Improving Your Windows’ Energy Efficiency – Part Two: Simple Modifications to Windows

We talked about the rewards of energy efficient windows, such as better functionality and cost savings. Now, let’s discuss how you can cash in on those rewards.

If you want to upgrade your existing windows to make them more energy efficient, you don’t necessarily need a full replacement. In fact, your windows might already benefit from a simple modification. Consider this:

• Replace caulking, and weatherstrip your windows. Caulking and weathertstripping both help in plugging air leaks around your windows, and can reduce the risk of water infiltration, which can in turn lead to major water damage. Remove damaged caulk and weatherstripping, and apply anew, to ensure proper sealing. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that these two methods of home improvement will pay for themselves in energy savings within a year.

• Install window treatments. Curtains, blinds, and shutters are effective at keeping out glare and heat, and can deflect or block unwanted UV light that you’d like to keep out of your home. Just make sure to get treatments that you can easily manage and care for, and which suit your personal preferences, as well as temperatures in your area. Some types of window treatments even boast automatic control systems to boost daylight, and other such mechanisms.

Partial Window Replacements

If some of your window components are already damaged, however, partial replacements may be necessary. These are:

Sash replacement. A sash replacement is ideal for windows whose frames are still functional, with no signs of water damage or gaps. The sashes just need to be taken out to be compression-fit with new jamb-liners. The downside to sash replacements, however, is that they tend to look too bulky in some cases.

Sash and frame replacement. In a sash and frame replacement, both old sashes and frames are removed. The new components are nailed into existing jambs and stops. This kind of replacement is quite pricey, though, and some – when improperly installed – may detract from the amount of daylighting that your windows can get.

Those replacing single-paned windows in homes built before 1960 have to be extra careful about the potential presence of lead dust during the course of the project. In such a case, the entire unit must be replaced by a professional installer or contractor trained in lead-safety practices.
But what if your windows need more work? In the closing segment of our blog series, we cover full window replacements for you.