In most cases, a replacement is not as good as the original, except when it comes to replacement windows. Replacing broken or stolen items can be heartbreaking. The new china doesn’t quite match Grandma’s original set. Reproductions of the chairs you lost in a fire don’t have the original furniture maker’s seal on them. But, assuming you don’t have any sentimental attachment to your windows, replacing them can improve the view.
If your house dates back to the 19th or early 20th century, you may not think replacement windows are a good idea. They were once the scourges of historical societies across America who sought to maintain the character of many original buildings. A century ago, houses were built with double-hung windows in wooden sashes with counter-balance weights to ensure smooth opening and closing.
When replacements first became available, they were not able to match the character of the old weighted double-hung style. Instead, they were made of shiny white vinyl, which couldn’t be painted, and they were hard to size and install. Today, our current improvements in aftermarket products have given us the ability to recreate these old windows so well that even many historical societies permit them.
The price of energy is probably the biggest driving factor today for home improvement projects. Each year the cost of heating and cooling increases exponentially. Windows represent the largest area of heat transfer in a house – out in the winter and in during the summer. By installing new ones, homeowners can slow the heat transfer and lower their energy bills.
Reduced energy usage not only benefits homeowners in lower energy bills, but it also benefits our country as a whole. As our demand for energy increases quickly, utility companies scramble to increase the supply. In an effort to slow our energy demand growth, municipalities have made loans and grants available for the purchase of new energy efficient products. By improving energy efficiency, we reduce the need to site energy plants all over the landscape.
In addition to lowering energy bills, replacement windows improve property value. No one wants to paint the old wooden ones anymore. In fact, there is a general trend toward more maintenance free houses. By updating the exterior elements of the house to maintenance free, homeowners can potentially get more money when they sell. That money can be used to relocate to the coast or the mountains – any place where the view is better.
Although all replacements are not better than the originals, replacement windows are an improvement over all but the newest original ones. The look of the frames can improve the look of the house without regular paintin