Windows frame your favorite view and are key to making your home comfortable in summer and winter, yet most people don't think about them until they stop working properly. If your windows aren't performing as well as they should, now is a great time to consider replacing them.
You may be eligible to get a Federal Tax Credit for adding energy efficient windows, doors and skylights to your home.
Poorly performing windows can account for 35 to 40 percent of your home's heat loss in the winter and are often even less effective at keeping your home cool in summer. That's literally throwing your money out the window! Today's double and triple-pane windows are worlds apart from the windows sold just 10 years ago.
Replacement window frames offer improved protection from air and water infiltration over older windows, and the energy-efficient innovations in glass options can really make a difference in your home's comfort. When looking for energy efficient windows, most manufacturers recommend starting with the ENERGY STAR sticker. A good window will have a label from the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) and have ENERGY STAR ratings as well. On the NFRC label you'll see the manufacturer's name, a description of the window, plus a U-value and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) numbers. Lower U-values and SHGC numbers mean better insulation, but look closely. To qualify for the Energy Efficiency Tax Credit, each of your windows must have a U-value of .30 or less and SHGC of .30 as well.
You also should consider the manufacturer's warranty when shopping for windows. Just as some windows work harder than others to keep your home comfortable, some manufacturers are more willing than others to stand behind their products with the service and support you expect from a major home purchase. An experienced window contractor has probably installed hundreds of windows, so he knows firsthand which windows are the best quality. Your window contractor can also help you decide which type of window is best for your home.