One day–and not even a long day–and the new windows are here, installed and paid for. That last one was an owie. I don’t know how long it will take for me to rebuild the bank account from this expenditure, so I’m hoping that it’s worth it.
The discussion about replacing our home’s original windows lasted for a couple of years. At first, we didn’t think the cost would be recouped through energy savings in our remaining lifetimes, and we still think that is true, although perhaps not as true as we thought. But as we went through the process, other things came up, revolving around the concept of “We ain’t getting any younger.” The old windows were due for recaulking, scrapping and painting on the outside. This involves a lot of time on a ladder, with one of the windows being two stories in the air. I’m not as young as I once was. I’m not as graceful as I once was. I don’t bounce as well as I once did. And I despise painting anything. All of these things pointed toward replacement windows, as this task would have to be repeated at least four-five more times in our anticipated life spans. As we found out when doing our due diligence, this is a job few painters want and those that do will charge out the yin-yang.
Ease of cleaning was also an issue. The old ones were washed down with the pressure washer when I washed the house and decks in late spring every year. OK, most years. While that works, it’s wet work. Outside, I’m using an extendable pole to reach over the landscaping. Inside, Mrs. Freeholder valiantly fought with towels to sop up the water that pushed through around the edges. Zero stars, would not buy again.
The fact that the water sprayed through was a clue that so was the air, especially when forced by the wind. We found out just how bad the windows had gotten since my last round of work on them about 5 years ago. Single-digit temperatures and 30 MPH winds will allow you to find every little leak–and stuff it with plastic grocery bags or seal it with blue painters’ tape. Not an optimal solution.
The new windows can be cleaned from the inside. Push the top pane down and clean it, then lift it and tilt the lower pane in. We could have gotten windows where both panes tilted, but $$.
You may note that the new windows are WHITE! This is a bit jarring when set next to the stained wood that is completely through the house. We could have gotten a color close to the wood, but $$$$. Like doubling the price. They don’t look so bad against the almond trim outside, since the new trim is also almond and not so much WHITE! shows. We are slowly getting used to it.
The new windows are close to as efficient as they come according to the NFRC label on the windows. We hope to see some improvements in our electric bill. We believe that the heat pump is running less, and we can tell not as much cold transfers through the windows. Unfortunately, that isn’t data, and we really have no data for the old windows for comparison. We’re making subjective judgments. Maybe in a couple of full winters we can make some comparisons via the electric bills, but even that has the noise of non-HVAC energy use that there’s no way to break out. I probably won’t even bother.
One thing we didn’t discuss enough beforehand was “window treatments”. We’ve spent our entire lives together with window treatments mounted inside the window frames. It’s a nice clean look and we like it. Because these windows are thicker, there isn’t enough room to mount anything inside the window. So we’re going with outside-the-frame mounting, and honestly, every picture I see while looking for new blinds/shades/curtains looks like butt. The windows just look bigger and bulkier. I keep expecting to hear Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Then there’s the cost. I’m figuring $125/window as an average, and we have 16 windows to deal with. And that will be a “budget job”. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
You’ll also lose about 1″ of glass all the way around. It’s not so noticeable on the larger windows, but it shows up on smaller ones like those in a bathroom. The only alternative is yanking the entire window, frame and all, out and replacing them completely. $$$$$$$$$$$$!
The installers were excellent. They cleaned up well and complemented the grandbabies. Both left with something extra in appreciation. I couldn’t have done the work in less than a couple of months if at all. I picked up one of the new windows, and I wouldn’t have been comfortable hoisting that two stories up.
So far, no real buyer’s remorse. They may not be a perfect solution, but they’re a good enough solution. Some days, that’s what you can sorta afford.