If you’ve purchased an older home, one update you are probably considering are new windows. Old houses tend to have single-paned windows with leaky aluminum frames that let the heat and cold in and send your air-conditioning and heating out. Windows are costly, however. Are they worth the investment? And what do you need to know to match yourself with the right windows? Read on to find out. 

Panes and Frames

Two major criteria that distinguish a window’s energy efficiency are the number of panes and the material of the frame. Good windows will have two or even three panes to best insulate the home. A vinyl or fiberglass frame to replace the old, leaky metal one will hold everything inside and make sure that you don’t suffer any leakage. 

IGUs and Low-E

Fancy energy-efficient windows contain an inert gas like argon or krypton in between the panes. These insulated glass units (IGUs) also bump your efficiency with special, low-emissivity (“low-e”) glass. It’s kind of like sunscreen for your home and its contents. Low-e glass contains an infinitesimally tiny layer of metallic oxides that control infrared light AND reflect the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This glass can lower home heat loss in the winter and cut down on solar heat gain in the hot months. These windows have other values as well. Low-e coatings on windows can block uo to 75 percent of  sun damage to your furniture, rugs, and even the photos hanging on your wall. Then there is the decrease in noise pollution. Having IGUs can cut the volume of outside noise by 60 to 75 percent, making your home more peaceful and quiet.

Install Them Right

Having the nicest windows in the world, the most expensive with the fanciest bells and whistles won’t matter a whit if they are not installed properly. To make sure you get the right fit, go with a professional window installation company as opposed to a subcontractor chosen by your window’s vendor. 

What Kind of Rewards Will I Reap?

It is absolutely true that windows are a worthwhile investment. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you’ll save between $126 to $465 by making the jump from single-paned to double-paned windows. The average window replacement is around $150, so it may take a year or two for you to see returns on your investment. And, having new energy-efficient windows when you sell your house can recoup about 70 percent of the costs on average. So it’s a win-win proposition.