I replaced all my old single-pane windows (doing the work myself) and consider it time & money well spent.

DIY is a much more cost effective approach, especially if you can get a good deal on the windows. Lots of people won't tackle windows. Kudos to you!

bo_knows

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Re: Replace the windows in my house?
« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2013, 06:54:14 AM »
I've been debating this for a couple of years on our townhouse.  It was built in 1974 and has the original single-pane wood windows (with storm windows). They're fairly leaky, and we once got a quote for replacement of all our windows at ~$10k (for double-pane, low e, energysaver).  Our hesitation is that we're probably only staying in this home 2-3 more years unless there is a housing meltdown, AND our townhouse is already renovated to be close to the top of the price-range for our neighborhood.  I don't want to over-renovate.

It would be nice to have new windows, but I keep holding out.  We reinsulated the attic, which has helped, but I refuse to block up a bunch of our windows with bubblewrap, even if that is an ingenious method.