I live in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, where the winters are very cold. My house is an older home with double-hung single pane windows. Will window replacement with double or triple pane windows save me money on my heating bill, and how much? How long will it take to recover my investment?
Esther B. ~ Minneapolis, Minnesota
You will save significant money with a window upgrade. Ten to twenty-five percent of your heating bill can be allotted to heat loss due to windows. An upgrade from your old single pane windows to new low U-factor windows, (the lower the U-factor the better the insulation in the window), could save you $75-$375 annually.
Recovering the investment of your new windows could take a while. If you spend $9,000 on your new windows, and realize a $300 /year savings on your energy bill, than you are looking at a potential 30-year payback. There are also some tax credits available for installing new windows but the real value here is in increasing your property value, and making your home more comfortable to live in.
There is one interesting phenomenon I would like to mention here, and that is many times a home's annual energy cost goes up when installing new windows due to the perception that these new windows will save energy even when the the heat or A/C is dramatically increased from previous years. The best way to see these energy savings is keep your home at the same temperature prior to the installation of the new windows.