If your windows on the world no longer enhance the façade of your house, shield it from the elements or filter out noise, it may be time to replace them with new ones that will complement your home’s architecture, reduce your energy bills, increase your comfort, and promote peace and quiet. Replacing windows is an expensive proposition that includes not just the price of the windows but the cost of expert installation to ensure that the windows perform as promised. It pays to shop for both, especially now that retailers and remodelers in many parts of the country experience increased demand for replacement windows as local economies and housing markets recover from the Recession.
Through the end of 2016 you can defray a bit of the cost with the federal tax credit for installing energy-efficient windows in your home. The credit is worth 10% of the cost, up to $200 (excluding installation) and applies to replacement windows or new ones installed in an addition. (In October 2016, it was unclear whether Congress would extend the credit for 2017.)
You’ll recoup much of your investment when you sell your home. In the latest “Cost vs. Value Report” by Remodeling magazine, the payback (when a home is resold) on four window-replacement projects (midrange or upscale, vinyl) was at least two-thirds of the job cost. Midrange vinyl windows did best, returning 73.3% with a national average job cost of $10,708 (for 10, 3-by-5-foot, double- hung vinyl replacement windows.
Be sure to match the style and quality of the new windows to your house — high-end in a luxury home, midrange in an average home, says John , an appraiser in Seattle. The value of high-end windows in a tract house won’t necessarily be reflected in the home’s appraised market value. Prospective buyers may love those gorgeous, high-performance windows, but they may not be willing to pay more for the house to get them, especially among today’s value-conscious home buyers.
Your monthly energy bill should show immediate savings. Before you install new windows, however, you may want to seal up a leaky house and insulate it. It could cost several thousand dollars, but it may be more cost-effective. To evaluate your options, a home-energy audit, which costs $500 to $700 (or more for a larger home or in a pricier area), is a smart idea.