Everyone knows that replacing your drafty, worn out, hard-to-open windows will result in enough energy savings to offset the cost, right? Not necessarily true. While many homeowners think new windows are worth it because of energy savings, it might not be the best solution.
There are a lot of better, simpler and less expensive ways to save energy, like caulking and sealing all your home’s air leaks. The framing around your windows is a good place to start, but even your AC outlets could be leaking and most insulation is a lot less expensive than new windows.
Of course, you might not like the look of your windows or are dealing with some major deterioration. But there are a few things to consider before you decide what to do. Here are a few guidelines to give you a fresh perspective on the “repair or replace” option.
PROBLEM: Cracks, scratches and/or chips in the glass
Cost To Repair: Replacement glass, depending on thickness, about $4-$14 per sq.ft; handyman to install, $100-$300 (or you could do it yourself); replacing the damaged frame that holds the glass, $40-$250 (vinyl).
Repair or Replace? Replace inexpensive vinyl windows. Repair vintage, aluminum-clad, and multi-pane windows that may cost as much as $500 each to replace.
PROBLEM: Rotted wooden frames, sashes and dividers/mutins that let air and water into your house.
Cost To Repair: How extensive is the rot you’ve got? You can patch smaller areas with epoxy ($25). A handyman will replace a rotten sill for $90-$250 (plus materials). Completely rotted frames require removing the window and rebuilding, which will cost as much as most window replacements ($300-$700).
Repair or Replace? Repair if the damage is spotty. Replace if the frames are totally rotten. But make sure you take a close look; they often look worse than they are.
PROBLEM: Condensation or streaks between double or triple panes of insulated glass units. Sometimes referred to as “blown” windows.
Cost to Repair: After the seal is broken, it’s time to replace. Some products claim to be able to de-fog the glass with solutions and valves, but those are temporary fixes. The practical, permanent solution is to replace the pane or the entire sash.
Repair or Replace? Both. Installing a new sash ($40-$250) is a quick and easy repair that preserves the frame and renews the life of the window.
PROBLEM: Drafty windows with air rushing in through gaps in frames and sashes.
Cost to Repair: You could get a tube of painter’s caulk to seal gaps for as little as $1.75; weather stripping costs $8/10 per foot or you’ll have to spend as much as $40-$250 to replace that sash if the wood is rotted.
Repair or Replace? Repair. Seal the leaks in and around your windows and other leaks in your home and you could save 10-20% on your energy bill! Consider that replacing all your windows with energy efficient ones only results in a 7-15% savings on energy. So the real savings is the money you didn’t spend on replacement windows.
If you have any questions, feel free to discuss with your nearest Lee & Cates service center.