Lately offers from window manufacturers and installers arrive in the mail promising 20 percent off all windows, 40 percent off qualifying installations, and so on. Replacing windows is expensive and if installed poorly even the best windows won’t provide the comfort or look you paid for. Here’s what you’ll want to know before you take on this project. 

Replace Your Windows for the Right Reason
Saving money on your energy bills is not the reason to replace your windows. It could take decades to recoup the money you’ll spend. Energy Star’s “Get savings in your city” gives you an idea of your average annual savings if you replace single or double pane windows. 

Added Features Boost Price 
Upgrades can easily add 50 percent or more to the base cost of a window. So focus on features that add value. Low-E coatings improve efficiency, but triple insulating glass probably isn’t necessary unless you live in an extremely cold climate or very noisy neighborhood.  

Window scene featuring new windows.

Ways to Save
Prices can vary among dealers and manufacturers do offer special deals so check their websites and shop around. Some utilities and city and state programs offer rebates or incentives to buy Energy Star windows. And keep in mind that you can save on materials and labor by using partial replacement units—also known as pocket replacements—when the existing frames and sills are sound. Otherwise you’ll need full replacement windows. 

Research, Then Request Bids
See our window buying guide to learn more about window types, styles, and features. Then check our full window Ratings and recommendations of 21 double-hung and four casement windows. We found big differences between brands.

Installation is Critical
Proper installation is just as important as choosing the right windows for your home and climate. Many of the big manufacturers train and certify installers for their specific products. Relying on the same contractor for purchase and installation can lessen the chances of problems arising later. Look for certification from the American Window and Door Institute or Installation Masters and get multiple bids.

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