According to a recent study commissioned by JELD-WEN, a leading manufacturer of windows and doors, nearly 26 percent of homeowners say what they dislike most about their existing windows and doors is that they are drafty and inefficient.
As the temperature outside drops, homeowners notice that these inefficiencies quickly translate to rising utility bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, as much as half of the energy used in a home goes toward heating and cooling. To minimize the energy and dollars spent to heat a home this winter, it's essential that windows and doors are energy efficient.
"Energy-efficient windows and doors are crucial to maintaining a home's comfort during even the coldest months," says Brian Hedlund, product marketing manager for JELD-WEN. "Homeowners who replace single-pane glass windows with ENERGY STAR qualified products can save $125 to $450 on energy costs annually."
To maximize a home's energy efficiency, put these tips into action:
Start At The Front
A home's front door can play a vital role as one of the first lines of defense against the elements. If a door does not close properly or lets in a draft, a homeowner's utility bills increase. Homeowners should check the weather stripping and gaps around the door that can let heat escape. If these problems cannot be easily fixed, it's time to replace the door.
Choosing windows with insulated Low-E glass is an important factor in making a room more energy efficient because the special coating helps reflect some of the interior heat back into the home. These double-paned windows also greatly enhance energy efficiency compared to single-paned windows.
Vinyl windows have become popular due to their low maintenance and energy efficiency. For homeowners who prefer wood windows, manufacturers like JELD-WEN have introduced "pocket" replacement windows that come with Low-E glass and are designed for installation into existing window frames, which makes the process simpler, quicker and less damaging to a home's structure.
Drive Home Efficiency
The garage is often forgotten when it comes to energy efficiency, but it's the largest entry point of the house. The temperature of a garage greatly affects the overall temperature of the entire house. For energy savings in the garage, find a proper-fitting garage door and make sure that the door leading from the garage to the inside of the home is also energy efficient.
Efficiency Pays Off
Beyond the initial purchase price of a product, consider the long-term value that energy-efficient products offer in terms of annual tax savings. Energy-efficient updates, including windows and doors, can earn a homeowner up to $500 in federal tax credits if they are installed by Dec. 31, 2007.
The tax credit for replacing exterior windows is 10 percent of the product cost, up to $200. The credit for exterior doors is 10 percent of the product cost, up to $500. The maximum amount of homeowner credit for all improvements is $500.