Cleveland Restoration Society: Window Replacement Is Not Always Necessary
Released: 4/21/2010
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When prioritizing their list of home improvement projects, many homeowners consider switching out their original windows with vinyl replacements. Before you dig into your savings or head to the bank to apply for financing, take time to consider how you can save money by simply repairing and restoring your original windows. Here are a few facts:
Repair is cheaper than replacement. Repairing original windows and doors is almost always cheaper than buying something new and paying for installation. Often, home owners can undertake needed repairs, including replacing broken window ropes, re-glazing windows, caulking gaps and installing weather stripping. Repairing original windows requires little skill and a small time commitment.
Crime prevention. Hardwood framed original windows or vinyl replacements? Go ahead... take a guess. Which material do you think a burglar prefers? Windows are often an easy entrance for burglars and homeowners should know that vinyl windows are a lot easier to pop out. Most original wood-framed windows are made of old-growth wood, which is harder and of better quality than vinyl.
Replacement windows - calculating the cost. Homeowners should complete their own easy calculations on the real cost of the project. By using the budget plan amount for your heating bill, the percentage of the heating bill the manufacturer states will be saved, and the cost of the new windows, it is simple to figure how many years it will take for the heating bill savings to equal the window costs. If a gas bill on the budget plan is $110 per month, the annual heating cost is $1,320. A savings of 25% (the savings claimed by most new window and door manufacturers) is $330 per year. Weigh that $330 annual savings against the cost to purchase and install replacement windows. Replacing 20 windows at $350 per window (low-end, standard-size vinyl replacement) would cost $7,000. With a savings of $330 per year, it would take over 21 years to pay for the cost of new windows!
Consider storm windows. Storm windows usually solve window draftiness and condensation. The result is a more comfortable interior and some energy cost reduction. Today's aluminum storm windows are of a much higher quality than even those produced fifteen years ago. They are better constructed with stronger joints and airtight seals, plus they come with a price tag that is a fraction of the cost of new window sash - generally $150.00 per opening depending on size. Installing storms enables a homeowner to retain and preserve the character of the original windows and doors and capture the R-value in the 'dead air' between the storm and the wood sash.
R-values. The R-value of a single-paned window sash is .9 (less than 1). Adding a storm window will raise the R-value to an R-2 or 3. New double-paned Andersen or Pella replacement windows have an R-value of only R-4. Windows and doors account for only 20% of your overall heat loss in a home. At least 80% is lost through poorly insulated attics, walls and crawl spaces along with older HVAC equipment.
Don't forget the basement. Basement windows should be repaired and retained whenever possible because they provide adequate and necessary basement ventilation. If security is an issue, wood frames can be fitted with security bars or grills that can be painted to match your color scheme. Glass block windows are not an appropriate design. Even with vents, they do not provide adequate basement ventilation, increasing the potential for mildew growth and musty odors.
To learn more about window restoration or other issues related to older and historic homes, call Jamie Bertram of the Cleveland Restoration Society at (216) 426-3106.

Information provided by:
The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio @