Value of Window Upgrades

I recieved this wonderful information from Mike Hemmerling today. Thank you Mike for letting me pass on this useful information about upgrading windows. Mike does the 'Pillar to Post' news and information letter. Here are some of the great things Mike had to say...

Clients often ask Pillar to Post inspectors about the value of upgrading windows. There are many good reasons to upgrade windows but it is often difficult to decide based solely on dollars and cents.

Save Energy
Replacing old drafty windows with modern windows will saves energy, but the cost will not likely justify the energy savings. Break even will only occur after 20 to 30 years. Beware of claims such as 40% savings on your energy bills. Realistically, you may save 10% to 20%. If saving money is your only goal, consider weather stripping and repairing the windows you have.

Comparing Windows
U-Factor: The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has developed a standardized rating system call the “U-factor” which provides a single number with which to compare windows. The U-factor is a number between 0 and 1. The lower the number, the better. 0.35 is good. In cold climates, the U-factor is the most important factor for selecting a window.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): In climates where air conditioning is more important than heating, the SHGC is the most important factor for choosing a window. The SHGC represents how much heat from the sun penetrates the window. The SHGC is a number between 0 to 1. For air conditioning climates, a number less than 0.4 is good. For heating climates, a larger number, such as 0.6, is better.

Advanced Technology

Argon Filled
Some manufacturers put argon gas, a better insulator than air, between the panes, resulting in a more efficient window. Most experts agree that the argon does not last forever.

Glass Coatings
Coatings or films can dramatically improve the efficiency of a window. In a heating climate, low-E glass allows short wave solar radiation into the home for a heat gain, and prevents heat loss by reflecting the longer wave heat from inside your house back into the room. In hot climates, the window can be coated or tinted to reduce heat gain from the sun. Ask a home inspector, or another impartial professional, whether you need to upgrade your windows. A window salesperson will likely give you only one answer: yes.

Kristie Kruger is with CENTURY 21 Foothills Real Estate Ltd. in Letherbridge, AB.


  1. Chris Newald 10/16/2011 at 8:59 PM

    We changed our windows about two years ago and saw a dramatic decrease in our heating and cooling costs. Of course our house was older and the previous windows were single-pane wooden ones so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Still, while researching we found out that argon gas can escape windows very quickly. At times it lasts less than a year. We decided against getting it and never noticed a difference. The new ones are quiet, elegant and save us a great deal on energy. Still, I’m no expert.

  2. Peter 10/18/2011 at 8:10 AM

    I agree with this! I do Property Management in St John's NL the oldest City in North America. When potential tenants come to view homes the first thing they check for are for new windows. They know that it saves them money especially in the winter months.

  3. Free Classifieds 11/04/2011 at 7:20 AM

    wow really nice article dude

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