Don't ruin your home with replacement windows!
"Replacing windows is rarely cost effective based solely on energy savings."
— US EPA and Department of Energy's Energy Star Program
In a cold climate, the best way to improve single-glazed windows is to install exterior storm windows with glass.
Articles updated. Lots of new information on the articles page.
If you own an older home with wooden windows be careful! Many well-intentioned but misinformed people will tell you that you will save money and energy by replacing your windows. You will save neither.
Although many mean well, there is a reason why they have been given the nickname the "replacement window pirates." As this site develops it will show you why.
The truth is coming out.
If you are lucky enough not to have fallen victim to the so-called "replacement window pirates" thank goodness you are finding out the truth. Your old heartwood windows, with their iron pulleys and cotton sash cords, can be maintained at a fraction of the cost of replacements and last 10 or 20 times as long, if not more. A few facts to tide you over until our first draft of our feature article is ready.
According to Co-op America replacement windows have a life expectancy of only about 20 years.
According to Fine Homebuilding you will never find wood anywhere near as good as the heartwood in your original windows
Only 20% of your home's heat loss is through windows, and 90% of that is through air leaks that are easily and inexpensively sealed.
Even if there were an energy savings with replacement windows they will not last anywhere near long enough to pay for themselves. Estimates are that these windows last as little as 20 years, but will take 50 years to pay for themselves if you do not have a storm window. If, like nearly every home, you do have storm windows estimates for the payback period are from 222 years to never.
How do replacement window companies show a "savings" with their window? Creative measuring. They measure at the center of the window, ignoring air leaks, ignoring that their windows don't hold up and may leak more, and pretending that your window is "single-pane" when your storm window actually gives you a dead air space large enough to insulate, unlike their windows. In overall efficiency, the savings with replacement windows are negligible to nonexistent. The unrecoupable costs of replacements are tremendous.
Once you replace your heartwood windows with replacements, you enter into a cycle of constantly replacing windows, a cycle that could be avoided with minimal upkeep.
Once thought to increase the value of your home, those in the know are now avoiding homes with replacement windows. Replacement windows will actually decrease the value of your home. Replacing good windows can decrease the value of your home about four times what you paid for them. So if you spend $10,000 on replacement windows, your homes value can drop $40,000, which puts you out $50,000 total, with no energy savings to speak of.
More to come
We have stacks of information on the fallacies of replacement windows and the benefits of sticking with the higher quality and the high efficiency of your original windows.