It's really good that you're taking a hard look at your energy bills and finding better ways to keep more of your money in your pocket, and less going to the energy companies. On average, if you were to add up and combine all the little gaps leaking air in the typical home, you would have a hole the size of an open window all year round. That's no small amount of cash you're losing every month. The good news is, Yes! You can do something about it.
The biggest waste of your heating/cooling money are windows. Argon gas between the panes is what keeps your windows insulated. But since it's transparent, it may not be overtly obvious that the seals are broken and the Argon gas has escaped.
If you're not sure your windows need replacing, take a look at this image above. If you're getting condensation (or even frost) on the inside (or between the panes) of the window, mold, mildew or notice that wood panes are deteriorating, those are sure signs the seals are shot and the only thing between you and Mother Nature are a couple panes of glass. Unfortunately glass is a very poor insulator. Also, placing a hand a few inches from the window and feeling cold (or heat in the summer) radiating from the window is also a telltale sign of broken seals. (To learn more about evaluating windows for replacement, CLICK HERE.)
Replacing old windows that have broken seals with a performance R-24 triple pane replacement window is going to give you the largest return on your investment. You want something that has a strong life-time warranty with a solid company and is backed with the Energy Star rating. From personal experience, I can tell you I replaced just half the windows in my house 11 years ago. At that time Consumers Energy adjusted my Budget Plan bill down by $80. The best part of this was, I was only paying $70 a month for the windows. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have replaced them all at that time, but thought the energy savings I would see was all hype. Big mistake on my part.
Where is air leaking from your home? While doors and windows are big culprits for leaking energy, you may be surprised at all the other nooks and crannies where it's occurring. I recommend getting a professional Energy Audit and Seal. You can expect to pay around $1500-$2000 for a BPI Certified company to locate air leaks and seal them, but it should save you 20% or more on your energy bill. These days, that 20% can easily pay for the cost of the windows. With energy costs rising 30% over last year, that's not a small return to your wallet. I should mention here that SIR Home Improvements offers this service for free with any home improvement purchase. Replace those leaky windows (or get a bath/kitchen remodel) and you won't have to pay for that valuable audit and seal.
For more information on Energy Solutions System Audit & Seal, CLICK HERE.
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