Are New Windows Worth the Cost?

If you’ve visited this page, it’s likely because you’re considering replacement windows. Maybe there’s something wrong with your old windows (for example, they’re drafty, or leaky, or rotting), or maybe you’re concerned about the energy efficiency of your home.

That said, you probably want to know if the new windows will be worth the cost: after all, they can often require a significant investment.

Today, we’re doing a cost-benefit analysis of new windows—including how much you can expect to spend, how much you can get back, and when you should replace vs. repair. Let’s dive in!

What Do New Windows Cost?

How much do replacement windows cost? Well, this depends on a few factors, including the window price itself and the cost of installation.

Replacement windows can vary widely in price. The average cost ranges from $175 to $700 per window, although the most expensive models can be as much as $1,000.

The amount you spend on new windows is going to depend greatly on the materials and features of your window. Vinyl windows, for example, are less expensive than wood ones. Triple-pane windows are, of course, more expensive than double-pane windows, which are more expensive than single-pane windows. (Note: we never recommend single-pane windows: they’re very inefficient.) If you want features like impact resistant glass or glass coating, that will also increase the price.

The cost of installation can vary as well. If you DIY your window installation, this will obviously be cheaper than hiring a professional. (We do not recommend this, since window installation can be complicated, and a bad window installation can affect the integrity of your home’s walls!) In addition, the cost will vary based on what shape your frames are in. If you need to replace the entire window and the framing around it—known as “new construction”—you can expect your installation costs to be higher than if you can keep the frame.

We recommend getting a few quotes from window companies in your area to make sure that you are paying fair market price for your installation.

Do New Windows Pay for Themselves?

When determining whether or not replacement windows are worth the expense, it’s important to consider how much value you will get out of new windows.

New, double-pane windows can be as much as 50% more efficient than older, single-pane windows, and they can typically save you about 15% on your energy bills. (Why not 50%? Well, that’s because heat gain and loss through windows makes up 25-30% of energy use.) If you spend about $1,000 per year on heating and cooling (this is the average, according to U.S Department of Energy), that means you can save around $150 per year. On the other hand, if your energy bills are higher, you’ll save more.

The amount of time it will take for your windows to “pay for themselves” depends on two things: how much you spend on the windows and how much you save in energy costs. If you replace all of your windows, for example, it will certainly take a while to recoup the cost. (For example, if you spend $5,000, it will take 33 years for an energy savings of $150/year to offset the investment.) Of course, the less you spend, the sooner the windows will pay for themselves.

If you’re not planning on staying in your home for several decades, you might be thinking that replacement windows are a waste of money—but that’s definitely not the case. The good news is that new windows are one of the better investments you can make in your home: a good window replacement can return 80% of your initial investment if or when you sell. (This is comparable to the return on investment for other home renovations, like replacing the roof or siding.)

Finally, it’s important to remember that “value” doesn’t always mean “money;” it’s also about what you enjoy. Replacement windows can make your home infinitely more comfortable and attractive, and they require far less maintenance. These aren’t things you can really put a price on, so it’s up to each individual homeowner: how much is having a comfortable, beautiful, and low-maintenance home worth to you?

Should You Repair or Replace Your Windows?

Repair or replace? This isn’t a question that we can answer for you, but we can give you some helpful tips.

You might consider repairing your windows if:

  • Your budget doesn’t allow you to invest in replacement windows. (Consider installing storm windows instead or make other energy efficiency improvements around your home.)
  • Your windows have only minor problems and can be repaired for a lot less than what it would cost to replace them.
  • You have a historic home, and you want to maintain its style and character. (Again, storm windows are a good option.)

You might consider replacing your windows if:

  • There is extensive damage—like significant rot or warping.
  • Your windows are single-pane and very energy inefficient.
  • The window panes have condensation between them. (This means the seal has failed.)
  • Your home was built before 1960, and your windows were painted with lead-containing paint.

For a more in-depth discussion of when to repair and when to replace your windows, be sure to check out our previous blog post.

Call Us Today

If you have questions about replacing or repairing your windows, we’d be happy to answer them. Call Jack’s Glass today to speak with one of our window experts!