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   Comment   July 20, 2014
jeannemt commented on an ideabook

How to Install Energy-Efficient Windows

Learn what Energy Star ratings mean, what special license your contractor should have, whether permits are required and more Full Story
     Comment   July 13, 2014
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A retrofit of older windows - adding good weatherstripping, storm windows and energy efficient shades - usually costs less than replacing the windows, and reduces energy loss substantially, lowering heating and cooling bills. Old house original windows (especially those made before 1940 with durable and irreplaceable old growth wood) preserve the original design and character of the building - something most low cost replacement windows fail at miserably.

Visit The National Trust for Historic Preservation for more information on their 2012 report "Saving Windows, Saving Money" -
July 13, 2014 at 4:29am     
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AE Building Systems

We upgraded our windows to improve the comfort of our home... AND to do the right thing - reduce our energy usage. In particular our master bedroom was cold because of the 6 sides, 4 are cold - floor above garage, two exterior walls and ceiling/attic. While our old windows were not completely failing, we upgraded to windows that have r-6 frames and r-11.4 glass. Total window is around r-7.7. And we had them installed with super air tight approach. The new windows made a noticeable difference - summer and winter. While the room could be better (2x4 batt construction), we are very happy with the results.

That said, you are right ... there is a lot of low hanging fruit that people need to do first. We had already added insulation in the attic and the ceiling of the garage (drill and fill). We also had done some basic air sealing. In short, we have shored up our energy bill by half with the various changes we have made.

However, we did not make these changes for an ROI ... and quite frankly who puts an ROI on their granite counter-top??? Our comfort is our counter-top. While there much more we can do to make our home more comfortable, we have made great improvements. And we are saving over $1000 per year in energy costs. Our payback is comfort and maybe 35 years or less depending on how fast our energy prices increase. That said, we are doing what is "right" in our mind. We are saving energy for future generations, and that is the "right" thing to do.
July 15, 2014 at 9:01pm     
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We've been slowly working on replacing the windows in our 1968 townhome. I say slowly, because I am doing it myself, alone, so I do about one a weekend. Each window is roughly 3'x5'.

I started off doing full-frame installations, that is, ripping everything out, insulating the cavity, building a buck frame (these are block walls with a brick exterior), fastening the window to the buck, putting up new exterior brickmoulding, and then new interior trim (including stools). The amount of carpentry in this is extensive, and any price I saw in the 3-figures-per-window range would not cover all that work.

I then moved on to "insert windows", which is what every company wanted to sell me. I special ordered Anderson Woodrights from the big Orange box, and let me tell you, it is a whole new world. Assuming you've measured correctly, you're setting the window in place, adding some caulking and weatherstripping, shimming, foaming, adding their exterior stop covers, replacing your interior stops, and then painting everything. All work is done from the inside with the exception of caulking and painting the exterior. The only tool you might not own is a table saw to rip the stop covers, but that could be done with a circular saw or jigsaw. Assuming it's in decent condition, all trim is reused. You'll need a couple of tubes of caulk, a can of foam, and paint. They even include in the foam caulk-saver and shims.

80% of the time I've spent is rehabbing the existing trim (scraping paint, removing hardened / cracked caulk, fixing any wood rot) and making it look new again. But with an insert window, you're not messing with the building envelope, and I'm confident that most homeowners that know how to use a level could get a professional result.
July 21, 2014 at 1:57pm   
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