New windows may not guarantee large cost savings

Understand all the different variables that affect the bottom line, before purchasing new windows.

With increased awareness surrounding the many benefits of energy efficiency, many homeowners have decided to pursue modifications. Some homeowners may decide to pursue new windows for both cost saving benefits and cosmetics. Summer is a popular time to tackle such large-scale home improvements. It is important to know what factors can affect this decision, before signing on the dotted-line.

New windows will guarantee cost savings, right? This unfortunately is not a simple yes or no question. There are many things to consider, so Michigan State University Extension recommends that you be cautious of claims regarding how much money you will save. Things that can affect cost savings include:

  • Of what materials are your current windows made?
  • How well-insulated is your home?
  • What is the size of your home?
  • How many windows does your home have?
  • Is there any shade around your home?
  • What is the weather like where you live?
  • New windows vary greatly in price (i.e. materials, features and installation costs), so consider all of the upfront costs with this type of purchase.

Aren’t all new windows the same? The answer is definitely no. There are many options including different styles, materials, glazes and installation. All of these things can affect the purchase price and your energy bill. For example, some windows have tilt features that make cleaning a lot easier. While wood frame windows provide good insulation, they are also heavy and require high maintenance, whereas vinyl-framed windows do not require painting. So, be a wise consumer and compare your wants and needs, your available options and your current budget. If you do not have a current budget in place, visit MI Money Health for a variety of financial tips, including how to develop a monthly budget.

Do ratings matter when comparing new windows? The Federal Trade Commission encourages consumers to look for The National Fenestration Rating Council’s window label. This label is designed to help compare many features of new windows including how well they block heat, cold and outside air, allows in light and blocks condensation.

For additional resources on how to make windows more energy-efficient, visit

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