Making sure the windows in your home are as energy efficient as possible is one of the best ways to keep your energy bills down and your home comfortable. Windows typically last for decades, but like all things in your home, they can become worn out after a certain amount of time. Even if the windows in your home have been very well maintained over the years, modern windows are designed to meet much higher standards for energy efficiency than they used to be. If you think the windows in your home are driving up your energy bills, you might be wondering if you need new vinyl replacement windows or if storm windows would help.
Storm windows are windows that are mounted either inside or outside the pane of an existing window. As the name suggests, storm windows can protect your windows from being damaged by the elements. But since storm windows create an extra layer on your windows, this helps provide extra insulation to keep your home warmer. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, low-E storm windows can reduce your annual heating and cooling costs by 12-33% over not using storm windows at all. If you live in a noisy area, storm windows can also help reduce outside noise.
One of the biggest reasons why people consider getting storm windows instead of replacing their windows is the cost. Storm windows are less expensive than replacing your windows, but whether or not you’re a good candidate for storm windows depends on the condition of your existing windows. While storm windows can help make the windows you currently have more energy efficient, there are many situations where replacing your windows is a better solution.
If your windows are old (at least 30 years old) or only have one pane, replacing your windows is a better investment in your home. New dual or triple pane vinyl replacement windows will do a much better job of improving your home’s energy efficiency than storm windows would. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the near future, replacing windows is more likely to yield a better return on investment than storm windows would since replacement windows are a long-term solution.
Replacing your windows is also a better option if there are other issues with your existing windows. Storm windows might be able to help minimize the impact of a larger problem with a window, but they won’t actually solve it. If you’re getting drafts because of a crack in the glass or because the window won’t shut all the way because your house has shifted and moved the track out of alignment, you’ll need to replace the window to actually solve the problem.