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VinDan 07-30-2010 01:57 AM

Insulated Windows - Worth the extra money?
Hi all,

I'm in the process of remodeling my kitchen and my neighbor keeps telling me to install insulated windows. He went so far as to say that I should replace my existing windows with insulated ones, and claims that it will pay for itself in just 5 years. I have trouble believing the guy because, after all and no offense to him, he seems like the type of person who will believe literally anything. All these sites about insulated windows seem to recommend vinyl insulated windows for kitchens and open rooms.

Please let me know what you think about what he said and if I do it, whether vinyl is a good choice?

Vin D

Just Bill 07-30-2010 06:27 AM

If you are talking about glass, you cannot buy single glazed windows anymore, or should not. The degree of insulation provided depends on glass and treatments. Plain double insulated glass is the basic, which I would not recommend. Adding Lo-E coatings and argon or similar gases greatly improves the performance of the glass, at a reasonable cost. To qualify for the tax credit, glass must have a U factor of .29 or lower.

As to the frame material, that would depend on what is in the rest of the house, and what you like/dislike. Vinyl has become accepted even in upscale homes. It is maintenance free, and durable in better quality windows. IMHO, big box windows are not quality. Wood is still king for looks, flexibility in decorating, and the most expensive.

HomeSealed 07-30-2010 07:14 AM

Bill's comments are all correct... How quickly the windows "pay for themselves" depends on what you have currently, what type of window you purchase, how much you spend, etc... It highly unlikely though that any window will pay for itself in just 5 years with just energy savings. I guess if you consider the added value to your home it is more likely, but in terms of energy savings alone, you're probably looking at about 20 years or so. A realistic savings on consumption would be somewhere between 15-35%, again depending on the factors I mentioned above... As Bill said, vinyl definitely offers the best "bang for the buck", wood is tops for beauty, but at a premium price.

Scuba_Dave 07-30-2010 09:09 AM

My existing windows were replacement windows
But when they installed them they did not pull the weights & insulate the pockets on either side of the windows
So replacing my windows & insulating the weight pockets did have a payback in the past 5 years on savings on heating costs

Yoyizit 07-30-2010 09:29 AM


Originally Posted by VinDan (Post 477603)
claims that it will pay for itself in just 5 years.

Ask your neighbor for his 'before installation' and 'after installation' heating bills.

Scuba_Dave 07-30-2010 09:44 AM

My before - 3 tanks of oil
After - 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tanks...with 250 sq ft more of space to heat

Gary in WA 07-30-2010 12:12 PM

"Window replacement is a cost-effective way to save energy."

Replacing old single-pane windows with new double-pane low-e units certainly saves energy. But the cost is so high — and the amount of energy saved is so low — that window replacement is almost never cost-effective. Depending on the climate and the window cost, the payback period for replacement windows can be as long as 20 or 30 years.
According to calculations posted on an Energy Star program Web site, installing new double-pane low-e windows in a typical 2,000-square-foot single-story house that previously had single-pane units will result in annual energy savings of $125 (in a mild climate like California's) to $340 (in a severe climate like New England's). If the old windows had storms, the savings drop to $20 to $70 per year. Exact mileage may vary, but anyone who expects that window replacement will have an energy payback needs to be prepared for a very long wait.
The most cost-effective window retrofit measure is the installation of low-e storm windows. Although many storm-window suppliers are unfamiliar with the product, low-e storms can be ordered. Suitable glass with a pyrolitic (hard-coat) low-e coating is available from most glass distributors. According to a recent study, the payback period for installing low-e storm windows on older houses in Chicago averaged just 4.3 years. From:

Be safe, Gary

Scuba_Dave 07-30-2010 12:42 PM

One of the best things about replacing the windows & insulating is the reduced noise level
We are not on a busy street, but it is much quieter in the house now
I was also residing the house, so I used new windows, not replacement windows
My savings were higher due to several sets of double/triple windows
The hollow area with weights between the windows measured ~12" & did not have any insulation

Storm windows are an easy installation (usually) & have a good return
I don't like the looks of most that I have seen
But I may install storms on the 5 windows that face East...not really visible

Gary in WA 07-30-2010 12:46 PM

A few more from the library:

Be safe, Gary

Red Squirrel 07-30-2010 01:38 PM

I figured "insulated" was a standard feature on all windows you can buy.

Jim F 07-30-2010 07:01 PM

Insulated windows are worth it just for the condensation factor. Window condensation cause damage just like any other moisture issues.

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